Safe topics to start a conversation with most Latins

Conversational Topics

I have many times been sitting among los argentinos and listened to their conversations. Listened because I came to Argentina and couldn’t say a word in Spanish, and therefore I have been forced to just sit listening and trying to understand at least something. To me they speak a lot, more than from where I come from. I have been sitting hours listening to conversations among family members of my boyfriend or friends here. When I started to understand what they actually are talking about I found that it is often the same topics that is discussed over and over again. There are many Spanish Schools in Buenos Aires where I took Spanish lessons and therefore I now know what topics are safe to take when starting a conversation in Argentina. I good recipe is to go for some maté and get started with some of these topics:

  • Politics is one of the most discussed topics. Maybe you can read up a bit about the political situation and you will for sure have a good discussion. However be aware that it is a heavy topic to take up as many people is very passionate about it. I have seen people being really angry at each other, especially around the election times.
  • Economy is another highly ranked theme, which is also highly used. It can be how much money you earn, whether your job payed you or not, how much the cost of things has risen because of the inflation and comparing these prices.
  • Football of course! The majority of the argentinos love football and have a high passion for watching the games either live or in TV. If you know a bit about football this one is most likely a winner.

However be aware that talking about the food might be a vulnerable topic. Don’t say anything bad against the pizza! Most foreigners don’t understand how the argentinos like this pizza so much. You just have to understand that it is different tastes and then don’t question the quality or bring it up.

Also I had a lot of fun with my friends from Santiago de Chile talking about the confusion of B and V, which is basically the same sound in Spanish and therefore also many put it into English. Most argentinos don’t hear the difference. For me the difference is very big and therefore I found it quite funny.

For example in the spring everyone was going Boting, which was a little confusing, as it meant that they went Voting. Or when a friend told me that he started watching the Bikings, and wanted to say the Vikings. Or when something is Berry good.

If you don’t know any argentinos then a good way to get to know some is to go to the Spanglish Exchange events. It is every Thursday, Friday and Saturday and the first time is for free! I have also had a language exchange partner, which I found on conversational exchange.

Sabe la Tierra Belgrano Organic Food Marked

Belgrano Organic Food Market

Last Saturday I went to meet a friend in this organic marked, where I have wanted to go to for a very long time. I came there with the thought that I would find a bunch of fresh organic fruits and vegetables to bring home to use. It is also what it is, but what it is more, is a marked place for fantastic vegetarian/vegan/raw/ foods made of different vendors and just ready to eat right away. Please don’t do the same mistake as me to eat before going there! There is so much good stuff to eat and try. You can get sandwiches of different kinds, made of raw crackers/bread or homemade bread with fillings of lentil patties, lots of salad and sauces. You find falafels, empanadas, and lots of good bread, and super raw-cakes. I got to taste many of the things as most of them have tastings, which also made it a really fun experience. My friend bought a piece of one of the raw-cakes, which was super delicious. It was almost as one big Snickers bar – without any sugar, flour and butter, but just fruits and nuts. Things are not cheap but though really delicious and all homemade with the best ingredients.  

This marked is there every second Saturday – the first and the third in the month. On the other side of the street of the marked you will find Fresco, which is an organic food store. It is probably the best place to find good organic products but also the most expensive I guess. I will say that overall Buenos Aires is not a cheap place at all to find organic products but it is definitely a growing phenomenon. A few weeks ago the first vegan supermarket in Buenos Aires, called Mini Super Veganos, even opened at Avenida Independencia 2530. And small restaurants and deliveries are opening up here and there. Here it is almost always automatically connected vegetarian/vegan restaurant to being organic.

Close to the marked you will also find Buenos Aires Verdes, which is a yummy vegetarian/vegan organic restaurant, located Vidas 2226 (sister to the one in Palermo). If you haven’t eaten in the market you could go here to get your lunch. They have a really good lunch deal, where you get lots of food for a really fair price.

But back to the organic food marked. In the winter it is located inside a big hall. The different stable vendors are having their small shops and the “unstable” vendors are having their small tables in the middle of the hall. To me it was a really nice experience as of finding so much veggie stuff, which made me almost feel like being back in Copenhagen where I come from. However another things that made the experience really good, was the feeling of openness from the vendors. They all really wanted to explain and tell you about what they were selling and giving you the chance to taste their products. Normally I overall don’t feel this way of customer service in the city so it was nice.

The marked is too located in a safe and fancy area in Belgrano – so safe that I even dared to put my bike outside on the street locked, without taking it to one of the safe and paid parking plots. Here and there good coffee bars and veggie restaurants are slowly popping up and therefore a recommendable area to pay a visit. Below I have placed the webpage of the market so that you can take a look at what it is like before going.

http://www.sabelatierra.com/

Best Spanish Schools Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires Spanish Schools and Study Abroad

Buenos Aires is a large, cosmopolitan city with a cultural heritage. Many students from all around the world come to Buenos Aires to study Spanish every year. I have always had to work while studying Spanish to earn my living, so I had a hectic schedule and almost no free time. It implied great personal sacrifice but I enjoyed it anyway since I love learning. I do encourage anyone to study Spanish and help others do it.

