Like the tango, your Spanish journey thus far has been a series of orchestrated steps.
Some stages and areas of your learning have been quick, while others have been slow and aggressive (like the Spanish subjunctive).
But in the end, that part doesn’t matter.
What matters is the scene that unfolds as you converse with native speakers, dancing and weaving around all the complexities that make up the Spanish language.
But you want more than satisfactory. If there was an equivalent of “Dancing with the Stars” for learning a language, you’d want a “10” from the judges.
Well, we’ve got a great solution for you. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be fun! All you’ll need is a willingness to learn and maybe some tango shoes.
Studying Spanish in Buenos Aires is the perfect way to take your Spanish (and your tango) to a whole new level.
So grab your shoes and get ready for an immersion experience like no other!
Why Study Spanish in Buenos Aires?
Buenos Aires is often called “The Paris of South America” and is a hot spot for not only travelers but also language learners.
The economy is so inviting that nearly anyone—with almost any budget—can stay within their means. And let’s be honest—who doesn’t appreciate a bargain?
Buenos Aires satisfies the demand for language learning programs. There are numerous Spanish language schools and resources to choose from. Finding a place to suit your needs won’t be an issue; narrowing the selection down and choosing only one spot could, however, be a bit problematic.
Buenos Aires is a beautiful city rich with music, incredible food and cultural activities galore. If you’re going to immerse yourself in the Spanish language, what’s a better place?
Immersion could occur anywhere Spanish is the native language but the Spanish spoken in Argentina is just plain different. Argentine Spanish is somewhat unique, which makes learning the nuances interesting.
Tips to Maximize Language Learning in Buenos Aires
- Before grabbing your passport and heading for the airport, brush up on your basic Spanish. It also makes sense to install a translation app on your phone in case you come across any tricky vocabulary words.
- Before I head out to a country that’s new to me, I go “old school” and read up on the place. Reading a few articles or books about Buenos Aires (in Spanish, of course!) will give you a feel of the city. One of my favorites is “El cantor de tango” (“The Tango Singer”), written by someone with not only a gift for words but whose authentic experience in the Argentine club scene brings the story and music to life.
- Attending cultural events is a sure-fire way to maximize your language learning. This city is exciting—”The Paris of South America,” remember?—and filled with opportunities to learn to speak Spanish like a local, so don’t be shy!
- Perhaps one of the best ways to maximize your Spanish-learning time is to wander the city. Go sightseeing with no destination in mind, stop at quaint cafes, get lost, read maps or ask for directions. Buenos Aires will intrigue you and your time will pay off not only in experiences but in upgraded language fluency!
- Since language and culture go hand-in-hand, what better way to dive into Argentine culture than through the city’s museums? If that appeals to you, you’re in luck because Buenos Aires showcases art and artifacts with flair.
Two widely renowned museums are the MALBA, which rotates its exhibits so it’s not always the same old, same old and often closes at 8:00 pm and the Fundación Proa (Proa Foundation), whose galleries are sleekly modern even though they often feature free movies on the premises.
The Traveler’s Guide to Learning Spanish in Buenos Aires
You’ve chosen the city, now choose a school. The good news is, there are loads of possible Spanish language schools in Buenos Aires. That means you’re sure to find one that will provide the experience you’re seeking.
1. Academia Buenos Aires
This academy is an “Accredited Center of the Cervantes Institute” that combines language learning and cultural immersion. They have several courses (including a volunteering option) lasting from one week to 24 weeks and prices vary depending on the course and housing option.
Fostering the belief that language and culture are both integral parts of studying abroad, the school has a unique way of showcasing Argentina and, in particular, Buenos Aires. Each Monday they provide a list of at least four daily events to students so everyone is aware of when and where something is taking place.
The options vary in duration, location and theme and appeal to all age groups. The school doesn’t simply hand off the list; they provide an insider’s view to the cultural events that are significant to the Argentine people.
The cultural program highlights things that are free of charge for students in the hope that the academy will not only teach language proficiency but give a true immersive experience!
2. CASA Spanish Academy
Are you an absolute beginner dreaming of leaving Buenos Aires proficient and somewhat fluent in Spanish? If so, CASA Spanish Academy is calling your name.
