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Study Spanish in Buenos Aires

University of Belgano Is a Bargain and a Ball

I did a 3-month intensive Spanish language course at the private University of Belgrano. Student life here is in total contrast to that of UBA, the more traditional public University of Buenos Aires. The teachers are excellent and you are in a group appropriate to your level of Spanish. Three hours a day, five days a week at a cost of approximately $600, is a bargain.

If, on the other hand, you feel up to the challenge of enrolling at UBA and you have a good knowledge of Spanish, you can enroll in almost any subject you want. Student services and resources are limited and students and lecturers are known to go on strike at any time. The UBA web site is www.uba.ar. Click on estudiantes extranjeros for more information.

An excellent way to get to know local students is to flat-share or live with a family. The international office at Belgrano University has a list of host families you can choose from. This is what I did and I had an excellent experience, speaking Spanish morning to night.

While you are looking for accommodations, book into Milhouse hostel. You will need a week to get acquainted with the city. Book well in advance because it is always busy—the party never stops. The owner, Mariano, and his sister, Mariela, are very helpful and have lots of useful contacts. On Thursdays the staff usually heads to Podesta in Palermo Viejo, the hippie hangout zone. In the same area and well worth a visit is a bar with a retro, bluegrass feel called Mundo Bizarro.

Try salsa lessons at Azucar and make sure you go to one of the many cultural centers around the city. My favorite is Centro Cultural Recoleta, which is free and has loads of great exhibitions. Look out for what's on in the local paper, Clarin. Take a tour around the magical Teatro Colon or simply have dinner at Milion. Oh, and if you can possibly see the Bocca Ballet, make sure you do.

If you ever thought about teaching English, most language schools are always on the look out for natives to give conversational lessons, and the pay is relatively good. Have a look in the Yellow Pages and just phone the schools listed.

Sarah Tonner is currently a fourth year student reading Hispanic Studies at the University of Sheffield in the U.K. When not studying or travelling she returns home to the South of France.

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