Posts Tagged ‘spanish’

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Studying Spanish in Buenos Aires

Friday, September 8, 2017 8:07

Categories - Argentina Travel Info, Health & Safety, Shopping, Spanish Classes, Student Stories - 0 Comments

Coming to Buenos Aires to study Spanish is a big decision, but one that is rewarding and can have lasting impressions on your life. As with any new adventure, it requires some planning and preparation before taking the leap. There will inevitably be things you wish you had known before arriving, but hopefully these tips will help you prepare to get the most out of your experience.

pexels photo 509799 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Studying Spanish in Buenos Aires

1. Dedicate Yourself to Immersion

Spanish classes in Buenos Aires are an excellent foundation to language learning, but to really master the language you must dedicate yourself to a true immersive experience. Choose to live with native Spanish speakers, watch programs in Spanish, listen to Spanish music and podcasts, or read your favorite book in Spanish in your free time. When I moved to Buenos Aires, I learned that the more I forced myself to engage in the language, the stronger my Spanish became. It will take effort to push past your comfort zone, but in the end it pays off.  Dedicating yourself to learning Spanish wherever you go, not just in the classroom, allows you to excel in the language while engaging with the culture. Who knows where it can take you, you could even become a reggaeton music addict like me!

2. Get to Know the Vos Form

Studying Spanish in other parts of Latin America, you will most likely study the “tu” form for informally referring to “you.” In the region of Buenos Aires however, it is more common to use “vos” instead of “tu,” when speaking informally. So instead of saying “Tu eres un estudiante” to say “You are a student,” in Buenos Aires you would say “Vos sos un estudiante.”

To my fellow Spanish language learners, don’t worry! The vos form is easy to learn, and arguably even easier to master than the “tu” form. I used to be stubborn in my “tu” form ways, but the undeniable simplicity of “vos” has won me over. There are no irregular verbs and conjugations are much simpler than the “tu” form, you will be an expert of “vos” in no time!

3. Lunfardo is a Way of Life

As with any language, slang is common practice and can make a conversation feel less formal. It’s useful for any language learner to pick up some slang and incorporate it into their conversations. In Buenos Aires however slang, or “lunfardo,” is almost a language of its own. I had no idea that studying Spanish in Buenos Aires meant I’d also be studying its very prominent lunfardo as well! Lunfardo cannot easily be learned in a textbook, the fun of it is learning directly from porteños and practicing it in your everyday conversations.

With words like “fiaca” to describe a state of laziness, “quilombo” to describe a complete disaster, or the ever famous “che” to call a friend, lunfardo is a defining feature of Argentine Spanish. While learning lunfardo is extremely fun and useful to understanding porteños, exercise caution when using new phrases in a formal environment, Argentine lunfardo is quite infamous for its irreverent words!

4. Learn Some Phrases Before Arriving

Even if you’re a beginner in Spanish, it’s beneficial to familiarize yourself with a few key phrases to help you navigate the city. When I first arrived, I struggled through simple tasks like ordering food and asking for directions. Add practicing some common Spanish phrases to your pre-arrival checklist so when you touch down in Buenos Aires you can feel a bit more confident in getting around.

5. Bring What You Need

While Argentina is renowned for many of its goods like leather, fine wine, or beef, it lacks many of the common goods you may have at home. For example, Apple Stores don’t exist in Argentina. Break your iPhone and need to get a replacement? You’re better off asking a friend flying into the country to bring a spare. Learn from my mistakes, bring a cheap or an old phone model you no longer use as a backup in case you lose or damage your phone. Just make sure your phone is able to use a local SIM card!

Clothes shopping is also a big no. The price of clothing and many goods in Argentina is far more than what you can buy at home due in part to importation taxes and inflation. Pack the clothes you plan to wear and save your shopping money for indulging in what Argentina does best: great steak, fine wine, and the best leather goods all at incredibly affordable prices.

