A month studying Argentine culture and language in Buenos Aires

21 July 2020

Céline received funding from the Santander Bursary and undertook a language and culture course at Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Argentina.


During the month of July, I undertook an Argentinian language and culture course at the Universidad Torcuato di Tella, as a preparation for my year abroad. The course consisted in 3 hours of language class every day of the week, as well as several cultural activities around the city of Buenos Aires.

The language course was incredibly useful in getting used to the Argentinian accent, idioms and cultural practices before starting my university year, but would also be very beneficial for somebody who is interested in learning about Argentina’s complex history while perfecting their Spanish. The teachers explained language concepts and difficult conjugation rules in new and useful ways, which meant that, even if I had already seen some of the material, I found that the course really increased my level in Spanish. It allowed me to be much more prepared and informed before classes started, but also helped nurture my interest and fascination for Argentine culture.

Beside the classes, the course also included several visits to culturally important places in the city, such as the Immigrant’s museum, which is held in the same building in which thousands of European immigrants lived during the immigration wave in the late 19th and early 20th century and the Memorial park, which commemorated the thousands of people who disappeared during the military dictatorship of the 1970s. We also had a city tour, which was a useful introduction to Buenos Aires’ history and central neighborhoods, an Argentine cooking class, and two Argentinian film viewings. 

Beside these activities, the class debates and homework also pushed us to immerse ourselves, both geographically and culturally, into the life of porteños, the inhabitants of Buenos Aires. We were encouraged to discover several of the beautiful, and very distinct neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, and to understand the political debates and controversies happening at the time. Living in such a vibrant South American city was certainly one of the highlights of the course, and while it was challenging for the first few days to adapt to having to do all my daily tasks in Spanish, my language skills really progressed during this first month in Argentina, allowing me to follow all my classes in Spanish during my first study abroad semester.

I would warmly encourage any other student considering a short-term global opportunity to take the leap and apply. I also completed a short-term summer study placement last summer, and have to say that both courses have been highlights of my years, and have taught me, beside academic matters, how to step outside of my comfort zone and fully embrace a new culture. I have left both of these opportunities with a wonderful fascination for the country, the people, the language and history I had just experienced, and will always value the weeks I spent there. 


By: Céline Dogse