That’s their main focus—to bring learners all the way to language proficiency with their six-month immersion course as the vehicle to get you there. It’s a definite time commitment, but if you’re serious about getting your language mojo on, it’s something to think about.
CASA Spanish Academy puts an emphasis on building a community of Spanish teachers and students, making the school a home away from home for those who enroll.
Classes are scheduled according to the needs of the learner, meaning travelers, business learners, exchange students and those who opt to learn Spanish as a second language will all find coursework tailor-suited to them. With several class options, the prices differ, but basic courses can be scheduled for less than $200 per week.
When you’re not in class, outstanding cultural events offer further immersion. Interested in art? Go on some of their art tours to see what treasures local artisans have on display. And if you’re up to exploring on foot, the walking tours are amazing. Street food, tango lessons on sidewalks and a history-steeped city provide something for everyone to enjoy.
3. Amauta Spanish School
Amauta Spanish School is located in the historic district of Buenos Aires in what was once the highest building in the city. Now it’s the go-to spot to learn Spanish, as well as participate in tango workshops, Argentine cooking classes and super-cool Latin American movie nights.
A bonus? If you’re a wine-tasting aficionado or even a wanna-be wine expert, this place can help with that, too. Sign up for one after class and sip, smile and get to know the local vintages.
There are a variety of courses available, and the duration of your stay is up to you. Cost varies by the type of course and length of stay, and you have the option of staying with a host family or staying in the student resident halls.
4. Vamos Spanish Academy
For those who decide to attend Vamos Spanish Academy, you’ll have the option of staying with a host family or living in furnished rental apartments. The thinking behind this is that learners will thrive in a naturally immersive environment easily if they feel like they’re en casa (at home).
If one of the items on your adventure agenda is exploring more of Argentina and South America, this is the perfect place for you. Venturing out is encouraged and staff will facilitate travel plans. The location’s proximity to the subway makes it great for weekend travel, so pack your bags and get away for the weekend while you’re there!
Reviews from former students stress this is a home away from home sort of place where language learning is only part of the package. After-class workshops and social events bring learners from many countries together, and the dynamic atmosphere makes the global family a diverse, yet thriving, group.
Intensive group classes are 20 hours a week and the price comes in at $205, with additional costs for housing. Those vary, depending on what options you choose, but there’s no cookie-cutter course/price/duration. The student decides how long, which course and where to stay so no two experiences will be exactly the same.
5. El Pasaje Spanish School
El Pasaje Spanish School was set up by a group of Spanish teachers whose aim was to teach Spanish while introducing their culture and giving students the opportunity to have immersive, enriching experiences in Buenos Aires.
It’s pretty much a place where scholars decided to build a better product and offer not only language learning but cultural experiences as well.
Weekly linguistic workshops, walking tours and tango lessons are all provided at no additional charge. Conversation and film clubs fill in the gap hours with activities that authentic Argentine families would pursue.
An intensive group course of 20 hours a week is reasonably priced at under $200. Long-stay discounts are available and highly-customized programs can be tailored to individual students.
6. International Bureau of Language
The International Bureau of Language (IBL) is located in downtown Buenos Aires, a plus for students who want to be right in the center of this bustling city. The school teaches English and Portuguese in addition to Spanish with year-round classes that begin every Monday.
IBL is a great place to go if wandering off the beaten path is part of your journey. It’s close to many bus routes and subway lines so escaping the city to see more of Argentina is not a hassle.
7. Ailola Buenos Aires
Ailola Buenos Aires is a combination of old and new with classes that are taught in Palacio Barolo (an actual palace in the middle of the city) but with courses that are relevant and up-to-date.
Although teaching the Spanish language is the school’s primary focus, Ailola also offers classes that teach salsa, tango and photography. Program duration is from one to eight weeks, with 20-hour a week group courses under $200.
Are you more interested in volunteering? Ailola has several ongoing volunteer projects and welcomes volunteers from the language classes.
The projects are varied and include working with needy children, ecological farm preservation work, medical support and even teaching English as a foreign language to the locals. The possibility to learn and grow while helping is very real at this unique language school!
Now that you’re convinced that Buenos Aires has the right program for you, it’s time to take the plunge and go total immersion in the Latin American version of Paris!
A fabulous city, incredible cultural attractions and a slough of language learning options makes this a prime destination for learning Spanish!
¡Buena suerte! (Good luck!)