Most importantly, what I wish I had known before moving to Buenos Aires is to not be afraid to take the leap of faith and do so. Buenos Aires is the perfect place to learn a new language. With a vibrant global community, the city offers incredible opportunities to meet people from all over the world, have unforgettable experiences, and learn a new language while learning more about yourself. Had I known what a life changing opportunity this was, I would have come to Buenos Aires much sooner!

 

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10 words to survive in Buenos Aires

Monday, January 25, 2016 11:44

Categories - Spanish - 0 Comments

Buenos Aires is a great place to come and learn Spanish, the weather is nice, the city is beautiful and there are so many things for you to do outside of the classroom to put what you have learnt into practice. So if you are going to take to streets and practice talking with the Porteños, you should know that here the locals speak Castellano which is a style of Spanish unique to Argentina. Here is a rundown of 10 useful words (or phrases) that you might hear from the locals which will help you get by on the streets of Buenos Aires:

Hola
Ok, let´s start simple. Hola means hello and so you will hear and use this word all the time. For example “Hola, ¿como estás?” means “Hello, how are you?” and you can respond by saying “Muy bien gracias, ¿y vos?”.
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Vos
This brings us to the second word which you are going to hear a lot. If you have studied Spanish before in any other countries in Latin America or in Spain, you may have learnt to use ‘tu’ for the second person. Here is a whole different story and Argentinos use ‘vos’ for ‘you’. Argentinos will understand you if you use ‘tu’ but here everybody says vos (as in the example above. This also means that there is a completely different set of rules for conjugating verbs but verbs are fun right!? For example, instead of ‘tu puedes’, you will say ‘vos podés’ and so on…
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¡Che!
Che is simply the Porteños‘ equivalent of ‘hey’ or you could use it to talk to a friend in the same way you would say ‘man’, ‘pal’ or mate in English. Almost everybody says it but it is quite informal so best not to use it with someone that you might otherwise address as ‘usted’.
Mate 10 words to survive in Buenos Aires
 
Buena onda
Buena onda literally means good wave and so this can be roughly translated to be used in the same was as good vibes. You can use this to describe someone or something for example if you really like someone and get along well with them you could say “…es muy buena onda”. Equally, you can describe something like a party for example as being ‘buena onda’.
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Boludo or Boluda
Boludo is like a friendly term to call someone you know a fool or an idiot. This one can be used as an insult or a term of endearment and Porteños use it between friends all the time. You might even hear “Che, boludo” as a friendly hello amongst friends. Again, whilst this is not seen as offensive and it used by everybody, it is best to keep its use between friends or people you know quite well.
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Chabon
Chabon is the Argentinian equivalent of dude. So you can use it to address someone in a friendly way or you can use it to describe someone.
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Quilombo
The word quilombo originally meant brothel in Argentina but these days it is only used to describe chaos, a mess, a disaster. You may hear “Que quilombo” when there is something going on in the street with a lot of people and traffic. Equally you can use it for a messy situation where you are confused and don’t know what to do.
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Copado
Copado is used to describe something or someone ‘cool’. This is an older word which is apparently ‘cool’ again.
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Asado
This one is essential. A traditional Argentinian asado is not to be missed when visiting Buenos Aires. Put simply, an asado is a social event where everybody gets together and barbecues meat! It is a celebration of meat! And we already know that Argentina has some of the best beef in the world. So, because asados are regular social events, there is bound to be an expert in every family who knows how to cook the meat to perfection. Put this all together and you could be eating the best meat in the world cooked in the best possible way. If you have not been lucky enough to receive an invitiation to an asado you can also try out the asados in the various parillas all over the city. 
Steak 10 words to survive in Buenos Aires
 
¡Salud!
Wherever you go in the world, it is always useful to learn what the locals say when putting their glasses in the air and making a toast. Here we say ¡Salud! . So now you know what to say when toasting with a lovely glass of Malbec or Fernet and cola.
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Choosing a language school in Buenos Aires: Private vs Group Classes

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 10:27

Categories - Spanish - 0 Comments

Having the flexibility of choosing either private or group classes enables you to choose the best option that caters for your learnings needs, taking into consideration your time in Buenos Aires and what works best for you. Many students who attend our school for a short time (1-2 weeks), combine groups classes and private classes in order to get the most out of their Expanish experience. Both types of classes are highly beneficially for your Spanish language. You will be exposed to a lot of new context and in no time will be speaking Spanish!

