Study Spanish in Latin America

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  • Now that you are living and studying Spanish, or doing volunteer work in Buenos Aires, you might be willing to go to the next level within the Buenos Aires transport system and travel by bus (or colectivo as they are called)…. If so,  here are some do’s and don’ts you have to keep in mind.

    The way to go...#2(the do's and don’ts on colectivos on Buenos Aires)

    Do’s

    • Do buy a Guia-T upon arrival in Buenos Aires. It’s a small and cheap booklet you can buy at any news stand (kiosko) that will help you figure out where you are and which bus gets you from A to B. This site is very helpful in figuring out the way to read Guia-T.
    • Once you’ve figured out which bus to take you still have to find the bus stop that is closest to you. You can ask around but not everybody can help you because there are thousands of stops. The best way to find out is to check online here. Just give your place of origin and destination and choose your route. This site is a must if you don’t have a Guia-T by the way.
    • Ask for monedas whenever you receive a 2-peso or 5-peso bill. People will reluctantly give it to you, as everybody understands the need for coins in Buenos Aires. You cannot travel by bus without coins*.
    • Do stand in line at the bus stop. Everybody does and together you create a nice orderly line amongst the chaos.
    • Wave franticly if you see your bus coming. It sounds silly but please do because otherwise the bus will pass you by. And if the bus can’t reach your stop because of taxi’s or other buses standing in the way, make a run for it, otherwise you will have to wait for the next bus.
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    One Week in Tambopata: Part II

    Walking over rickety rope bridges and swimming with caimen sound like a typical day to you? Well, for Elke and Steffen Garden (Germany) it was. Here they describe their final days living and studying Spanish in the rainforest with AMAUTA Spanish School.

  • Wednesday
  • One Week in Tambopata - Parte2In the morning, the rainforest lived up to his name. During class it was stormy and rainy. When we left around 11.30am by boat to another lodge close by, the rain had already stopped. We arrived at the other lodge and a parrot welcomed us. Afterwards, we walked half an hour through the forest and then to a higher canopy floor – we moved 24 meters over the floor by way of a slip-lane and rope bridge – Unforgettable!
    After lunch and a few hours of Spanish lessons, we went by boat to the sand bank.  Here we played volleyball and football with the locals, which was really funny! For our way back we could decide if we wanted to go by boat or if we want to swim. Once we were back at the lodge we enjoyed some time in the pool.

  • Thursday
  • One Week in Tambopata - Parte2 At 11.30am, after breakfast and Spanish lessons, we went by boat to the “Native-Peoples“. One man in an Indian dress welcomed us and offered a One-man-show, mostly in Indian language and in the Wild West style.  Afterwards he showed us how to make a fire with natural materials and he showed us different things, like a head of a boar and a bow and arrow.
    In the afternoon we walked through the rainforest and walked with the guide over overturned trees and coveys of mosquitoes.
    In the evening we went by boat to look for caimen, and with a floodlight we saw a lot – surprisingly. It was the highlight of the day! I have to admit, it was a bit scary thinking that we swam back from the sand bank to the lodge the day before…
    (más…)

    One Week in Tambopata: Part I

    Elke and Steffen Garden (Germany) spent a week studying Spanish with AMAUTA in the Peruvian rainforest. Staying near the Tambopata National Reserve, the two students had a chance to live in one of the most species-rich natural habitats in the world! Here, the two describe their first few days living and studying in the Peruvian rainforest.

    Once you have survived the ten-hour bus ride to Puerto Maldonado, you’ll have a great and unforgettable experience studying Spanish in Tambopata with AMAUTA.

  • Sunday
  • One Week in Tambopata At the port, Justo alias Tuto, our guide for the next week, was waiting for us where we went downstream to the Nài-Meci-Lodge by boat. Because of the tropical temperature, we enjoyed the boat’s breeze, which cooled us down. We arrived at the lodge, which consists of two large buildings, a swimming pool, and a lot of small cabanas. The lodge is located right next to the river and is surrounded by jungle vegetation. The first day, we swam in the swimming pool followed by a drink of coconut milk out on the patio. In the afternoon, we had Spanish classes because our teacher, Libia, made an effort to schedule all the Spanish lessons next to the activities.
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    One of the nicest things of studying Spanish in any country where it’s spoken is the cultural immersion. You do not only improve your Spanish language skills but you learn so much about local culture, habits, fiestas and history. In my case, I spent many others in the kitchen with my Peruvian host mum and she revealed my secrets of Peruvian cuisine to me!

    One of the things I loved from the first moment on, when my stomach was still adjusting to the altitude and others, was the Chicha Morada.

    Chicha morada is a non-alcoholic drink. It is incredibly refreshing and REALLY easy to make. Don’t let the thought of drinking purple corn turn you off to trying this recipe. It’s actually delicious and you’re not going to eat the corn anyway!

    Secrets of Peruvian Cuisine: Chica Morada
    (más…)

    2011 marks an extremely important occasion for Peru as it celebrates the 100th anniversary of the rediscovery of Machu Picchu. Join us at Amauta and be part of something momentous! Alongside studying Spanish you will experience the Peruvian culture in full flair.

    100 Years of Machu Picchu and an exciting time to study Spanish in Peru!

    In typical Peruvian style, festivities will be on a grand scale. There are a multitude of events planned to honor this momentous occasion, so if you are visiting Peru you will not be short of exciting activities.
    There could be no better time to come and study Spanish in Peru, and especially here in Cusco! Many ongoing events are taking place in honor of the anniversary, including music festivals, school contests and more.
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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.

    (más…)

    A Typical Argentine Fiesta

    Be sure to use your siesta time wisely when studying Spanish in Buenos Aires, because there is no partying before midnight in this town! If you are invited to a party at someone’s house, do not plan to go before 1:00am and plan to stay until around sunrise (unless the cops are called first). Generally, people will get together with close friends in their own homes before heading to a party or a bar. If you’re lucky, they’ll grill some meat for you on a parilla for dinner.

    It’s very typical to have a DJ and dance floor, but drinks are generally BYOF (bring your own Fernet). Fernet is technically an Italian liquor, but the Argentines LOVE IT. They drink it with Coke and a popular nickname for the drink is “Fernando.” The taste is similar to that of black licorice, so watch out!

    In the summer of 2009, I was studying Spanish and  lived in a great house near the Abasto shopping mall. There were 6 huge bedrooms, a huge open terrace, kitchen and a great living room. Above all though, was the asado (grill) that occupied a corner of the terrace. Within two weeks of living in Buenos Aires, my roommates and I decided to have a party and take advantage of the parilla. Off we went to buy meat, drinks and other assorted party things.
    A Typical Argentine Fiesta (más…)