Argentina: The Road Less Traveled (In a Good Way!) Past Review

By (International Business (Marketing and Spanish double-concentration), Bryant University) for

API (Academic Programs International): Buenos Aires - Universidad de Belgrano

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It would be impossible to articulate all the ways studying abroad changed me in just a few words (in fact, I’m probably not even aware of many of the ways I’ve changed!). That being said, I think the broadening of my horizons/perspective shift I experienced is the change I’ve been most conscious of. The mixture of seeing a completely new part of the world and immersing myself in the culture/history/politics/language, and meeting people from all over with fascinating stories – some traveling around the world “just because,” others working remotely so they could live anywhere – was very eye-opening. I was reminded of how big the world really is, but at the same time, how where you go and what you do is really only limited to what you can imagine and set your mind to.

Review Photos

API (Academic Programs International): Buenos Aires - Universidad de Belgrano Photo API (Academic Programs International): Buenos Aires - Universidad de Belgrano Photo API (Academic Programs International): Buenos Aires - Universidad de Belgrano Photo API (Academic Programs International): Buenos Aires - Universidad de Belgrano Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I took a 6-credit intensive language month prior to the start of the fall semester, which was great exposure, although I wasn't a huge fan of my professor. After that, I enrolled in 5 classes (15 credits total), all taken in Spanish with other study abroad students. Although the teaching quality varied, I really liked most of these classes and I enjoyed the challenge of learning in Spanish. The attendance policies were semi-strict but much more laid back than at my home university, and there were a lot more Holidays and breaks, which was great for being able to travel. There was little to no community feel at the university, unlike my very close-knit home university, but this didn't really detract from the experience because I was close with the people in my program and made a few other close friends in my classes as well. Grades were based primarily on the midterm and final, with a few homework assignments and papers interspersed throughout the semester as well. The exception to this was Spanish, in which there was homework assigned for every class.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I LOVED Carmen (our host director/"mom") and her family. They made us feel welcome from day 1 and regularly had us over for dinners and classes in their home and the API office. Everyone involved in API Buenos Aires was really amazing and I am still in touch with them to this day. The program was small when I went but I think this contributed to the high quality, and I am still very close with a number of people from my program today (we all visit each other in the U.S.).

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

API does an amazing job of providing housing for students in very central, safe areas. I lived directly on the main avenue (Santa Fe), just a block from the nearest subte (subway) station with a very nice host family. The university was about a 30-40 minute commute by walking and subway, but I really didn't mind because I was much more central (whereas the university is in a very residential part of the city). The nightlife was within walking distance, or a couple of minute cab ride (depending on your preference). I didn't have to buy anything to settle in. My host family was great.

* Food:

Most people would disagree with me on this, but other than the amazing carne (steak), empanadas, wine and medialunas (sweet croissants), there was nothing special about Argentine food. They hate spices so food is extremely bland and it's usually a lot of Italian-style food (but with less flavor). That's all good and well but I always felt like there was something missing in my diet, maybe because I'm from Texas and am used to a lot more flavor. The food is okay, but I wouldn't rate it all that high, unfortunately.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Oh my goodness, there are too many to list! With my program we did a number of small trips, including Tigre, an Estancia outside the city, Colonia (Uruguay), and a big trip to Ushuaia (the southernmost city in the world) near the end of the program. We also had a lot of tours and cultural events (cooking class, folk dancing, etc.) in the city, as well as several dinners at our Host Director's house. I traveled a ton with friends as well, visiting Iguazu Falls, Salta, Tucuman, Cordoba (for Oktoberfest), Medoza (wine country), Bariloche (ski/hiking region) and much more. In the city I loved to go to the ferias (weekend markets) and attend cultural events and shows such as La Fuerza Bruta, Milongas (tango clubs/shows), etc.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Like any major city, Buenos Aires has a fair amount of crime, but it is mostly non-violent (e.g. pick pockets, occasional muggings, etc.). If you stick to the main avenues and are careful with your personal belongings, you won't have any problems. I do know a number of people who were pick-pocketed, but I never had any problems. I had a sinus infection towards the end of my trip and didn't realize that the University had a free doctor until I was almost all the way better, but this is a great resource for future students to know about! That being said, I had a pretty easy time getting antibiotic eye drops and other medicines and I also had brought a lot of things with me, so I was all set. I did get some additional vaccinations before I left, but there were no required vaccinations for the program. Other than the sinus infection, I just had some seasonal allergies in the spring.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I practiced with my host family, out and about day-to-day (talking with locals), and with my resident director, among other people. Unlike many European countries, the majority of people will speak to you in Spanish in Argentina, and many speak little or no English, so it's helpful to know the language, although not impossible to get around without it.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Trips/Opportunities for Travel
  • Language Immersion
  • Close-Knit Group of Students
* What could be improved?
  • I can't think of anything right now!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you are a little adventurous and looking to improve your Spanish while studying in a country other than Spain, I would definitely recommend Argentina. The cost of living/travel is great, and it is such a diverse and beautiful country. Although very developed, Argentina is still a developing country, so don't expect the same level of infrastructure as you would get in most European countries (which is why an adventurous spirit helps), but all the normal comforts we are used to are there (hot water, Wi-Fi, etc.). A great mix of European and Latin American cultures, Argentina has so much to offer to any student willing to embrace and explore it.