Private classes:

Our private courses consist of 2-hour One-to-One class with one of our teachers. Students are able to customize their learning program and schedule according to their learning requirements and their personal schedule, tailored to meet the student’s goals. Private classes enable students to progress rapidly and develop their Spanish language skills with confidence in just a short period of time.

A big advantage of private classes is you can focus on an area you are not familiar with, for example if you need further assistance with subjuntivo, the teacher will assist you with all your concerns and clarify what you do not understand, hence the classes paying personalized attention to the student. Private classes focus on writing, speaking, reading, listening and strengthening the students weaknesses. Private classes are available to all Spanish levels from beginners to advanced from Monday through to Friday with a minimum of 2 hours and a maximum of 30 hours per week.

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Group Classes

Group classes are a combination of developing your Spanish skills in a small interactive environment. This is by far our most popular class in developing your language skills and making friends at the same time! The classes consist of 20 or 30 hours per week. The hours enable our students to sufficiently learn Spanish in the morning, complete activities and also squeeze in some sightseeing in the afternoon – and of course you still have time for completing homework.

The classes have an average of 6 students and a maximum of 12, allowing students to completely immerse themselves into an engaging and interactive learning environment. These classes allow personalized attention from the professor in a comfortable and relaxed environment. The class is a combination of reading, writing, listening and speaking enabling you to learn the language both quickly and effectively!

expanish 26 de 237 1024x564 Choosing a language school in Buenos Aires: Private vs Group Classes

That being said, whether you choose private or group classes the classes will be highly beneficial in development your Spanish language with the combination of the best teachers in Buenos Aires just for you. So choose wisely what course best suits your learning needs, goals and your time schedule in Argentina!

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My experience with DELE

Monday, September 14, 2015 11:38

Categories - Spanish, Student Stories - 0 Comments

Before starting my Expanish experience, originally I had no plans on extending my stay in Buenos Aires. It’s funny how things can pan out in life, from originally being a 3 month holiday, 10 months later I am still here in Buenos Aires. I have been studying at Expanish all up 6 months and have had the amazing opportunity of also working here. Expanish has been much more than just a learning experience, I have made lifelong friends, learnt from others, developed a new perspective on life and created close bonds with my teachers inside and outside of Expanish.

The first month at Expanish I wanted to learn basic spanish for travelling purposes and really wanted to get a grasp on this amazing language. I would then carry on with my South American journey and then in three months return home to Australia. How boring right… Thanks to my spontaneous self it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I recall one of my first weeks in Expanish, I had made up my mind that I was going to stay here in Buenos Aires for a year, there was nothing that was going to stop me. The thought of living abroad for a year is both exciting and overwhelming, without a rough plan or possible opportunities you may encounter/ be interested in, you may find yourself in a pickle. So as you can imagine, I started to come up with a plan. Well let’s say the least, a very vague plan which mind you is the best plan, as I am not constrained by anything, freedom has never felt so good!  But one thing I was sure of was that I was going to complete my Diploma in Spanish (DELE). Why not when I’ve been studying hard for 6 months? It deserves some recognition and it’s just another thing to put on your resume to wow your future employers. In Australia speaking spanish isn’t one of our most popular languages spoken other than english. So I thought that by taking advantage of this and being recognized for speaking the language, it is a great way to brand yourself and most importantly distinguish yourself from others-making you unique and stand out of course!

