Buenos Aires the language, Spanish school, what they don't tell you!

Buenos Aires the language, Spanish school, what they don’t tell you!

I am not going to bore you with the tons of information that defines Argentinean Spanish’s peculiarities, but, I am told (reliably I hope) that I am currently learning a variant of the Spanish language called Castillean, named after the Castillean region of Spain.

Almost all the words and vocabulary are the same as European Spanish, but Argentineans pronounce some syllables differently and have a many culture specific expressions. The language has also been affected by other European cultures and undergone some changes (just to confuse me) that I simply cannot remember from the many hazy 08h00 Spanish lessons that go into one ear and seem to fall out the other with little retention.

There is lots of information on Argentinean Spanish on the net and lots of excellent Spanish schools in Buenos Aires that offer small classes and intensive courses with lots of Spanish immersion.  However, some are overpriced for tourists and foreign students and give poor service • so research is the name of the game. I am reliably informed by a colleague studying here that if you have time on your side, you are better to get to Buenos Aires and find a Spanish school once you are here. My staff will help you if you are one of our clients. The packages online are not always good value for money; for instance, a budget apartment through Buenos Aires Stay and your enrolling, once you are here, at the University of Buenos Aires for Languages will cost you from US$1000.00 for two months.

Private lessons are $30 Pesos an hour and easily found via the Buenos Aires Herald.  Ask to meet the teacher for an interview. It is very important that you click and can find some common interests or the lessons are painful.  I played Spanish bingo this morning • believe me, trying to explain ‘two fat ladies’ and ‘legs eleven’ took some doing!  My teacher spent the rest of the morning trying to convince me that Maradona was not the mother of Christ and in fact played football for Argentina. It was not until she demonstrated the ‘hand of god’ that she realised I had understood perfectly.  Make it fun.

Spanish lessons: I have found an hour is not enough, always look for an hour and a half to two hours and if you are booking for a month and can pay in advance, go for a 20% discount - a word of caution though, once teachers have your money, some fail to appear on time or at all • half now, half later is a better deal! I tried intensive lessons and found that after two hours your sponge like brain becomes impenetrable. I find one-to-one Spanish lessons work well for me, but it all comes down to preference and budget.  I cannot wait to read the short stories of Argentinean master storyteller Jorge Lewis Borges in Jorge Lewis Borges’ native tongue.

I promise to research Spanish schools in Buenos Aires and write again on this very important subject giving greater insights on the better schools and their fees, so watch this space. If you study in Buenos Aires please email me a review of your school and a note of what you paid.  My advisors will use your experience to advise other students and we will publish your review.  Help us to help other students.

Andrew Rae McCance



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