Buenos Aires

Spanish Immersion: different customs of Argentina

Argentina is a fascinating place, and while many customs here bare at least some resemblance to Europe, there are at least a few that certainly help to spice up life!

For starters, you will find their eating habits quite different from those of any English-speaking nation. Breakfast would be considered almost non-existent ―often consisting of just a coffee and croissant (or medialuna as they call them here!). Lunch doesn't differ too much, but it is followed by a late afternoon tea (merienda) and then the most bizarre part of all −dinner can be anywhere between 9pm and midnight. That's probably been the most difficult thing for me to adjust to, I can't get used to eating so close to my bedtime!

The next point may also connect with the late dinners, to the point you have to seriously reconsider whether you want to arrive anywhere on time! If you're meeting an Argentine friend −or even heading to an event−,  don't be surprised if there's no-one there when you arrive on time. I once arrived 40 minutes late to a birthday party, only to find myself the first one there!

One final custom that might take you by surprise, but grows on you quite quickly, is the Argentine kiss to say hello and goodbye. Instead of just a handshake, most Argentines will greet each other with a kiss to the right cheek −both men and women! For the more conservative English cultures this can come as quite a shock, but fear not: it's perfectly normal here.

By Aaron Hodges