One of the best things I did in Buenos Aires is to study Spanish. Finding a place to learn Spanish in Buenos Aires was not as easy as other cities I’ve traveled through. There are so many different Spanish schools here, so it doesn’t make the process any easier. I personally took Spanish classes at two Spanish immersion schools in Buenos Aires

1- Spanish School in Palermo, Vamos Spanish Academy offers classes in small groups, weekly social events, accommodation and a great location at Av. Coronel Diaz 1736 Buenos Aires +54-11-5984-2201

2- Spanish school in downtown Buenos Aires, Ibero  offers small group classes at all Spanish learning levels and the TEFL Certification course. The location is great, very near my house in Recoleta.

Ibero Student Review

What to take into account when choosing the best Spanish School in Buenos Aires
•Checking schools thoroughly before joining
•Not joining schools with the intent of socializing with other foreigners
•Trying to make local friends
•Knowing that Spanish is reinforced and learned mostly after class, and speaking and studying Spanish on your own time
•Try to speak all the time, make mistakes, and learn from them

Some useful Spanish verbs and phrases I´ve learnt during this 6 week period of intensive Spanish classes at these two schools

 

Spanish future tense:
•Vamos a comer en la casa de mi abuela.
•¿Vas a estudiar ahora?
•Mi hermano va a trabajar mañana.
•¿Vais a salir esta noche?
•Voy a ver la televisión luego.

Spanish future tense structure: Ir + a + infinitive:
•I am going to cook.
•We are going to visit Ana.
•Are you coming with us? (one person/friendly)
•Our sister is working on Sunday.
•They are going to the beach tomorrow.

useful phrases
•Más tarde
•Esta tarde
•Este fin de semana
•Pasado mañana
•La semana que viene
•El próximo mes

As I am also a vegetarian, I looked for some great options for organic fruit and veg delivery services.
One of my favorite childhood memories was eating fresh chilled stone fruit on the beach, after chomping down hot, buttered, salted corn on the cob.  It was the best and healthiest way to stay fed and hydrated under the sun.
Here are some great options for organic fruit and veg delivery services in Buenos Aires today:
•Pedile a Carol
•Tallo Verde
•La Orgánica
•Quinta Fresca
•Jardín Orgánico
•De la Huerta a la Mesa

 

Studying Spanish in Latin America

Why to Study Spanish in Argentina and Chile

Everyone has a different reason for learning Spanish. Some people may prefer or need to learn Spanish in Buenos Aires, others Santiago de Chile while others may plan on working in in Argentina ro Chile and as such need to study and learn Spanish there. Although most people who go to South America probably don’t get beyond learning the basic greetings and learning to count (primarily to be able to order the right number of beers!), there are plenty of people who genuinely set out to learn Spanish on their trip.

The first thing to say is that wherever you go in the Spanish speaking world there are differences. Different vocabulary, different accents, sometimes different grammar. While this may at first sound like a big deal, it’s really not. Because everyone has different needs and experiences and there are Spanish programs at some of the best Spanish language schools in a variety of countries, of course, if you need something very intensive or very specific, require the best facilities and teachers, demand the best accommodations… then there are certain programs and locations that are better than others.

My Spanish Immersion in Argentina
Beautiful landscapes and nice culture.

One of the best places to study Spanish in Chile is Escuela de la Bellavista in Santiago. Since 1987 they have been teaching Spanish in Chile. They offer group, private and intensive courses are available as well as DELE program. There are free daily extracurricular activities with teachers.

Argentina is home to some of the most impressive natural wonders in the world including Iguazu Falls and Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia.  In Buenos Aires, Argentina, we found most students had a very positive experience with Vamos Spanish School and Íbero . With daily Spanish immersion classes at affordable prices, these schools go out of their way in order to offer best quality in Spanish immersion lessons.

I was lucky to start this Spanish program at Íbero during my stay in Argentina. I arrived in the country with minimal Spanish-speaking ability and after studying with all three of them I was able to fit into and interact socially with the native population of Buenos Aires. Each of their Íbero levels individually had a great impact on my skill and confidence with the language, and therefore ultimately on my self-satisfaction and enjoyment of Argentine and Latin culture. I recommend all Íbero programs very highly and hope others get a chance to benefit from them as I have. Nathan S. Los Angeles, USA.

