Posts Tagged ‘south america’

How To Plan A Spanish Language Trip

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 13:53

Categories - Argentina Travel Info, Argentine Customs and Culture, Spanish, Student Stories - 0 Comments

You want to take your Spanish to the next level and want to take a Spanish language trip? Congratulations! You made the right decision! An immersive language course in a country where Spanish is spoken is the best way to get fast results. Not only will you learn the language, but you will also soak up the culture and meet locals, and most importantly: you will be able to put your newly learned language skills into practice right away.

To ensure your Spanish course will be as successful as possible, it is important to put some thought into planning your trip. We have put together the four most important things to take into consideration when planning a Spanish language trip to help you plan your trip:

Plan a trip 1024x683 How To Plan A Spanish Language Trip

Set Language Learning Goals

Before you book a Spanish language course, think about what you would like to achieve by taking the course. Are you a complete beginner? How fluent would you like to become with this course? How many hours per day would you like to take classes? Are you looking to improve your language skills in a certain field, for example conversational Spanish? Or are you looking to add Business Spanish skills to your resume? Are you okay with a group class, or do you prefer one-on-one classes? A combination of both one-on-one tuition and group classes is usually the most effective way to pick up a new language quickly.

Choose the Right Language School

Choosing the right school is another important factor. This is where you’ll be spending most of your time, so take a good look at what the school offers. Are there extracurricular activities for the students? What is the nationality mix of the students like? Are the reviews from former students favorable and is the school accredited, ie. does it meet the required quality standards and are the teachers qualified? How big are the classes, where is the school located, and what kind of accommodation is offered? Homestays are usually the most effective way to practice your newly learned skills, but if you prefer privacy, you might want to opt for a private apartment. Is it possible to contact the school before booking a course to ask questions, and how fast are they responding to your queries?

Take Advantage of Your Location

No matter where you are taking your Spanish course, don’t forget, despite all the studying, to take advantage of the destination you choose! Buenos Aires for example is a cultural hub like no other, with plenty of things to see, museums to visit and neighborhoods to wander. If you are a lover of music and dance, you may want to add tango classes to your language course. If you are a football fan, you don’t want to miss the chance to watch a Boca Juniors game. If you are interested in exploring Argentina beyond Buenos Aires, extend your trip and add a week in Patagonia or Mendoza Wine Country to your itinerary. Think about how you would like to spend your days – and your free time in particular – during your language course. How much time do you want to spend practicing and studying, sightseeing, and mingling with other students?

Do Research Before Your Trip

To get the most out of your Spanish language trip, research not only language schools in depth, but also your destination in general. Make sure you know what the weather will be like – remember, summer in the northern hemisphere means chilly winter weather in many parts of South America – which events are happening while you are visiting, and how you can prepare for your course to ease into it easily. Are there any Spanish learning materials you can use to already get a little taste of the language? Or to refresh your rusty Spanish? YouTube has some great language learning videos you can use to get an idea of how the Argentine Spanish differs from the Spanish spoken in other parts of Latin America and in Spain – especially listening to the different accents is a helpful preliminary exercise. If you are a complete beginner, this is a good way to get a basic understanding of what you’ll be doing during your language course and what you are getting yourself into.

Take all these things into account when planning your trip, and you will have the best immersive Spanish course possible!

Do you have any other questions in preparation of your trip? Ask us!

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Spanish Speaking Countries

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 10:11

Categories - Argentina Travel Info - 0 Comments

Did you know that out of the 22 spanish-speaking countries in the world, 9 of them are in South America? Thats almost half! These countries include, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Firstly, Argentina is the largest Spanish speaking country in South America and also home to some of the most famous natural wonders in the world such as Las Salinas Grandes, the beautiful mountains of Patagonia and Iguazu Falls. On the hand Argentina is also home to the famous city of Buenos Aires, which is full of history, culture and many action! When you go to Argentina you can’t help but incorporate their castellano accent into your Spanish, which is just one more thing that makes the Poteño culture so great.

Puerto Madero 1024x682 Spanish Speaking Countries

Bolivia, located just above Argentina, is home to the Andes Mountains, the Eastern Lowlands and the Amazon Basin. Having more of an indigenous culture in comparison to Argentina, Bolivia’s main language is Spanish but is closely trailed by 38 other official indigenous languages. If you are in search for ancient ruins and cultures, Bolivia is the place for you! One of its main touristic attractions is the Salt Flats, where you can get amazing pictures like this one:

tourists salar de uyuni bolivia 62758 990x742 Spanish Speaking Countries

The next country that borders Argentina is Chile. Chile shares the Patagonian mountain range with Argentina but also has many attractions to call its own. The capital city of Santiago, the Atacama Desert, and even the port town of Valparaiso are all great stops when exploring Chile.

