Buenos Aires, Argentina's vibrant and lively capital, is located on the banks of the Río de la Plata and is home to over one-third of the Argentine population. Built by European immigrants primarily from Italy and Spain, Buenos Aires often surprises first-time visitors with its resemblance to parts of Paris, Rome and Barcelona. This is due to the city's grandeur architecture, world-renowned theatres, extensive shops and cafes, and some of the best entertainment and nightlife in the world. However, the tango dancers found in every niche of the city, book readers having a lengthy and relaxed meal at one of the city's many fine restaurants, friendly argentines engaged in passionate debates about the country's favorite obsession – fútbol, shared gourds of yerba mate tea, and the city's countless outdoor handicraft markets all come together to contribute to the unique essence of Buenos Aires.
Porteños, as the diverse people of Buenos Aires are known, possess a complex and rich cultural identity. Argentina is a land of immigrants, the majority of whom are descendants of Western European immigrants who traveled to Argentina in the mid 19th century. In addition to the strong European influence, there are still a few indigenous communities, the largest being the Mapuche, Guaraní, Tobas and Matacos. These diverse cultures have come together to contribute to the country's unique language, cuisine, music, dance, religion, and architecture.
Likely due to the fact that many Argentines are primarily of European descent, they are culturally and emotionally more comparable to Europeans than Latin Americans. Argentines take extreme pride in their country, in themselves, and in their culture. They are warm, direct, refined, and open as a people, and are likely to be unreserved in sharing with you the things that they are passionate about. Argentines are versatile and expressive and have a passion for discussing politics in particular.
In addition, Argentines are very physical communicators; they will often touch each other when speaking, use grand gestures to emphasize their point, and maintain little physical distance between speakers. Politeness and respect are closely linked with informal treatment. The normal greeting of men and women is a kiss on the cheek. Smiles, hugs, closeness when speaking and gestures are the most common and friendly way of communication.
Monuments & Must-Sees
Visit the Obelisk, Buenos Aires' famed monument, on Avenida 9 de Julio, the widest street in the world.
Wander around the famed Sunday antique market in the main square of the historic San Telmo neighborhood.
Catch a performance at the world-renowned and magnificently extravagant Teatro Colon, the second largest performing arts theater in the southern hemisphere and the pride of the portenos.
Explore the Plaza de Mayo, the most important plaza in the city which faces the Casa Rosada, the Cathedral, the Cabildo and other major civic buildings.
Don't miss the Feria de Mataderos, which takes place on Sundays and is a popular celebration of the country's rural traditions and includes artesanias, regional food specialties, folk music, local dances, and everyone's favorite – traditional gaucho riders.
Check out the latest collection at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), a private museum with an ever-growing collection of Latin American art.
Wind through the lively, colorful Caminato in La Boca, where it is said that tango originated in the brothels, and don't forget to stop by the Museum of Bellas Artes along the way.
Visit about the Argentine training ship and naval museum, the Fragata Escuela Presidente Sarmiento, in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires' renovated old port.
Pay your tribute to the Recoleta Cemetery, where you will find numerous huge monuments made of white marble, dark granite, and lustrous bronze along with the several notable Argentines including Evita Peron, a number of past presidents, sports stars, writers, and more.
Have a coffee at the Café Tortoni, perhaps the most famous café in all of Argentina due to its countless famous patrons and its appearance in many movies.
Spend a day in Palermo visiting the Botanical Garden, the Buenos Aires Zoo, the Rose Gardens, the Hippodrome, and the Planetarium.
Cultural Activity Suggestions
Buenos Aires has endless activities for international visitors to enjoy. Listed below are some different cultural activities to do while in Buenos Aires. You can do many of these activities on your own, with friends, or they may be sponsored by ISA. Upon arrival to Argentina, different sponsored cultural activities will be announced throughout your program abroad.
See a Performance at the Teatro Colón
Classmates Connecting Cultures (CCC)
ISA Student BlogStay connected while you're abroad and share your experience with your peers back home! Each summer and semester the ISA Student Blog features ISA students as bloggers, photo bloggers and video bloggers who document their time abroad to share with their friends, family, prospective students and more. If sharing your study abroad experience through blog posts, photos, videos and other media while receiving professional guidance and feedback appeals to you, consider applying to be an ISA Featured Blogger, Photo Blogger or Video Blogger. The Site Specialist for your program will email all accepted students to notify you when ISA is accepting applications for the ISA Featured Blogger programs.
Online Dictionary Resource:Wordreference.com
Verb Conjugation: We suggest you look up some helpful websites dedicated to verb conjugations in Spanish. The book 501 Spanish Verbs is also a great resource to bring with you to Argentina.
Listening and Speaking: Check out some different Spanish podcasts available to practice your verbal and listening skills.
Beware of translation websites... much can be lost in translation.