Argentina’s second largest city is the perfect place to polish your Spanish, marvel at 17th century Spanish architecture, and tango the night away. Not to mention, Cordoba hosts the oldest universities in the nation, earning it its fitting nickname: La Docta (The Learned One). With its collection of universities, museums, and monuments, it’s no surprise that Cordoba was crowned the “Cultural Capital of the Americas.” Don’t be surprised if you find yourself flocking to the city’s nightlife, which the city is so well known for, to play and learn about the local way of life, most students who study abroad in Cordoba do!
Study Abroad Programs in Cordoba
The university capital of Argentina, Cordoba has a rich academic tradition and is a great place to immerse yourself in Argentine society. Cordoba is a huge industrial and artistic center, creating a healthy balance of left- and right-brained people to strike up conversation with during your study abroad adventures.
Since Argentina has one of Latin America’s strongest economies, students will benefit from taking business and economics courses while studying abroad in Cordoba. Observe and research how Argentina trades internationally with its neighboring countries and learn how it fits into the global economy.
The city hosts over 100 museums and historical sites, so students interested in art history, and art in general, will definitivamente get hands-on experience learning about this city’s cultural past and present through study abroad in Cordoba. From expressionism during the colonial period to current design trends, students will have a ball learning about the intricacies of Argentina’s visual culture.
Last but not least, Spanish is the most popular subject of study in Cordoba, and all of Argentina for that matter. Spanish classes of all levels are taught by native professors, and the best part is that you can practice what you learn in class at any time while studying in Cordoba. Some courses may require you to adhere to a Spanish-only contract (it’s not as scary as it sounds), which will lead you to sound like an authentic Argentine in no time.
Many courses in Argentina are taught in English, so Spanish language skills aren’t required to study abroad in Cordoba. It’s always a good idea to pick up basic Spanish though, so that you can navigate the city and ask out classmates for a cup of yerba mate under teacher supervision. Most university courses are taught in a lecture-style with many students, so it will be up to you to be proactive in staying in touch with your professors. Professors may arrive late to class, which reflects the more laid-back style of learning. Since the day starts later in Argentina, classes can run until around 7 p.m. or 8 p.m.
The academic year in Argentina runs from March until mid-December, and students get two weeks off in July for receso. Schools are closed for national holidays in Argentina, like Good Friday and Easter, and long weekends are common (puente will become your new best friend). Winters last from May until September, so keep this in mind when you are planning for study abroad in Cordoba. For example, studying abroad in Cordoba during second semester is a better idea if you’d prefer to see the temperatures rise during your stay.
Life in Cordoba
Cordoba’s historical past and vivacious present make it an exciting place to study abroad in Argentina. Since Argentina has received massive influxes of European immigrants over the last few centuries, the food, customs, and music of Cordoba are highly influenced by a number of cultures.
You won’t be bored while studying in Cordoba, but you also won’t be overwhelmed either, as you may feel in the massive city of Buenos Aires. Life in Cordoba starts later in the day and also ends later at night. Businesses open around 10 a.m. and close in the afternoons for siestas; locals tend to eat dinner between 9 and 11 p.m., so the boliches (night clubs) don’t get lively until about 1 a.m.
During the day, you can explore the Jesuit Block, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the city’s countless cathedrals, and the Plaza de San Martin. There’s a captivating mix of traditional, Spanish-style architecture with modernist buildings throughout Cordoba, and no shortage of thematic festivals and tasty street carts.
After exploring, you can head to a coffee shop with an Argentine friend who can teach you about the custom of drinking mate, which comes with its own set of rules. If you’re hungry, try the steak, since Argentina is a cattle-producing country with some of the highest quality meat in the world. For dessert, grab some alfajores, which are cookie sandwiches with delectable fillings like dulce de leche. They’re often covered with powdered or glazed sugar, coconut, or chocolate. Naturally, all meals and desserts are accompanied by a generous pour of malbec or torrontes.
You’ll soon forget all about that plane ticket back home once you begin your study abroad program in Cordoba.
Accommodation & Visas
While accommodations in Cordoba vary depending on the study abroad program you choose, there is no shortage of warm welcomes to greet you and make you feel at home. Argentines are known for their genuine smiles and love of good conversation, so loneliness won’t be an issue if you study in Cordoba, no matter which accommodation you choose.
Some study abroad programs in Cordoba include homestay accommodation, which are a great way to experience the local culture and brush up on your Spanish skills daily. You may have less privacy than you’re used to living with a host family, but it is also the once-in-a-lifetime (unless you come back for another semester) chance to eat home-cooked Argentine meals and play Spanish cards until the fire dies out. Other study abroad programs in Cordoba house students university dorms, so you can mix and mingle with fellow local and international students. Lastly, you may be placed in an apartment, which will give you more independence, but less chances to speak in Spanish if you live alone or with other international students.
Regardless of nationality, you will need a visa to study abroad in Cordoba. Most study abroad programs in Cordoba do not include visa fees, but will coach you through the process. Refer to GoAbroad's Argentine Embassy Directory to get informed on visa requirements.
Benefits & Challenges
Cordoba’s centralized location makes it a great jumping off point for exploring the rest of the country. Outdoor lovers can hop on a bus to the neighboring Sierra Chica Mountain Range and the countryside, where they can go fly-fishing, horseback riding, and enjoy a traditional asado (similar to a barbeque, but infinitely better).
City-goers will have plenty to keep them busy in town, whether going salsa dancing or exploring the many museums and historical sites. There’s never a dull moment in Cordoba, and the great news is that with all of these activities, students are bound to make new local friends with whom they can practice their Spanish skills.
Compared to other Latin American countries, Argentina is a relatively expensive place to live, due to increasing inflation. Additionally, foreigners are charged double what a national pays when visiting tourist attractions. Making a monthly budget can help make expenses less of a headache. While life in Cordoba is more expensive than life in, say, Ecuador, it’s still cheaper to live in Argentina than it would be to live in Western Europe.
Study abroad in Cordoba is perfect for students who have a things for adventure and a desire to have cultural attractions right at their fingertips. With a vibrant social and artistic scene, students will leave Cordoba with an appreciation for one of Latin America’s greatest economic and cultural and powerhouses.