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IFSA-Butler in Argentina

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

You get out what you put in

This is a program that doesn't try to hold you're hand unless you ask for help. The administration has been around for long time and they know what they're doing not only with the bureaucratic stuff, but they can help you plans trips and take advantage of the city.

There is good flexibility in the choice of University's, academically you can make it as challenging or easy as you want.

Its easy to just hang out with kids from the program and go to American bars, but if you put a little effort in you can fully immerse yourself into the Argentine way of life. However, this is not a program for students who do not have the ability to be independent and find things for themselves to do. Because it is a home stay there is more downtime than expected, which can be frustrating if you do not actively seek new things to see and hobbies to pick up.

Buenos Aires has a phenomenal social scene, you can find everything you want out of the city in that respect and the people party constantly.

It is the most european city in South America therefore the least amount of culture shock, but Argentina is still technically considered Third World.

I highly recommend it for those looking to improve their Spanish and get a different perspective on the world.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

It's up to you

The program staff made sure they were always accessible.

How sheltered/connected you were was entirely up to the student... i.e. if the student wanted to completely immerse himself/herself in the culture, you could never speak another word of English for the rest of their stay. Otherwise, they had plenty of opportunities for students in the program to hang out with each other. Classes through the program and excursions.

UBA was pretty tight as well -- though there is a certain element of chaos that is unavoidable with Latin American universities...

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    10

I'd do it again.

Choose this program, but in doing so, choose to be an active agent of your own success. If you do, there's no limit to what you'll get out of your abroad experience.

Academics:
With the AUP program, academics are really what you make of them. The concentrations offered by IFSA (I did the literature) are great. The professors are familiar with the way courses are taught in the states, and while they aren't there to pander you, they do understand the academic challenges presented by the difference in culture and will help you work through them. Obviously, as in the states, there are better and worse universities, as well as harder and easier. La UBA is going to be the most rigorous--it is both more academically demanding and culturally different. To give you an idea, I had one friend who wrote a 50 page final and another, who on the day he was supposed to present his group's final, ended up having to deliver all by himself because his partner was striking. DiTella and UCA are both good in terms of instruction. DiTella is way out in Belgrano, a nicer barrio in the northern part of the city, and UCA is in the nicest part of the city altogether, Puerto Madero. The kids at these institutions are likely going to be the wealthiest you encounter, but, especially at UCA, I found them to be very helpful and certainly willing to share their mate...they might even invite you to a "pre" if you're lucky. USAL was not my favorite. The locations of the buildings aren't always in the best parts of town and often the classrooms are so outdated, the professor will be writing on a barely legible blackboard (as in chalkboard). Don't let these descriptions discourage you from taking classes at a particular university, just be sure to make full use of IFSA's "shopping" period, so you can get a good feel for the university, students, and professor. All could make or break a class.

Living Situation:
I had the absolute BEST home-stay experience. I lived in Belgrano in the northern part of the city, and while I was a little farther out in terms of the night-scene, it was entirely worth it given my living situation. Elena, my host-mother was an absolute saint. She cared for my well-being, but wanted me to have a good time, and certainly wasn't one to stop me from going out...and even staying out...all night. It's the porteño way after all. Having done a home-stay before, in Spain, I can say that the great thing about IFSA is how clear they make the rules: your rights as a student, and your host-families rights as your caretaker. What was indispensable was the guaranteed use of the kitchen. Food can get pretty expensive in the city. Breakfast and dinners are provided by your host-family as part of the program's cost, but if you try and eat out every lunch (and, let's be real, weekend nights) it's going to add up. Plus, you'll get to have some control over the food you eat, a fact that shouldn't be overlooked. Despite all the great italian food in the city, at some point, you'll be craving a taste for home!

Cultural Immersion:
This gets a little tricky. Buenos Aires is crawling with study abroad students; it's very easy to fall into the trap of hitting up the same bars (alamo, sugar, magdalenas, casa bar) and hanging out with with same people, other Americans. It's comfortable, and, yes, fun. BUT, you're in Buenos Aires, and presumably you're not ONLY in Buenos for the great night life. You're already taking classes with Argentines, so MEET THEM! Join a club, play an intramural, talk to people on the subte/colectivo. They're used to study abroad students coming and going, and really...who wants to make a friend they know is going to ditch in 5 months? You've got to make them want to be your friend. You wont regret it. You're spanish will improve tremendously, and while all the other americans on your program are sipping 12$ fernet and cokes at Alamo, you'll be top story in an apartment overlooking the city, not paying $12 a drink, and pre-gaming in spanish with porteños who'll take you out afterwards for a REAL night in Buenos Aires. Just a thought.

Program Administration:
Mario is THE MAN, and the rest (especially Patricio, Daniel, and Darío) are pretty great too. They're super knowledgeable, super helpful, and super attractive in Darío's case--but I digress. Ask them before you plan a trip--they know where you SHOULD go, what you SHOULD do, and what you SHOULD pay.

Health and Safety:
Lots of petty crime. Hold onto your stuff (actually, HOLD your stuff at all times), don't attract attention to yourself (that Michael Kors watch is NOT worth it), and be smart--no walking alone at night, please!

and only hail RADIO TAXIs. Even better, call one.

Overall Rating

5/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Really fun. Buenos Aires is the best place...

Really fun. Buenos Aires is the best place to study Spanish. They've been around for a while as a program so they know what they're doing. Still, I liked the city a lot more than the program.