The next step was to roughly arrange my time. Personally having just finished my two degree course over a four year period I couldn’t embark on another long study journey, so the only answer I could come up with (to avoid studying for 6 months straight) was travelling. Not a bad excuse hey! I decided to break up my studying by travelling to Colombia and Panama. Then on return from my holiday, embark on the last study period at Expanish. Now the hard work started..practising for the DELE exam isn’t exactly easy, it involves hard work, a lot of dedication and a positive attitude. At the end of the day study is study, if you want results you always have to put the hard yards in. What made this experience most enjoyable was my classmates and teacher. The last study for me in Expanish was a 3 month period where I participated in group classes with Eduardo (my teacher) and then in the last 3 weeks before finishing I took on private classes in preparation for my exam. The added bonus of my DELE classes is that Eduardo was my teacher, one of the most passionate and admirable teachers I have ever been taught by and have been fortunate in meeting. And mind you I have been taught by A LOT of teachers, like most of us I would say.

The DELE classes took place every day (Mon-Fri) for 2 hours each day. We covered the four sections of the exam, listening component, writing, conversation and reading. All the materials supplied are from level B2 of DELE exams that were from previous years. There are 6 levels of the DELE exam, A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 (C1, C2-these levels more so for native speakers). I chose to do/in the progress of studying for level B2, as I am currently in C1 level and believe that this is a level I will successfully be able to pass/ receive good marks-given that I also have sufficient time to study for this exam. Doing the DELE exam is also great if you are interested in working in South America as many international organisations require you to have completed a certain level of the DELE exam. Also most of the universities in Argentina require you to have sufficient knowledge of at least a B1/B2 level of spanish. This is definately a great motive in completing your diploma, more work and study opportunities! I know that this diploma will come in handy for me on the next return to Argentina or other Spanish speaking countries.

What surprised me with the exam preparations was that just after the first week of private classes my spanish had immensely improved, my vocabulary had improved, I was using big fancy words when speaking, spoke with very few errors and for longer periods of time. My teacher was impressed of how just one week I had rapidly improved and I too personally recognized the jump in my spanish level. This is a great feeling, my hard work and studying was paying off, but I still have along way to go..

All up, I have not yet completed my exam, little time remains up until the BIG day! I think that by telling you my experience of how it really is or how it has been is a great way in assisting you with any doubts or concerns you may have of DELE and a great insight. As you can tell and get my gist I highly recommend anyone in completing the DELE exam and giving it your best possible shot. It is truly an enjoyable experience where you get to discover and unravel the spanish language, dedicate your time effectively and efficiently to end results that will pay off, have yourself a diploma, oh and did I forget to mention studying in BUENOS AIRES!

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Volunteering in Buenos Aires

Thursday, June 18, 2015 12:27

Categories - Volunteer in Buenos Aires - 0 Comments

volunteer 300x200 Volunteering in Buenos Aires

Despite being a more developed country, Argentina has faced a lot of hardships since the crisis of 2001. With this recent rise in poverty, organizations and NGOs have been trying to improve the quality of life for the people in Buenos Aires. Expanish has partnered with many of these NGOs and volunteer organizations and there is always a need for more volunteers to assist them!

How to participate in the Expanish Volunteer program:

Well, first, all volunteers are required to take at least 2 weeks of intensive Spanish classes; this is to help volunteers adjust to the vocabulary and accent that is unique to Buenos Aires. Volunteers are always welcome to take more than 2 weeks of classes before starting, or they can also continue take classes during their time volunteering.

Commitment:

On average, you will be working about 15 hours per week, for at least 2 weeks, alongside other Argentines and foreigners. If you do decide to volunteer, it is a commitment, so you will need to be punctual and enthusiastic! This program starts every Monday and the commute is on average one hour. Before you get started, there will be an orientation and you will be taken to your volunteer site and introduced to the coordinator. While you will be able to make a work schedule with your coordinator, the schedule is generally in the morning or the afternoon.

Volunteer Placement:

Overall, there are 8 different volunteer placement areas that you can choose from based on your interests. Before you get started, you will take a survey that will help place you into one of these areas. In this survey you will be able to tell us which site most interests you, and based on your Spanish level, your personal and professional background, your goals, and the length of your time with us, we will place you into the program best suited for you!

