Basking in the bountiful beauty of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Studying abroad in Buenos Aires is an experience that is nearly impossible to prepare for. I’m not only talking about the castellano (“casteshano”) that’s spoken by the Porteños here in the city. If you decide to study abroad during the fall semester at USD, you will leave mid-July during the summer in the United States and arrive in a temperate winter in Argentina. Although I would still bring comfy, warm clothing and a puffy jacket since the humidity tends to make the weather feel colder than the forecast says. Plus, when your semester in Buenos Aires ends in early November, you still have almost three months off to travel around before school begins again in San Diego.
One of my favorite things about Buenos Aires is that because it is such a huge city, there’s always something to do no matter what the day of the week. I’ve been here for three months and there is still so much I have yet to do.
One particular favorite is “La Bomba de Tiempo,” a weekly drum concert on Monday nights. The “boliches,” or nightclubs, are open every day of the week, and there’s such a variety that you would have to be very ambitious to visit them all. Similar to in Spain and Italy, the nightlife starts later at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., and finishes anywhere between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m.
If you aren’t as interested in the nightlife, there’s a delicious cafe on every street corner. With the restaurants, there is no comparison to any other place in the world in my opinion.The steak is unforgettable and plentiful (and comes from happy cows), and the empanadas, provoletas, chocotortas and dulce de leche with every meal can’t be missed either. This is the city to be in if you are a foodie. In my opinion, the food here, including the helado, rivals some of the best places in Europe.
As far as nature goes, the Bosques de Palermo constitutes a huge part of the parks in Buenos Aires. The former grounds of military dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas, the parks extend for blocks and blocks. They are filled with exercise stations, roller skaters, bikers, paddle boaters, runners, couples who aren’t afraid to show a little PDA, dog-walkers, families out for a stroll, pick-up soccer games and community dance lessons and exercise classes. This is my favorite place in the city because you can take a break from the concrete jungle and see how the people of Buenos Aires value spending time with each other. It may be a big, fast-paced city, but the Argentine culture encourages you to slow down, make time for relationships and, of course, drink lots of mate in parks.
If you’re interested in traveling, this is the place to do it. Argentina is the seventh largest country in the world, and its different regions are filled with distinct climates and cultures. Each of the 23 provinces has its own unique kinds of food and sights, and you will never run out of things to see.
Public transportation, both in Buenos Aires and to the different regions of Argentina, is clean, safe, easy and relatively cheap. After visiting five of the provinces on various weekends, and making it to Patagonia on a 20-hour bus ride, an experience that is really not as bad as it sounds, I can say with confidence that I’ve seen the best that Argentina has to offer while staying on a budget.
If you’re deciding between Europe or Latin America, Buenos Aires is the perfect medium between the two. Big and beautiful and known as the Paris of South America, Buenos Aires has the historical architecture of European influence, as well as the modern amenities of a big city, while still keeping its Latin American humility. This is an area of the world that is better to travel through while you’re young, as some of the sidewalks can be obstacle courses, and broke, since the prices are much cheaper here than Europe.
My experiences thus far in Buenos Aires have been amazing and better than I could have ever expected. My Spanish has improved tremendously and I’ve built relationships and shared memories with Argentines and other study abroad students that will last a lifetime. I would 100 percent recommend studying abroad here over any other place in the world.