chile bay beaches blue buildings 2830844 2800x1600 1024x585 Spanish Speaking Countries

Colombia is home to a different type of landscape than the southern countries of South America. Being situated on the coast and also having mountain ranges, Columbia has many beautiful beaches and rainforests to explore. Also being the country known for coffee plantations, it is always a good idea to taste as many cups of coffee as you can.

bogota 1024x680 Spanish Speaking Countries

Ecuador is known as an indigenous influenced country due to the massive amount of Incan ruins that lay in its territory as well as the amount of official indigenous languages that follow the main language of Spanish. Some of the most sites in Ecuador include; the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cuenca, the capital city of Quito and, of course, the beautiful Galapagos Islands. Whether you are checking out ancient Incan ruins or exploring the vastly different types of wildlife, Ecuador is great destination.

Ecuador scenery Spanish Speaking Countries

Also bordering Argentina and being situated landlocked in the middle of South America, Paraguay is known as the heart of America. Although it is a landlocked country, the Paraguay river runs directly through the country and provides beautiful views to all who come to see. The interesting part about Paraguay is its strong connections to its indigenous language and culture of Guarani. Although Guarani is named an official language of Paraguay, Spanish is also widely spoken, so dont worry,  you wont have to learn a new language to communicate.

CAPITAL DE PARAGUAY 1024x708 Spanish Speaking Countries

As everyone knows, Peru has a strong indigenous influence on its culture. Home to the capital city of Lima, the city of Cusco and of course the famous Incan ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru has numerous amounts of history and culture to show. If you like climbing mountains, mountain biking or even rafting and want to explore the indigenous culture, then Peru is a destination for you.

machu picchu wider view 1024x682 Spanish Speaking Countries

Uruguay is the spanish speaking  country in South America that has the most influence from Portugal and also the second smallest country in South America. The most famous cities in Uruguay include, Montevideo, Colonia and Punta Del Este where you can enjoy Uruguayan Spanish influenced culture or relax on the beautiful beaches.

punta del este Peninsula Spanish Speaking Countries

Venezuela is the country in South America that is known for its impressive range of biodiversity. Having the Andes Mountains, the Great Amazon Basin and being situated on the Caribbean coast, there are all types of landscapes that you could see. Caracas is the capital city where a good portion of the Venezuelan people live, but out of this city is where all of the beauty of Venezuela lies.

venezuela beach Spanish Speaking Countries

As you can see, although these countries all share the same main language, there are all completely different in appearance, location and culture. It´s always better to learn a little Spanish before you start your travel through South America and Argentina is an excellent start point! Get in touch with our Spanish School in Buenos Aires leaving a comment below. Good luck!

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The Do’s & Dont’s of Mate

Friday, January 2, 2015 11:33

Categories - Argentine Customs and Culture - 0 Comments

Pass the Mate

Mate. In Argentina, you are bound to hear the word mate in a conversation. Exploring South America, you are very likely to see people walking with a strange cup in one hand and a thermos in the other. Maybe you have tried it or you are curious to know what it is like. Most foreigners are apprehensive to try it because it’s so different and almost sacred to Argentineans. And then we learn that everyone shares the same cup. It’s a lot of culture in one little drink.

My first try was in the comfort of my own home but many people try mate in front of a group of Argentineans because it is, after all, a social drink. It can be embarrassing if you don’t know what to do because there seems to be so many rules! I’ve officially completed my right of passage with mate in Argentina–the day a person drinks mate alone for the very first time. It’s one of the proudest moments in a parent’s life, so I’m told. But preparing mate for a group of people is complicated to learn–what is the technique, the temperature, the etiquette?

Yerba mate, the tea-looking part, comes from the holly plant. As a traditional South American drink, it’s grown and sold in abundance. The leaves from the holly plant are dried and crushed to become yerba. The cup you put the yerba in is actually called the mate…a little tricky there. A mate cup is traditionally made of a type of gourd. The straw you drink from is called a bombilla. The bombilla acts as a filter sucking up the water and leaving behind the yerba. Never move or remove the straw when you are drinking…it’s considered rude and will mess up the yerba flow.

The person who prepares and serves the mate is called the cebador. The cebador will put hot but not boiling water (this is key, don’t let an Argentinean hear the kettle screaming) into the yerba-filled mate cup. I learned to pour the water slowly during the first pour as to let the water seep through the yerba correctly. The cebador will then take the first drink because it is usually cold or too bitter. Once it’s just right, you can pass it around.

Each person will drink all the water from the mate until you hear a sucking noise. This means all the water is gone. Many first-timers (myself included) just take a sip. Think about it–it makes sense to finish all the water. The cebador will refill the mate for each person. If you don’t want more, you say gracias and everyone will understand that you do not want any more. Don’t say gracias just to be polite and say thank you because it will be misinterpreted as I’m finished. So watch out for that additional tricky mate rule.