If you’re interested in taking Spanish in Buenos Aires while also giving back to the community, this is a great opportunity! The volunteer program also allows you to practice your Spanish outside the classroom! To learn more about the program, to sign up, or to see prices go click here. The different volunteer areas are listed below:

Working with Underprivileged Youth (beginner level)

Possible tasks: games and sports, prepping meals and snacks, helping with after-school activities

Social Services (beginner level)

Possible tasks: prepping meals and helping in community kitchens, help with a specific community group (single mothers, unemployed, etc.), administrative tasks

Tutoring and Academic Support (high-intermediate level)

Possible tasks: help with homework, tutoring, organize educational workshop

Teaching English (beginner level)

Possible tasks: lesson planning and preparing, lead English conversation classes, assist local teachers

Volunteer with Senior Citizens (high-beginner level)

Possible tasks: reading aloud to senior citizens, participating in games and activities, prepping meals and tasks

Fundraising (beginner level)

Possible tasks: Assistant in event coordination, help with community outreach, organize and classify donations

Environmental Volunteering (high-beginner level)

Possible tasks: work in community garden, help give environmental workshops, animal and plant conservation

Helping People with Disabilities (high-beginner)

Possible tasks: educational workshops, games and recreational activities, assist in reintegration

 

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The DELE Exam

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 8:24

Categories - Spanish - 1 Comment

The DELE Exam

Many people who have taken or are taking Spanish have heard of the DELE exam, but they don’t know what it is, whether they should take it, and why it matters.

Well, first off, what is the DELE?

The DELE is the official, internationally recognized degree of fluency in Spanish. This test is made and issued by the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sport of Spain. There are three levels of this test depending on your Spanish ability; the basic level (usage of common daily phrases and basic descriptions), the intermediate level (rudimentary level of communication in everyday situations), and the superior level (advanced knowledge and communication in hard topics with a basic understanding of culture). This test is administered at various dates throughout the year and can be administered anywhere that is accredited by the Cervantes Institute.

Why take the DELE?

Great, another standardized test, right? Well, there are actually many reasons to take the DELE exam. As mentioned above, it is an internationally recognized degree. This means that across the world, companies and people will recognize that you have some level of fluency in Spanish, which can be important in future jobs. By passing this test, you have an internationally recognized certificate for your resume that can help you enter into the Spanish speaking job market or even get into universities that require a high level of the Spanish language. Finally, this test is just a one time thing. Since it never needs to be renewed, you only have to worry about it once. That means after the stress of taking it is over, you have an internationally recognized degree of fluency for life!

How does Expanish help prepare for the DELE?

As you may or may not know, Expanish has a DELE preparation course. This course focuses on helping students pass the DELE, with courses specifically designed for each level. If students plan on taking the Beginner Level DELE exam, then they will need about 8 weeks of classes before starting the A1 level course. These classes aim to help develop the four basic skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking, which are all present on the DELE exam. Expanish uses a wide variety of materials since this test aims at testing students in all forms of Spanish, from Spain to any other Spanish speaking country. This course specifically coaches students for the exam, focusing on each area of evaluation. At the end of this course, students will be given a practice exam. With the practice exam, they will be able to test their knowledge and get a feel for the real exam.

How long is this course?

Again, if you’re taking the Beginner level, it is recommended that you take 3 weeks of Spanish classes beforehand. Once the DELE preparation is started, it is 10 hours per week of individual classes. While you can take it for only one week, it is recommended to take 3 weeks worth of classes. Remember to look up when the exam for your level is being administered and plan your courses accordingly!

If you’re taking Spanish, or thinking of working or studying in the Spanish speaking world, then the DELE exam is extremely important. Because this is an internationally recognized certificate, it is a very important degree to add to your resume. Not to mention, it is valid for life! So if you’re thinking about taking this exam, make sure you get the preparation necessary to the best you possibly can!

