City Discovery: Buenos Aires, Argentina – the Paris of the Americas

Buenos Aires is commonly referred to as the “Paris of the Americas,” as its extraordinary European elegance shines through the city structure.  Argentina’s vibrant and lively capital is home to over one third of Argentina’s population. What makes the city so special is the Latin America flair that exudes from within. Porteños are seen as expressive and passionate and can be found at all hours of the day drinking mate and discussing controversial topics. They take pride in their country, themselves, and their rich cultural identity.

Within the 48 barrios in Buenos Aires there is no shortage of things to do! The city boasts the birth of the Tango, the highest concentration of theaters in the world and the highest number of bookstores per capita than any other city in the world. There are street fairs and monuments in every corner and there is never a dull moment to be found. Whether you are drinking mate in the park or sipping wine from Mendoza, you will be captivated by the flair of Buenos Aires.



Intercultural experiences highlight exposure with the local culture, promoting a multilateral exchange of ideas, language and opinions.

The Tango plays an integral part in the identity of Argentina. As the birthplace of this passionate dance, Argentinians pride themselves on its elegance. Buenos Aires remains a central location for practicing the art of the Tango and students will be able to find Tango shows throughout the city. ISA students also get the opportunity to take a Tango lesson at the beginning of their program, as an introduction to Buenos Aires. Students are able to continue classes at the dance studio independently should they want to learn more about the dance throughout their semester in Buenos Aires.

The ISA staff in Buenos Aires continuously facilitates cultural activities throughout the semester to help students feel immersed in the Argentine way of life. An activity that is always a student favorite is the Feria de Mataderos. This Sunday feria is located in the border between the city and the province, the neighborhood was the inspiration for Argentina’s famous short story “El matadero”, by Esteban Echeverría.  Students are able to sample local foods like Choripan and artisanal cheeses. They have the opportunity to purchase crafts like leather goods, handicrafts and art. Throughout the feria students will be able to watch typical gaucho performances which entail dancing, music and traditional costume. In the streets, students will be able to see Argentine people dancing along to the music and enjoying the tribute to rural Argentina.



ISA excursions and cultural activities highlight historical parts of the local culture to help students better understand their new environment.

Both cinema and theatre represent two very important activities for the porteños. Currently, there are about 175 theatres and 200 cinemas, including the Teatro Colón, in Buenos Aires. Teatro Colón is is the main opera house in Buenos Aires, as the original theatre opened in 1857. The theater’s Italian style pays tribute to the Italian influence of Buenos Aires.  It hosts the most famous artists of national and international opera and ballet and is acoustically considered to be amongst the five best concert venues in the world. ISA students will see and tour the inside of this magnificent theatre for the first time during their city tour and have the ability to see a show in the theatre at any time during their semester in Buenos Aires.

Taking a day out of the bustling city, students will ferry over to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay. Colonia del Sacramento was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995, it is a small southwestern Uruguayan city of 27,000 inhabitants situated on the Rio de la Plata river. The city faces Buenos Aires (40 km away) off of the Uruguay coast, was founded by the Portuguese in 1680, and fought over for years by the crowns of Spain and Portugal, then later Brazil, finally becoming Uruguayan after independence in 1828. Due to the years of fighting, Colonia contains a mixture of Portuguese colonial buildings with typical Spanish style homes. There are many city attractions that ISA students will see, such as: La Calle de los Suspiros, El Faro, Las Ruinas del Convento de San Francisco, La Puerta de la Ciudadela and La Iglesia Matriz. Throughout the day students will have views of the Rio de la Plata river, where the first naval war in WWII took place.



Sociopolitical discovery highlights social and political activities or experiences.

Peronismo has played an important part in Argentina’s history since the mid 1940s. Juan Perón rose to political power throughout his time in the army, serving as the Minister of Labor, and eventually being elected as President. During his rise, and first presidential term, Perón was supported by his wife Eva “Evita” Duarte. Eva was from rural Argentina and moved to Buenos Aires to pursue her career on the stage. She met Juan Perón and they quickly fell in love and she began her political career. Eva was loved by Argentina and became a pillar for women and laborers. ISA students will go visit the Evita Museum to learn about the life of Eva.  After the visit to the museum students will be able to recognize the legacy that Evita left to the Argentine people through her charitable contributions and work as the first lady of Argentina. The Evita Museum is a dynamic space, created so one can feel, know and understand Evita through critical judgments and historical facts.

Eva is said to be buried in the cemetery in the barrio Recoleta. The Recoleta cemetery contains the graves of many notable Argentine people, ranging from Presidents to the wealthiest Argentine families. The cemetery has been marked among the 10 most beautiful cemeteries in the world by CNN and its presence in a bustling neighborhood is hauntingly beautiful.  During the city tour, ISA students visit the cemetery in Recoleta and will be able to see that there are always fresh flowers on the grave of Evita.



Professional experiences provide exposure to professional development opportunities during an ISA program.

Students can participate in the Business and Latin American Studies program at the Universidad Argentina de la Empresa (UADE) each spring. The program is outlined to teach students about Latin American economic issues and Latin business operation strategies. The focus of the classes are on the skills necessary for facilitating business in Latin America, specifically on managing and leading in the Latin American business world. The program has several on-site learning opportunities where students visit companies around Buenos Aires to have a firsthand look at the business operations in Argentina.

Also at the UADE students can participate in the Business, Hospitality, Design & Courses with Locals program. This program has courses with Argentine students available to ISA students ranging from Tourism and Hotel Management courses in Spanish to Human Resource and Marketing courses in English. The UADE is one of Argentina’s premiere universities for business, and provides students with relevant preparation for the workforce, and great connections to Argentina’s network of business professionals.



Environmental experiences expose students to different environmental aspects of the host country.

Riding the border of Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu Falls became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.  It is a Seven Wonders of Nature winner, as it is made up of around 275 waterfalls! Students who go are completely enthralled by the expansive falls and the experience of walking out on a boardwalk to the edge of the “Garganta del Diablo” is truly remarkable. Students are able to observe the rivers Paraná and Iguazú waterfalls and admire panoramic views. In the national park students will stay in permanent contact with nature, surrounded by jungle and animals such as monkeys, toucans, coatis, butterflies, various birds and insects. Students will also visit a native Guaraní village in order to learn about Guaraní history, how they lived in the past, (hunting and gathering) and how they live today. Students will learn about the structure and origin of the Argentine national park system, as well as the Guaraní names for indigenous Argentine plants and animals. This excursion will help students recognize the importance of protecting natural resources after visiting the falls.

Students studying in Buenos Aires with ISA can also take advantage of many of the Buenos Aires’ environmental initiatives. In addition to offering widespread recycling, a bike sharing program and a growing network of bike paths, students can visit Buenos Aires’ many parks and green spaces and can take a short subway ride to the Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve. The Ecological Reserve is on the low land of the Rio de la Plata river bank and was created over a former dump site. It is now an expansive green area full of hiking and biking trails, wildlife and some serenity from the excitement of the city. Porteños can be found there quietly sunbathing and watching for parrots and turtles.

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The 2015 City Discovery Series aims to showcase one of ISA’s program locations each week. Facts about each location and several Discovery Compass activity examples are given, however they are not a comprehensive list. These activities highlight the areas of Intercultural, Historical, Sociopolitical, Professional and Environmental discovery. The Discovery Compass aims to help students have the best possible study abroad experience by helping them to gain a better understanding of the local environment, customs and people through a variety of experiences.

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

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