Mate can be amargo (bitter), dulce (sweet), tereré (with juice instead of water) or another variation. I like to add a little bit of azucar rubia to the water or perhaps some instant coffee if I want more energy for Spanish class. But I also like it bitter without anything added which surprises a lot of porteños. Mate is similar to coffee in the way that it is an acquired taste and the more you drink the more you become accustomed and truly enjoy it. Not only that, but it’s very social. Mate is offered almost instantly upon arriving at an Argentinean home.

And don’t be afraid to drink up! Mate is good for you. It has a fair amount of caffeine to wake you up but contains less than a cup of coffee. It also has antioxidants and a few vitamins and minerals such as iron and Vitamin B. Mate is most often served with galletitas (traditional Argentinean cookies) or facturas such as medialunas around 5, 6 or 7pm in between lunch and dinner. This is great if you are eating dinner according to Argentina time–around 9 or 10 pm!

Be sure to join one of Expanish’s mate tasting classes to learn more and try it for yourself!

TanjaMiletic 12 300x200 The Dos & Donts of Mate

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Colorful_Vibrant_Spectacular; Why Study Spanish in South America?

Friday, August 14, 2009 8:04

Categories - Spanish - 0 Comments

south america Colorful Vibrant Spectacular; Why Study Spanish in South America?

Spanish is spoken by more than 400 million people worldwide and is the official language in more than 21 countries; South America is home to 9 of these Spanish speaking countries, the largest conglomerate.

Why Study Spanish in South America?

1.    One of the most colourful, vibrant, and spectacular places to visit on earth, South America has it all including some of the world’s best capital cities such as, Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, Santiago, and Bogota, and most outrageous sights such as Macchu Picchu, Iguazú Falls, Angel Falls, Antarctic, Andes Mountains, Amazon Rainforest, and more.
2.    Spanish is spoken continent wide (excluding Brazil), and the idea to study Spanish in South America is becoming increasingly popular with foreign students, making schools like Expanish able to offer high quality programs, various accommodation, activities and workshops, and many more excellent services to its students.
3.    South America is a travelers’ destination meaning that over the past decades that growing tourism numbers have created a tourism economy here signifying more hotels, hostels, and campgrounds, improved and more efficient transportation, hundreds of tour or adventure packages, skilled and bilingual travel guides, etc, creating a better and much safer travel experience for all travelers.
4.    Cities such as Buenos Aires are becoming accustomed to having foreigners in their streets, and more business’s are catering to them, giving foreign students a myriad of activities and things-to-do in the city, the opportunity to combine their Spanish studies with other programs such as volunteer or TEFL programs, and the chance to meet locals who are genuinely interested in studying with or living with foreign visitors.

Before you come to South America, it is best to research beforehand, learn about the fascinating cultures here, the beautiful outdoor adventures, the people, cuisine, economy, etc, arriving as a professional ready to begin their adventure.

Do you want to study Spanish in South America?

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Studying Spanish in Buenos Aires this winter? Wondering what to wear?

Monday, June 15, 2009 10:15

Categories - Argentina Travel Info - 0 Comments

413605 old mittens Studying Spanish in Buenos Aires this winter? Wondering what to wear?

Often, travelers from abroad picture all of South America to have a tropical or sub-tropical climate and that the area skips that cold-chilly winter that the rest of the world often experiences. Buenos Aires, like other cities in Europe and North America, does experience a slightly chilly winter including low temperatures, cool winds, rain and sometimes hail.  If you are coming to studying Spanish in Buenos Aires this winter, here are a few ways to keep warm.

Bring clothing that you can layer. In the beginning weeks of winter, May-June, the days are a mix of sun and cloud, cool and warm air.  There will be some days where the temperature will still reach around 15C, and when the sun is out, these days are so refreshing to take a warm stroll around town. Other days, without sun, the air can cool and temperatures will only reach around 10C, definitely sweater and light jacket weather.

During July and August it is winter in Buenos Aires and winter wear is required, mostly for temperatures from 1C-7C.  It is best to bring jackets, scarves, mittens, boots, etc, and anything else you use to keep warm.   Being in Buenos Aires at this time does have its blessings as often throughout the winter there will be one or two spring-like days before winter comes around again.  Remember, you are not in Canada down here, not even close, but the weather does certainly cool and it is best to be well prepared!

Also, keep in mind that Buenos Aires is fabulous (and pretty cheap) to shop around in, so if you cannot put together that winter wardrobe at home, have no fear, you will have no problem finding something down here!

Looking for what to wear when teaching English in Buenos Aires, click here!

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