Study Spanish in Latin America


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  • Before I left Amsterdam I asked the people around me to think up ways for me to connect with them while in Buenos Aires. I told them there would be days I’d be feeling somewhat blue and ‘wouldn’t it be great if I then could connect with you?’ I got 61 little assignments. Some are easy. ‘Make a self-portrait every day’ for example. But what about ‘Eat a complete Parilla. You may need some help.’ What??! I don’t even know what that means… One of my friends asked me to share with her the moment I heard a new Spanish word that ‘made my ears tingle’.

    Back  home in Amsterdam I imagined I would be hearing beautiful words everyday while strolling around the many lushes cosmopolitan avenues here, but as it seems I’m all into semantics at the moment. I hardly ever have time (or space in my head) to focus on aesthetics. Except, but of course, yesterday.

    What to Pack for the Inca Trail Trek: Our Eleven Essential Items

    We were in Spanish class and my mind wondered off when I first heard this ‘I am so pretty I should be wrapped around in cellophane with a ribbon on top’-word. Nubes. Nubes. Nubes. If you say it fast it makes me think of a string of little golden beads falling onto a wooden floor in a stately home somewhere in 1920’s Savannah. Stretched out, like my teacher Flavia says, it reminds me of thick white stripes of air dancing round oak trees in a deep and dark forest.


    So. Learning has started here at AMAUTA Spanish School in Buenos Aires. It’s back to school all over again. Students, teachers, classrooms. Some things are quite different though. It’s funny how something mandatory in high school can be so much fun later in life. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m in the beautiful city of Buenos Aires surrounded by bigger-then-big trees, and sweeter-then-sweet sweets* but new palabras and verbos (do go and search for them on Google Translate) are going round in my head like a 16-year old American girl going round her walk-in closet on a Friday night.

    In the beginning (about classmates,homework en fun teachers)

    I even like my homework because every new bit of integrated information makes it easier for me to connect with Buenos Aires and her lovely Porteños. Being able to order your own café con leche con tres medialunas without having to use your hands and feet is not only easier but much more fun.


    A Canuck in Cusco: Weeks 5 & 6

    Vayamos a Museo de Chocolate!

    Only about 7 weeks left at AMAUTA! Time sure is flying while studying Spanish in Cusco! I think I finally became acclimatized, as walking up the hill from Plaza de Armas no longer makes me feel like I’m going to die from lack of oxygen. Of course, this may be helped by the fact that I found a gym in Cusco (wahoo!) and I have been working out three times a week. I’ve been told if I can work out here, I’ll be able to run for miles and miles when I return to Canada!

    A Canuck in Cusco: Weeks 5 & 6

    This past week I visited “el Museo de Chocolate” here in Cusco with my Spanish class. The museum is only about a ten minute walk from the AMAUTA school. (By the way, did you know AMAUTA means teacher in Quechua? Cool, huh?)  The museum is completely free to visit, and it’s full of really fun and interesting facts about Peruvian chocolate. Come on, who doesn’t like chocolate?! They offer you free chocolate tea upon entry as well as the option to try a piece of chocolate (you get to choose from over 15 different typesJ).


    A Canuck in Cusco: Weeks 3 & 4

    Week 3: No money? No problem! Free drinks for all!

    Yesterday, my Spanish class went on a field trip with my Spanish class to the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco. We had the opportunity to learn how textiles are traditionally woven as well as the complexity of skill it takes to create these masterpieces. I loved that we got out of the classroom to learn about Peruvian textiles, which is a staple of Peruvian culture.

    Speaking of Peruvian culture, on our way to the textile museum, we also caught a glimpse of another interesting tidbit of Peruvian culture – the Caminos del Inca car race!
    We saw a crowd of people gathered in front of the Plaza de Armas, and after inquiring our teacher told us that they were waiting for the cars to come through the Plaza in 2 hours!

    A Canuck in Cusco: Weeks 3 & 4

    I am really enjoying my time here at AMAUTA. Not only do we visit museums during Spanish class, but I also have the opportunity to get to know the people that work at the school. For instance, I asked the chef here at the school, Oscar, if I could watch him cook (because I love cooking) and he said “Yes, of course you can help me!” Lunch is served at 1:30PM daily, so I spent an hour and a half helping Oscar in the kitchen, talking about life, work, and food- in Spanish! (What a great opportunity to utilize my conversation skills that I have been learning in class!) We made a vegetable soup, pasta and rice pudding for dessert. ¡Que bueno!

    6. Get involved in Argentinean culture

    Showing interest in Argentinean culture will win you a lot of respect; taking part in it is even better! There are a few things in Argentina which play a very important role in daily life. Fútbol is one of these. If you get the chance to visit a football match in Argentina, don’t hesitate. It will be one of your best experiences in Argentina. There are nearly ten football clubs playing in Buenos Aires, so lots of options. The biggest clash is River Plate versus Boca Juniors. It’s considered one of the biggest rivalry sport events in the world. Besides football, the tango is intertwined with living in Argentina. Lots of Spanish schools offer tango classes. Too lazy to take classes? Free tango shows are given in the weekends on the San Telmo market and in La Boca.

    7. Read the newspaper

    In order to understand more about the culture and to keep track of what is going on in the country, do read the newspaper. The Argentina Independent is a free newspaper in English and covers Argentinean as well as other Latin American and world news. The Argentina Independent puts lots of attention on Argentinean culture too. This newspaper gives you a good insight in daily life. And after a while, with your newly obtained Spanish skills, you might be able to understand and read Argentinean newspapers, like El Argentino o La Nacion.

    Tips to make the most out of stay in Buenos Aires

    Spanish Student at AMAUTA Buenos Aires

       Matthew Benwell (UK, 28 years):

    Spanish Student at AMAUTA Buenos Aires "AMAUTA Spanish school in Buenos Aires offers a great environment to learn Spanish. The teachers were extremely friendly and approachable and balanced the classes with an adequate mix of conversation and Spanish grammar. Furthermore, the Spanish lessons were varied (including literature, drama, role-play and more) and pitched at the right level and included teachers from different countries in Latin America, enabling me to understand different accents and forms of Spanish. The additional activities (which included walking tours of the city, tango classes and visits to prominent museums in the city) encouraged me to learn much more about Argentina outside of the classroom and were a great way to get to know the other students. For an allround Spansih language- and cultural-learning experience, I would definitely recommend AMAUTA."