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As seen in Transitions Abroad Magazine July/August 2007
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Study Spanish in Argentina: Language Schools and Resources
Spanish Language Study in Latin America by Volker Poelzl

Study Spanish in Córdoba

Immerse Yourself in Argentina’s Rich Culture

Cordoba Cathedral
The Plaza San Martin with Córdoba's Cathedral.
©Volker Poelzl. All Rights Reserved.

Spanish continues to be one of the most popular foreign languages for Americans, and every year thousands of students of all ages travel abroad to Spanish-speaking countries to study the language. Argentina ranks high on the list of great destinations for Spanish classes for a number of reasons. Despite a weakening dollar Argentina continues to be a very affordable destination for language students from the U.S., and the country offers great cultural diversity, outstanding natural beauty, and a welcoming people. Argentina is also a well-developed country with a high standard of living, and foreign students will find all the amenities they are used to from home.

Córdoba, located in central Argentina about 500 miles inland from Buenos Aires, stands out as one of Argentina’s best locations for foreign Spanish students. Córdoba is smaller and more intimate than Buenos Aires, and Spanish study provides a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, make friends with the locals, and learn the language. The cost of living is also lower in Córdoba than in Buenos Aires, and so are the course fees. The city has a large student population, which gives it a very dynamic cultural and social life. The city center, where the university is located, is alive with coffee houses, bookstores, bars and restaurants, as well as pleasant pedestrian malls, a busy shopping district, and large tree-lined squares. Language students will be able to enjoy movies, art exhibits, tango, as well as folkloric performances and a contemporary music scene all close to the city center.

Although Córdoba is today a large modern urban center with 1.2 million inhabitants, it retains much of its historic heritage, among them the rich Jesuit history with its university, as well as churches and other colonial buildings. The Jesuit block in Córdoba and several historic Jesuit farming estates in nearby towns are today part of UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage. Outdoor enthusiasts will also find plenty to do in the vicinity of the city. The Quebrada del Condorito National Park, located in the Sierra de Córdoba mountains, is the easternmost range of the majestic Andean condor, and visiting the mountains for a hike or birdviewing trip is a great weekend getaway.

Finding a School That Fits Your Needs

There are a number of Spanish schools in Córdoba offering a variety of classes. Most schools are located in the city center, which gives students the opportunity to take advantage of the diverse cultural events and nightlife the center has to offer. All major language schools in Córdoba have websites, where you can find information about the language courses. If you don’t mind the research, you can contact a school directly and book your course; alternatively, you can book with any number of placement organizations in the U.S. Most of these organizations work with established local schools and do not have their own language schools abroad. Booking with a reputable organization gives you certain guarantees about the quality of your language course and a better leverage in case of grievances, but you also pay a higher fee.

Find out exactly what is included in the course fee, and how flexible your program is—for example, can you take off a week for travel and then continue the course? Find out how many hours of weekly instruction you get for your course fee, and compare the programs of several schools. A typical language course offers 20 hours of group instruction per week with four to 10 students per class, but you can also take private lessons or an intensive course for a higher fee. Make sure the schools offer several levels of instruction, so that you will be appropriately placed according to your skill level. Some schools offer college credit for their classes, and if you are a university student, it is worth asking about the details.

Inquire about registration fees and cancellation policies beforehand, so you know what to expect. Find out what other services the schools offer, such as airport transfers, excursions, weekend trips, tango lessons, and other cultural activities. Most schools offer some form of accommodation, such as homestays with local families, and it is a good idea to compare homestay prices of different schools and find out how many meals are included. A typical homestay with a local family with your own private room costs around $150 per week, including half board. You should make sure that your accommodation is reasonably close to the school to avoid a long commute.

Spanish Schools in Cordoba

See websites for latest costs, as they are subject to change..

 Able Spanish
Independiencia 233 - Centro, Córdoba, Argentina, Tel: +54-351-423-3300; ablespanish@hotmail.com; www.ablespanish.com.

Offers group courses, intensive courses, and private classes. Provides homestays and student apartments; offers excursions.

 A.I.E. Argentina Idioma Español
Otto Meiling 357, 8400 Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentina. info@patagoniaspanish.com, www.patagoniaspanish.com.
Offers year-round classes in Córdoba, Buenos Aires, and Bariloche for several skill levels. It is possible to combine different locations; offers excursions and cultural activities.

 Espanex
Av. Rafael Nuñez 5675 – Córdoba, Argentina; info@espanex.org, www.espanex.org.
Offers group courses, intensive courses, and private classes. Provides homestays and student apartments; offers excursions.

 Argentina I.L.E.E.
info@argentinailee.com, argentinailee.com.
Offers Spanish classes in Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Bariloche, and Ushuaia. It is possible to combine different locations. $60 registration fee. Offers group courses, intensive courses, and private classes. Additional five tango classes/wk. Students have to complete one week in Buenos Aires before continuing in Córdoba. Homestays are available (with breakfast/dinner); offers excursions and cultural activities.

 AmeriSpan Study Abroad
Offers placement services for Spanish students in most Latin American countries, including Argentina and Córdoba; offers a satisfaction guarantee for students.
117 South 17th St., Ste. 1401, Philadelphia, P.A. 01910;
Tel: 800-879-6640; info@amerispan.com; www.amerispan.com.

 Spanish Abroad, Inc.
Offers placement for Spanish courses in several Latin American countries, including Argentina and Córdoba.
5112 N. 40th St., Ste. 203, Phoenix, A.Z. 85018; Tel: 888-722-7623; info@spanishabroad.com, www.spanishabroad.com.

Getting There:

There are daily flights and regular bus service from Buenos Aires to Córdoba. There is regular bus service to the cultural and natural attractions in the vicinity of Córdoba, as well as organized bus tours.

When to Go:

Summer (December – March) is a popular time to visit Argentina, but Córdoba has a mild climate all year round. Fall (our spring) is a nice time of year, and the Easter celebration in Córdoba is one of the city’s largest cultural events, with concerts, processions, craft fairs, and exhibits. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for visits up to 90 days.

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