Argentina: An Incredible Spanish Learning Opportunity Past Review

By (History/International Relations, Austin College) for

Spanish Studies Abroad: Córdoba - Semester, Year or Summer in Argentina

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Before I went to Argentina South America seemed to be almost this forgotten vestige of the world. It's seems so separate from the US, Eurasia, and Africa. But now it seems such much closer, so much more open and I really want to travel and become acquainted with more South American countries.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The out of class workload was light compared to my classes in the US however we spent many more hours in class every week in Argentina than we do here. That being said I feel like we covered much less material in my Spanish class there that we spent 6 a hours a week in that I would in a Spanish class here spending less than half that time weekly.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program directors were extremely accommodating, we had their personal cell phone numbers to use at any hour in case of emergency. They helped us with planning for independent travel and also provided news about various cultural events happening in Cordoba. The director had both taught attended an American university so he was familiar with American higher education. The program size was relatively small, there were no more than 25 students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

My host mom was an excellent cook and there was always more food available than I could eat. The problem for me was the Argentine diet, after a few months of mostly pasta and/or fried meat for at least two meals a day and absolutely no vegetables meal time just became an unpleasant experience for me. I would have liked more variety in the food eaten but after talking to other students and Argentines that is just how they eat there.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My program took us on two trips, one to Buenos Aires and another to a town called Merlo where we hiked around a national park. They also, almost weekly, emailed us about cultural events that were happening in Cordoba.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

A private health provider is included with the program. Though Argentina does have socialized health care the waits are often long and the doctors aren't of the same quality that the doctors for private health care providers are.

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

Finances

* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? No more than 30 usually, though you can get by on as little as 10 dollars a week I'd say.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? There were no unanticipated expenses, I actually spent less than I thought I would have to.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intermediate Spanish II
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

With absolutely everyone. All of my classes were in Spanish, while on campus students had to speak Spanish to each other, and even when I was off campus often I and my American friends chose to converse in Spanish over English when we were just hanging out. That being said if there was an Argentine person that was hanging out with us, as happened quite often, then we would have to use Spanish. With my program you also aren't permitted to speak English in the homestay and most people in Cordoba do not speak English so if you don't know Spanish you pick it up pretty quickly.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't be afraid to go out and make friends with Argentines, they're extremely friendly and social and a great resource both to learn and practice Spanish and to better become acquainted with their culture.