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When deciding where you're going to study Spanish, one of the most important things to consider is how you're going to get around the city. There's plenty of spots around the world where the only option to get around is by car or by foot —which if you're there for a while, might prove to be a little tiring after a while. Fortunately, while Buenos Aires is beautiful city to explore by foot, its world class subway system and bus network mean you have plenty of options for getting around. 

Arriving in the city

Most travelers arriving in Buenos Aires arrive through Ezeiza airport, which services long term flights into the city. However, this is the one time you won't be able to use that amazing subway. But that doesn't mean you have to take a taxi. The 8A bus services the airport into the city, the only problem is you'll need a SUBE card to use it. Since you'll definitely be needing one of these for the public transport in Buenos Aires, you may as well grab one straight away. The can be purchased from the 25h drugstore in the airport for less than 2USD, plus whatever amount you want to top up. The trip itself will cost about  0.5 USD a bus/subway, so it will depend on how many stops you'll need to make to reach your destination in the city.

Alternatively, if you're looking for a slightly smoother journey into the city, you can purchase a shuttle bus from Tienda Leon that will deliver you directly into your hotel. Tienda Leon is located directly after customs in the Ezeiza airport. While prices are subject to change, it was around 10USD in April 2019.

Taking the subway and bus

Make sure you have Google maps on your phone and either a local SIM card or roaming on your phone. This will let you see which bus or subway you need to take on your journey. All you have to do is enter your destination on Google maps, hit 'directions', and select the transport option. If you're taking the subway, it's easy to top up your SUBE card at any station. Once you've topped up, swipe your SUBE card on the blue scanner at the gates and it'll let you into the 'live' area, where you follow the signs to the particular line you want to catch (some stations may have more than one). Be careful to take the correct direction ―Google will tell you the final station for the direction you're heading, just match that with the signs. And if you're transferring between subway lines, you do not have to exit the 'live' area, you only pay for one trip no matter how long you stay inside. 

Buses are even easier. Once you reach the stop recommended by Google, find the lamp post with the bus number on it ―very often you will find people already queuing for the bus― and join the line. Once you board, tell the driver the street you're getting off and then swipe your SUBE card. The bus might run through a street and then change to the Metrobus lane. Buses cost around 0.5USD right now for trips within the city. Loner trips may vary, but they are still fairly cheap by international standards.

There are also several train lines, which can be accessed within the city with the same SUBE card you use for everything else. They function in much the same way as the subway, just less frequently, and their pricing may vary depending on the distance you're traveling. You'll have to 'tag off' with your SUBE card when you disembark to confirm how far you went. 

The process of learning Spanish is a different process for everyone. Some people struggle with verb tenses, others recalling the order of words.  Still others just recalling all those different words: you will definitely need to find creative ways to remember different words (or "palabras"). This is specially true for a few verbs that sound and are spelt very similarly ―and so difficult to remember!

and whether to use these apps to learn Spanish

So you've decided to learn Spanish and you don't know where to start? 

Of course you google how to learn Spanish, and are immediately bombarded with all the latest apps that will help you learn any language in the world in a matter of weeks! Well, I've got good news and bad news for you. The bad news is, unless you're the world's prodigy, you're probably not going to learn a new language in a few weeks. The good news is, language apps can certainly play part in your mission to learn Spanish. There are literally dozens of language apps our there nowadays, but for me the best are still Duolingo (of course) and Lingvist. 

Duolingo I have found the best to help absorb new vocabulary

Learning a new language is a challenge as an adult (any young people reading this take note, get to learning now!) and doubly so when living in your native countries. Why?

Because there is no chance to practice. 

For English speakers, a lot of people speak English around the world. This might be useful when traveling, but it is also a real challenge when you're trying to learn and practice your new language.

That's why immersing yourself in a new culture and a new world can really accelerate the learning progress. If you are living in Buenos Aires, this will force you to practice every day ―at everything from your local bakery to the supermarket, to the hairdresser. It can be a little daunting at first, but it's really the only way to truly begin to learn and become confident at speaking. 

Of course, for those who are a little intimidated by that idea or would like to acquire the language properly, you can always choose to learn at a Spanish school. And Buenos Aires also offers a good mixture of speakers for your first few months. There is a bustling expat community for when you need a break from the challenge of Spanish, and many locals will be happy to practice their English with you. 

 

 

Like anything worthwhile, learning languages is a challenge, and Spanish is no exception. Often times it feels like you're not making progress at all. Each week you learn a few more words, add another tense to your arsenal, make your sentences a little longer, but sometimes it seems you're getting nowhere. But it pays to take stock, because even after just a week or months, you'll be surprised how much you've learned. It might not seem you've progressed much from one day to the next, but when you look back at where you started, you'll realise you've come a long way!

Take myself for example. I know from past experiences I struggle with language. After 13 months in South America without any tuition, I came away with very little understanding of Spanish. Looking back, that's one of my biggest regrets of the trip! Perhaps that's why I've now returned with a fresh perspective, determined to learn this time.

I know take regular private classes of 1.5 hours every day, and I am happy to say after two months it is showing. After my first week, I was generally able to communicate my orders to restaurant staff, and after  a month I began to enjoy