I’m glad I have decided to attend classes here at Vamos Spanish Institute. ( Av Coronel Diaz 1736,Buenos Aires +54-11-59842201 ) After four weeks of school I developed my ability to speak much before talking slow and had discussions with difficulty but now I can speak in a more normal pace. My teacher was excellent, quiet and efficient and it seems that everyone is well.. The building is nice and very convenient location. 10/10 would study here again. Chris, T, USA.

Argentine food is delicious (especially the steaks), so when you dine in an Argentine restaurant, you’ll want to know how to order: The following Argentina Spanish tips will help you when eating out.

churrasco – – – -> steak
chimichurri – – – -> steak marinade made from parsley and garlic
milanesa – – – -> breaded, pan-fried cutlets
empanada – – – -> dumpling or turnover, Argentine-style
fatay– – – -> spicy turnover
chorizo– – – -> sausage
fiambre– – – -> cold cuts
fideos – – – -> noodles, pasta
tallarines – – – -> spaghetti
tuco – – – -> spaghetti sauce
flan – – – -> Argentine egg custard
arroz con leche – – – -> rice pudding
vino tinto – – – -> red wine

These are recommended restaurants to eat great food in Buenos Aires

Colombians are known for being formal and open but the people of Medellin take this to a whole new level. Instead of thank you they say always “my pleasure” – con gusto. Very oftern when my Colombian friends refer to one another they use the formal version of “usted” rather than the informal “tu” that is commonly used in Spanish. Friends and family will often refer to each other as my love “mi amor” or “corazon”

While Latin people are known for being much more open and nicer than others there is a distinct difference with the people of Mendoza Another reason to learn how to speak Argentine Spanish. The best option to learn Spanish in Mendoza a is Mendoza Language School

Cordoba might not have the best weather but the big city life is what draws most visitors. In Cordoba you can find great restaurants, bars and clubs. Being the capital city of Mendoza many travelers arrive in Mendoza as the first port of call, so its a logical place to start at least one week of Spanish lessons before heading to Bariloche or Cordoba.

Traveling Abroad To Argentina

Exploring Buenos Aires to Corrientes

A few weeks ago I decided to stop with my Spanish Classes in Buenos Aires and travel with my boyfriend to visit some family/friends of his who are living in Goya, which is a small city in the province of Corrientes. The family is all farmers and have had the farm in four generations with a main production in cows. Additionally they also do foresting and timber production to have in case the farm would not be going so well one year. They have a huge piece of land, which they use very careful in order to make it sustainable. The cows only eat this natural pasture and therefore the meat is really good and organic. They have even calculated the amount of gasses the cows produce to how many hectares of pastures they need to absorb these again in order to keep an equilibrium. I was really surprised how much they are thinking about the environment in the production, but I guess that’s also part of the reason why meat from Argentina is worldwide known to be so good. They even persuaded me to try eating meat! I am vegetarian, which was almost a joke when visiting a farmer’s family, whose main income comes from producing meat. Of course they are eaten a lot of meat, also because they live more traditional than the people living in the city.

Talking about living traditional: The whole family, the boyfriend of the daughter in the family and everyone working on the farm were all wearing more or less the same clothes. I was very excited to see a stronger culture than what I see in Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires can seem very European compared to fx Bolivia where you see people in the streets wearing the traditional clothes.

Probably you have seen many people in Buenos Aires using these shoes as seen in the photo below. Everyone I saw on the farm was using these so called “alpargatas”, which are the farmer shoes.

Alpargatas
Alpargatas

Before I left I bought my own pair as a small souvenir but also just because they are super comfy.  

The photo below is more or less how they look like. To me classical Argentinian looking. Everyone almost knows how to ride a horse, I even saw the little 10 years old kid of the sheriff helping his father riding on a small horse on his own. Some of them are amazingly using the lasso to capture the cows. It felt almost like being in a cowboy movie!

The province is bordering to Paraguay and because of this close distance you will find many people speaking Guarani, a language completely differently from the Spanish in Buenos Aires and is mostly the people helping in the farms or in the house keeping. As the father in the family we were visiting is working closely with people who are speaking Guarani, he also understand the most and can talk a bit. Guarani is the original language from Paraguay, and is completely different to Spanish.

Another interesting thing about the Corrientes province is the rich animal life it has because of being this close to Paraguay and therefore a more tropical climate. You can even get to see one of these ones:

Or these ones:

It looks like an ostrich but is a bit smaller and i called a nandu.

This time I was lucky to know someone living there, but still if you don’t know anyone to visit, there are still plenty of possibilities for going. For example you could go to Ibero, which should be super beautiful too. I haven’t been but I have heard a lot about it and it is very close to where I went. In the summer it gets extremely hot and therefore I would recommend going in the autumn or spring to escape from the worst warm. Overall my experience was great and taking a my Spanish Immersion Program in Buenos Aires at Av. Coronel Diaz 1736, Buenos Aires was a nice thing for a change.