5 Preconceptions about Buenos Aires

Christina Montgomery is a student at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

“Buenos Aires is the Paris of South America.”

“Nobody in Buenos Aires wears anything but jeans no matter what season.”

“Buenos Aires in January is hot.”

These were among the many different rumors I heard about Buenos Aires before coming here, and now after three weeks, there are some things that I can confirm and some things that I’d like to dispute.

1. “Buenos Aires is the Paris of South America.”
Definitely true. Buenos Aires has a very European big city feel that is a lot like Paris. It’s full to the brim of museums and cultural centers. Women in fancy clothes and platform shoes walking poodles can be found on every corner, along with bakeries and cafes where the average Porteño (Buenos Aires citizen) might spend an afternoon sipping coffee. Buenos Aires has the charm of Europe but the flavor of Latin America.

2. “Everyone wears jeans.”

If you’re doing research on the fashion in Buenos Aires, you will no doubt come across advice such as “don’t wear shorts” or “dress conservatively.” I warn you now that these are all lies! Plenty of people wear shorts, probably not as many people as you’ll find on the average American college campus, but enough that wearing shorts won’t make you stick out. Same goes for flip flops. The fashion also isn’t too much more conservative than you will find in any city in the United States.

3. “Buenos Aires is hot in January.”

This is definitely not an exaggeration. Expect hot and humid weather, but still bring an umbrella. Bring shorts and skirts!

4. Greetings

Okay, this isn’t something that anyone told me would or wouldn’t happen. Kissing on the cheek as a greeting is more common than handshakes, which caught me off guard because I didn’t realize that was common here, and after three weeks I still don’t think that I’m all that used to it. Porteños have a different definition of personal space than Americans do.

5. “Argentine Spanish is difficult to understand.”

This was something that worried me before I came here. But honestly I don’t think that it is any more difficult to pick up on than Spanish spoken in Spain or Mexico. There are a couple things that you have to pick up on that you’ve probably never been taught like using vos instead of and ll’s making a j-sound. But it’s not something to fret over.

Strolling through Recoleta Cemetery with a map and a guidebook is a great way to spend an afternoon in Buenos Aires.

Overall, the one expectation you should have before you come to Buenos Aires is to have endless possibilities of places to go all day and all night. This city is full of things to see and do; you’ll never be bored if you’re studying abroad in Buenos Aires.

The world awaits…discover it.

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