Where in the world can you spot a cowboy and a colony of penguins in the same country? Spoiler: it’s Argentina, the country this entire guide is written to celebrate. With modern-day cowboys, known as gauchos, riding across the plains and families of penguins waddling along its southern shores, Argentina is a nation like no other. As the second-largest country in South America, it manages to wrap its expansive borders around a little of everything, perfect for the undaunted, curious, and adventurous international student. Ready to head to the (deep, deep) south to study in Argentina yet?
A country with strong European influence, Argentina’s official language is Spanish, and its capital, Buenos Aires, is known as the “Paris of South America.” Argentines are passionate about food, dancing, soccer, and wine; in fact, Argentina is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world. With a more stable infrastructure than many South American countries, it is easy to find reliable transportation and accommodations throughout Argentina, making it a fantastic place for study abroad in South America.
Argentina’s capital city, Buenos Aires is one of the top 10 study abroad cities in the world for a multitude of reasons. The second largest Latin American city after Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires is a dynamic melting pot of cultures in a cosmopolitan setting, including influences from the indigenous Amerindian populations and the descendents of the European elite that first called it home. From world-renowned private universities with historical classroom settings to famed tango clubs for both students and professionals, this city has something for everyone.
Another popular city for study abroad in Argentina is Cordoba, Argentina’s second largest city. Nestled in the rolling hills in the heart of the country, Cordoba offers a great centralized location for exploring the rest of Argentina. The outdoor enthusiast can reach the countryside in no time, while urban dwellers will be more than satisfied by the energetic city. It is likewise home to number of reputable universities, and the perfect solution to “getting away from it all” (if “it all” means tons of expats and other English speakers); genio español instantánea!
Finally, the charming city of Mendoza lies at the foothills of the Andes and consistently ranks as one of the most beautiful cities in South America. This destination is ideal for students who are looking to take classes and focus on agriculture and viticulture. With easy access to the Andes, great hiking is only a quick jaunt away from the classroom and makes Mendoza a great location for the more outdoorsy study abroad students.
Studying Abroad in Argentina
As one of the largest Spanish speaking countries in the world, one of the best reasons to study in Argentina is to learn Spanish, albeit with the very unique Argentine accent. However, if you’re looking for some other classes to satisfy your major back home, you’re in luck. Keep in mind that many courses are taught in English, so there’s no need to worry about having to learn a complicated subject in a foreign language.
The most popular reason to study abroad in Argentina, learning Spanish, is by far the most prolific course offered throughout the country. Since native speaking teachers abound, Spanish classes of all levels are available. In Buenos Aires, one can expect to learn Spanish with more of an up beat city tempo, while learning in Mendoza might provide a bit of a slower, country way of speaking. Sure, learning Spanish in Argentina may be difficult, but it’ll be totally worth it once you’re back home and can advance a few classes ahead of everyone else thanks to your newfound, auténtico language skills.
Another popular subject for international students to study in Argentina is art history, which can take many different forms. From political demonstrations to the Latin Boom to expressionism during the colonial period, Argentine art history is a fascinating subject, and not only for art nerds or history buffs. It’s an interesting lens through which to understand Argentine culture for students from all backgrounds and focuses.
As one of the strongest economic leaders in Latin America, Argentina is likewise a stronghold in the global economy and a fine scene for studying business abroad. International students will be able to observe and research how Argentina deals with its many neighbors as well as study its commercial industry on a global scale. If you have interest in trade, finance, or economics, more business-oriented courses that focus on Latin America might just be your sweet spot.
Scholarships & Costs
While Argentina might not be the cheapest place to study abroad in Latin America, it is still quite affordable compared to Western Europe. The local currency in Argentina is the Argentine Peso. Upfront study abroad program costs will usually include housing, airport pickup, and occasionally, meals. Stick to grocery shopping while studying abroad in Argentina, go where your Argentine friends go, avoid the touristy areas, and your budget will thank you. Keep in mind: going out to even a low end restaurant in a typical city can cost about $10.
Numerous scholarships are available through the various study abroad programs in Argentina, and there are a lot of financial aid discounts for international students too. There are several different types of scholarships that students can apply to in order to study in Argentina, including host university scholarships, program financial aid discounts, and outside scholarships. Outside scholarships, through private and governmental organizations, are some of the most commonly available. Make sure to ask your program advisor for details on how you can apply for various scholarships and financial aid.
Accommodation & Visas
With such a variety of places to live, from metropolitan Buenos Aires to tiny cities and villages, housing in Argentina is, to say the least, varied. While many students choose to live with homestays (more on this later) while studying in Argentina, other study abroad program providers offer students other types of accommodation, such as independent housing in apartments or flats throughout host cities or dormitories at local universities. If apartments are supplied then accommodation is usually included in program prices, although apartments are usually shared spaces. Dormitories will get you in the thick of Argentine university student life, although the size of the living space might be a bit smaller.
As alluded to earlier, many students who study in Argentina choose to live with Argentinian host families. Staying with a host family will provide you with the invaluable opportunity to not only immerse yourself in the Spanish language, but also get an inside look at Argentinian culture and cuisine that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. There is a notion among many study abroad experts that students who stay with host families not only have higher language skills coming out of their experience, but also a higher satisfaction rate.
Visas are fairly easy to come by, and in most cases aren’t even needed to study in Argentina. For those planning on studying abroad in Argentina for less than 90 days, a visa is not usually required because you can enter as a tourist. However, if you’re coming from the United States, keep in mind that you’ll need to pay $160 reciprocity fee PRIOR to arriving in country. Your study abroad advisor will undoubtedly help you through the visa process, so if another type of visa is required they will let you know. More details on visa requirements can be found on GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
From amazing steak to a unique opportunity to rapidly learn Spanish to hiking through Patagonia, Argentina is a great not only to study in, but also live and play in. With an open cultural vibe, and all the amenities one could need, the second largest country in South America provides numerous benefits to those who choose to study there.
Even so, these perks do come at a price. Argentina’s cost of living, though low compared to other popular study abroad destinations, can still present a challenge to those on a student-budget. Avoiding the touristy areas is a good savings hack, but you should also aim to adopt the local way of living whenever possible, and limit your nights at the steak house!
In the land of South American cowboys, sprawling cities, world-class wine, and fervored dance, there is something for everyone. So whether you’re looking to study Spanish or simply want to expand your knowledge of Latin business, study abroad in Argentina is the place to start.