5 Types of Students Who Will Thrive in This Latin American Capital

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IES Abroad
April 3, 2019
Buenos Aires

Whether you're seeking outdoor adventures or a rich culture to immerse yourself in, one Latin American city provides more opportunity than most to explore your interests while studying abroad: Buenos Aires!

While Argentina is a fit study abroad destination for many, we've noticed that five types of students in particular really thrive when studying abroad in Buenos Aires. Are you one of them? Read on to find out.

three people looking at the mountains

The Outdoor Adventurer

It’s not a secret that one of the most alluring aspects of study abroad is the opportunity for travel, and few countries can boast of such extensive travel opportunities as Argentina. For starters, the country is simply massive, clocking in at nearly 1.1 million square miles—which makes it bigger than Spain, France, Germany, Italy, and the U.K. combined. Not only that, but the diversity of Argentina’s geographic profile is truly unique: It has the Andes, the longest mountain range in the world. It has rainforests and waterfalls (looking at you, Iguazu Falls). It has salt flats. It has more coastline than California. It’s home to the tallest active volcano on the planet (the travel insurance we provide doesn’t cover volcano surfing, though, so don’t get any ideas). Oh, and did we mention penguins? Yes, you can tan on the beach and take pictures of wild penguins in the same weekend.

Although the sheer size of Argentina makes the logistics of travel more challenging than it is in smaller countries, traveling costs are dropping thanks to low-cost airlines and long-distance bus services, which makes it easy to hop around both Argentina and surrounding countries like Chile and Brazil. Just make sure your camera works so you can take pictures of yourself wearing Patagonia gear in—of all places—Patagonia!

students and locals

It’s no coincidence that nearly a third of the students who study abroad in Buenos Aires do an internship or service learning, so if you like to get involved, learn by experience, and be of service to your community, then Buenos Aires is an excellent place to study abroad. Recently, students have interned or volunteered at such organizations as:

  • Puentes, which seeks to aid access to education for underprivileged children and young adults
  • Chaps, an NGO whose mission is to teach art therapy to children
  • Fulbright, the commission for educational exchange between the U.S. and Argentina

Sound up your alley? If so, know that a Buenos Aires student has been a Finalist for the Global Citizen of the Year Award in each of the past three years. Idil Tanrisever (Buenos Aires | Lafayette College), a Finalist for the award in 2018, put it well when she said, “Studying abroad, for me, was as much about realization as it was about learning. The perspectives and experiences I gained in Argentina made me realize how much I care about opportunities for all, specifically for vulnerable populations.”

student with a teacher

The Academic

Are you thinking about going to graduate school or conducting research? If so, you’ll be happy to learn that our Buenos Aires students have the chance to present their academic work (and get it published!) at our Symposium, which is an intellectual jam session for students who want to share their work with other thinking folk. Here’s how it works:

Near the end of each semester, Buenos Aires staff invite students to present work they’ve completed while studying abroad at the Symposium, an all-day event that’s attended by IES Abroad colleagues, teachers, staff, and even host families.

Teachers facilitate the Symposium and make brief introductions to each presentation, which are organized into four panels: Literature and Language, Social Sciences, International Relations, and Business. Presentations can be conducted in English or in Spanish according to the language of the relevant course.

After the event, presenters receive a certificate and get their work published in our Symposium Journal (abstracts are printed in both English and Spanish), a hard copy of which is mailed to students who participated in the Symposium for them to display and show off to friends and family. Feel free to browse the Sixth Symposium Journal to get an idea of what they're like.

If you are academically minded, this is a wonderful opportunity to hone your research, writing, and presentation skills, which is so valuable for your career and will look  great on applications for graduate school and research positions. An added bonus: you’ll be able to brag about being published!

three students sitting and laughing in the street

The Language Learner

Ready to read, write, and speak Spanish so much that you start dreaming in it? If so, don’t sleep on Buenos Aires as an ideal hub for learning and advancing your Spanish.

We believe in the value of true immersion in the language-learning process, so we do our best to ensure that students in our Advanced Spanish Immersion Program (ASI) are fully sealed in the Spanish-speaking world. To achieve this, we place ASI students with host families that speak only in Spanish (so no cheating!), and our Buenos Aires staff will only ever address you in Spanish, too. Add that to the fact that you can take all Spanish-taught courses, and ¡tada! Your Spanish-only world will be airtight. 

Furthermore, students in our ASI program have the opportunity to supplement the courses they take at our Center with those offered at three local universities: Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), Universidad Torcuato di Tella (UTDT), and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Argentina (UCA). Having so many options at your disposal means you’ll have many more courses to choose from, and you’ll also have access to such resources as university clubs, Spanish writing clinics, and a vast community of Spanish-speaking, local students to socialize with.

students in buenos aires

The Culturalist

Throwing yourself into a whole new culture is part of what makes the study abroad experience so valuable, and in a way, Buenos Aires allows you to throw yourself into two cultures at once: the European and the Latin American.

Known as the “Paris of South America”, Buenos Aires is a city with a reputation of cultural intersection. Despite being Latin American at its core, you’ll find that Buenos Aires has no shortage of pizza and pasta shops, a vibrant café culture, and stunning European architecture. Because of this, Buenos Aires makes for an exciting alternative for those who want to study abroad somewhere in South America with European influences.

That said, Argentina is very much a Latin American country, and students who study abroad in Buenos Aires have plenty of opportunities to engage with the city and dive into its rich cultural heritage.

Take music, for instance. In Buenos Aires, you can enjoy going to a concert at the Colón Opera House, which is considered to be one of the top five concert venues in the world. Do you like the performing arts? Then you’ll love all the Spanish theatre on Avenida Corrientes, the Broadway of South America. Is literature your thing? Then study it in the old stomping grounds of Jorge Luis Borges, one of the greatest writers of the past century. Are you a history buff? Then you’ll cozy right up to the Recoleta Cemetery, one of the most iconic spots in Buenos Aires that contains, in addition to fascinating vaults and mausoleums, the graves of multiple Argentine presidents, Nobel Prize winners, First Lady of Argentina Eva Perón, and even the granddaughter of Napoleon.

We know that deciding where to study abroad is a difficult decision, but be sure Buenos Aires has a spot on your list. It’s a city that has a lot to offer, whether you’re looking to travel, give back, study, work on your Spanish, or simply soak in the richness of another culture.

Learn more about all of our semester and summer study abroad programs in Buenos Aires. You can also speak with an IES Abroad Ambassador about their experience in Buenos Aires, or another of our locations. 

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