Tips for Students

By Sarah Prather

Beyond the practical benefits of studying the local language (despite Argentina's thriving tourist industry one cannot always find an English speaker), taking Spanish classes yields a deeper understanding of its rich culture and the natives' unique way of thinking. Even at the most basic level, a traveler can enjoy deeper insight. I had taken a few Spanish classes before coming to Buenos Aires, and will never forget the first thing I learned about the language: "to be" does not translate directly. Spanish speakers distinguish between being in a permanent sense (ser), and being for a limited time or under mutable conditions (estar). This discovery absolutely fascinated me because no native English speaker I know (or speakers of other languages without that distinction, such as French) thinks to differentiate between the two: to us, a thing simply is or it is not. After all, Shakespeare's famous line is "To be or not to be" and not "To ser or to estar".

By Aaron Hodges

If you're looking for a good spot to learn Spanish in 2019, then look no further than Buenos Aires! Not only does this city have some amazing architecture and crazy nightlife, it also boasts a budding food scene that will satisfy even the fussiest of foodies. And not just with their world-famous barbeque.

Dining out in Buenos Aires is an experience you don't want to miss, and an evening walk through the neighborhood of Palermo will reveal a host of tasty restaurants. Unlike many parts of South America, Buenos Aires offers a real variety on the cuisine you can experience -from Chinese to Spanish and much more. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a steak as much as the next guy, but there's only so much meat you can eat in one week. 

Fortunately, Buenos Aires does not let you down, and after a month there's plenty of places for me to try. So far, my favorite has probably been the variety of a night out wandering the tapas bars of Palermo, where the Spanish tradition has grown in popularity in recent years. Of course, the three meal special in a cocktail bar (which included a free cocktail) was also great, with the highlight being a main of roast lamb that impressed even this kiwi.

Of course though, you probably aren't going to visit Buenos Aires just for its sushi and dumplings. Let's face it. If you're making the trip all the way to Argentina, it's the steak you can't wait to try. Fortunately, the international food is just the cheery on top of the cake. This city is plenty of barbeque restaurants or parrillas as they are known here. If you're looking for the best asado on the market, then look no further than the restaurant "Don Julio". Located in central Palermo, this place offers a truly magnificent (and enormous) steak. And while you will be paying a little more than your average restaurant in the city, you might be lucky enough to be offered free bubbly at the door while you're waiting for a table.

Fortunately, if Don Julio is a bit expensive for your tastes, Buenos Aires also hosts a ton of other parrillas, offering options for all budgets. Though, of course, the cheaper a place is the less likely they are going to speak any English! But then, that's the same for for everything in any of the countries down in this amazing continent. If there's one thing that surprised me on my first trip to Latin America way back in 2015, it's how difficult it is to get by without the local language. Unlike South East Asia and Europe, English is not particularly common and even a week's worth of Spanish lessons could mean the difference between a good trip and a bad one.

Or in the case of your first eating out experience, just knowing the difference between carne and pescado!



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