Buenos Aires is one of the greatest cities in the world. Past Review

By (Political Science: International Relations, University of California - San Diego) for

University of Belgrano: Buenos Aires - Intensive Spanish Courses

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?

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.

The workload was not excessive and it was a great way to learn Spanish. I had a great professor for the first session which was 5 days a week for 5 hours a day for a month. It was a pleasure. However the professor I had for the 2nd session was horrible and I had to spend the next two months 3 hours a day with her. So a warning if you have the slightest feeling that you do not like your professor do not hesitate to switch classes as soon as possible. Not only was my 2nd professor unpleasant and a bit rude she also gave harsher grades then the other professors so everyone in her class had lower scores on the Latin American 10 point scale. Luckily the program is overseen by a UC professor who assigns the final UC letter grade and that professor does some math to equalize the scores from the different classes so there is some consistency.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The onsite administers (Expanish) while employing very pleasant coordinators really are gouging students on the cost of rent. That is one of my main beefs with the program they charge $300 more a month for rent then ISA. Also the cost of tuition is much more then ISA's program as well (I know because we have classes with ISA students). For $700 a month one could rent a nice apartment all to themselves in Argentina. More on this later....

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The program literature says that one of the housing options is to live in a shared apartment with other international students. I am an older returning student, and so I didn't really want to have to deal with living with a family and whatever household rules they might have. So I selected this option versus the home stay option which includes meals. So one would think that I would have had shared an apartment with "international students" well it seems the moment you take a UC student out of California they become "international students". So my "international student" roommates were a couple of white dudes from UC Berkeley (they were great and we had fun in all - but it was just easier to speak to each other in English then work on our Spanish). So... our shared apartment was more of a home stay without the benefit of meals. Our host was a Grandmother with a large family that visits a lot and they made many wonderful meals (which we were never invited to partake - save a piece of a tart one time). There were rules barring us from having any guests from Argentina visit the house, and when we brought beer home one day she called to report us to the onsite advisors. We were not drunk or unruly (there is a back story though in that she had a previous student that passed out on her staircase) we eventually worked worked it all out. We had tiny rooms and the three of us shared the top floor of this townhouse we did have a rooftop patio that was nice. However considering that each of us were charged $700 a month for lodging we could have afforded a luxury apartment of our own. Some programs allow students to find their own accommodations but not this one. I think it is purely Expanish gouging us.

* Food:

Everyone talks about how great the steak is in Argentina, and it is. What they don't mention is that they tell you how great the steak is because not much else is remarkable. There is plenty of affordable food in Buenos Aires, though it is hard to find a good Mexican restaurant or any spicy food for that matter so bring some hot sauce. Oh and the best Mexican food place I found was the "Fabrica del Taco" in Palermo Soho (it may take a couple months but you'll want to know this).

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The trips were pretty good and there were quite a few of them.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I broke my leg. While though we have great insurance you still need to cover the cost of a visit to the emergency room or doctor yourself up front and then get reimbursed. Luckily it is not the United States so that is only a $100 or so for an emergency room visit. I was sort of low on money when I broke my limb so I went to one of the free hospitals instead of one of the private ones. So there was a bit of a language barrier and it took a long time but I got treated with out being... taken advantage of. Safety. Someone will be robbed. I promis. Someone in your program will be targeted by a thief on the street or in a business. Do not be careless with your stuff. Ladies be particularly mindful and do not walk the streets alone at night. The neighborhoods that you will live in a pretty safe but the places were you will go to be entertained and amused are more dangerous. Usually the incidents are not violent and involve pickpocketing or purse snatching. So be mindful.

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?

Go to class do your homework, and try to spend time with PorteƱos (people from Buenos Aires). Maybe get a boy or girlfriend. Many people speak English and people are generally good natured.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Buenos Aires
  • The Trips
  • The People
* What could be improved?
  • Housing freedom
  • Housing cost
  • Tuition Cost
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you can I would recommend doing ISA's program in Buenos AIres. You will have the same language classes but also have a chance to take classes with Argentinean students in other topics, you will pay much less for rent and tuition. If you receive your financial aid in the form of UC specific grants then... EAP is the way to go.