Study Spanish in Latin America

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  • Learning Spanish Outside the Classroom

    Living in a new place is hard. But learning a new language is a whole different ball game. I know from personal experience how difficult it can be. This is the second time I have set up shop in a foreign country. Two years ago I lived in Athens, Greece. Even though I was there for four months, I left the country with barely any understanding of the language. To make matters even worse, I had been taking Greek language classes at a school. You might be thinking, how could this happen? Who lives in a place, studies the language, and still does not learn anything? Well, I can tell you how: I was too scared to ever speak in public. As you can expect, my failure to learn Greek, came as a big disappointment. So this time around, when I finalized my plans to move to Buenos Aires, I promised myself that things would be different. I would learn from my past mistakes.

    Learning Spanish Outside The Classroom

    I have been here for a little bit over a month, and I can already see the difference speaking in public has made for my comprehension of the Spanish language. Where as in Greece I never opened my mouth, here in Buenos Aires I am sure to speak Spanish at any opportunity. When I go to the Supermercado or to the “verdulería” I try to make conversation with the workers. Even if we just talk for two minutes or I simply ask “¿cómo estás?” or “¿cuánto cuesta?” I feel accomplished after speaking en espanol. Just the other day, I stopped by my favorite Fruteria to pick up some mandarinas, and ended up talking to the store owner for ten minutes. We covered all the basics–¿de donde es? cuanto tiempo querés quedarte?–and he gave me the time I needed to respond effectively in Spanish.

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    SPANISH FOR EXPATS

    students drinking mate

    If you are planning to relocate to Argentina – either temporarily or for good – , learning Spanish is a must in order to get the most out of your experience. The real world – full of Porteños 😉 –  is right outside your door and by speaking just a bit more of Spanish you will quickly find life is so much more exciting! If you are buying something in a shop, ordering in a restaurant, or if you need to get something done, or if you are moving to a new home, or when setting up a business… speaking Spanish to local trades people, builders, utility companies, bar tenders, means you will get superior, faster service and you will be in a better position to negotiate if things go wrong.

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    1. How did something frozen end up in steamy Buenos Aires?

    carneIt is a very poorly kept secret that the beef in Argentina is second to none: this is a tidbit well known to the natives though, as your average argentine will consume a world-leading 62 kilos (140 lbs!) of meat each year. The question you will be asking yourself, however, after your innards have been assaulted by their first encounter with La Pampa prime beef is: what sweet could possibly make this experience any more divine? My first week was a blur of asados (barbecues), but I do nonetheless remember my initiation; I remember endless meat, unctuous Mendoza malbecs, home style sausages– but I also remember my shock upon seeing the decadent spread’s conspicuous absence of dessert. In fact the Argentine after-meal ritual involves less the confectioner’s oven and more the telephone: the main purpose of which is to call for a delivery of ice cream. If the word “ice cream” brings to mind visions of Baskin Robbins or Friendly’s you will not understand why those recently satiated with such sublime beef decide to take recourse in dessert from a third party, but once you have had the smallest lick, it will all become clear: Buenos Aires boasts, in this writer’s humble opinion, the world’s best ice cream.

    In my previous travels I would have given that epicurean laurel to Italy, more particularly to the gelati of Italy’s breadbasket, Milan. The strength that the Italians have always had is a thriving tradition of ice cream makers with recipes that descend back generations. Yet the tide of immigration that flooded the shores of America both North and South in the beginning of the 20th Century brought not only Italian workers, but recipe-toting ice cream makers as well. And when they arrived in the Río de la Plata they found something fortuitous for those of us addicted to frozen sweets: the cows of the extensive Argentine Pampa produce a milk particularly suited to Italian gelato. The result: top end ice cream with the bright flavours of Italian gelato and the richness of american ice cream.

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  • Comentarios desactivados en Argentina: Come for the Beef, Stay for the Helado
  • Filed under: Argentine Culture, Curiosities on Latin American