 

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Best Apps to Learn Spanish

Tuesday, June 2, 2015 10:26

Categories - Spanish - 0 Comments

DuoLingo

duolingo 300x225 Best Apps to Learn Spanish

Duolingo is probably the most popular app for learning foreign languages. This app works by going through levels and categories by theme. While completing these units, you will have to do voice recordings, Spanish to English translations, English to Spanish translations, multiple choice questions, match words to certain photos, and rearrange words to form a correct sentence. This app is designed for you to do about 20 minutes a day with the goal of finishing all of the lessons in about 3-4 months. There are also a lot of cool features in this app, like setting reminders to get your 20 minutes in, or just going over words that cause you more trouble. All in all, Duolingo is a good starting point and a fun way to practice Spanish!

FluentU

fluentu 300x189 Best Apps to Learn Spanish

Rather than teaching through lessons, FluentU provides media to help learn Spanish. With modern music videos, movie trailers, news, and talks, one can learn Spanish through pop culture. It works by providing interactive captions to each video, which means you can click on any word in the captions and find pictures, definitions, and even example sentences. Not only does it just use these captioned videos, it also turns these videos into language learning lessons and games. What you have watched can then become questions to help you learn grammar and conversational phrases. Keeping track of the words you’ve learned, FluentU suggests videos based on your progress. This is a great and fun way to learn conversational Spanish at any level!

Memrise

memrize 300x204 Best Apps to Learn Spanish

Rather than teaching formal grammar, this app focuses on memorizing vocabulary in Spanish. It is unique in the methods of memorization, and if you struggle to remember your vocab, this app is for you. There are different categories for learning Spanish, like “Spanish by Frequency”or even Spanish words by region. This app works by using hilarious sentences or photos to help you learn words. If the repetition of just looking at words on paper isn’t your thing, then try out this app! *they have also recently developed an app Cat Spanish that uses these same methods, but solely with pictures of cats.

SpanishDict

 Best Apps to Learn Spanish

This is just a Spanish to English dictionary, but it comes in handy whenever you’re out and about and don’t know a word. It’s great for being abroad because it works offline! So, you’re at a restaurant and don’t recognize a food item? Easy, you can look it up! It also has word games, common phrases, word of the day, and verb conjugations. This is one of the most useful apps to have while abroad!

 

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English to Spanish Vocab Cheat-Sheet

Monday, December 29, 2014 6:35

Categories - Spanish - 0 Comments

It’s no secret that Spanish has a lot of endings, way more to memorize than in English. Thankfully there are some tricks to make learning some words a little easier. Note that this is different than learning verb endings which your teacher will help you grasp, memorize, and practice. Here, we can simply follow some patterns of similarity between English and Spanish.

-ly  ::  -mente

With common adverbs, if it ends in -ly in English, replace it for -mente.

e.g.: Rapidly/rapidamente, profusely/profusamente, horribly/horriblemente, terribly/terriblemente

-tion  ::  -ción

With words ending in –tion, replace the ending for –ción

e.g.: Relation/relación, imagination/imaginación, accommodation/accomadación, foundation/fundación, information/información

-ity  ::  -dad

In words ending in –ity, replace it for -dad

e.g.: Quality/calidad, quantity/cantidad, city/ciudad, inferiority/inferioridad, spirituality/espiritualidad, negativity/negatividad

This is a general trick to help when you are stuck but it does not apply to all words in these forms. Nothing replaces actually studying to memorize words and learning hard and fast rules but I have definitely used these tricks to help out when I am speaking and just can’t think of the word!

Esto funciona de Español a Inglés también! Cuando tengas dudas, simplemente reemplaza palabras que terminan con -mente a -ly, -ción a -tion, y -dad a -ity.

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Studying Abroad: An interview with one of our students

Friday, November 7, 2014 12:10

Categories - Student Stories, Uncategorized - 0 Comments

Pete, 29, London

student e1415382218708 224x300 Studying Abroad: An interview with one of our students

Why did you choose to come to Argentina?

I have lived here before in 2003 for more or less 6 months, when I was 19 years old. After stopping through Argentina for a month, I went travelling through South America for 4 months and then decided I really wanted to come back. I worked in a couple of bars and really got to know Buenos Aires and my Spanish was at a really good level.

How was your Spanish before you came?

Pretty much non existent. I had studied Spanish for a year in high school learning basic introductory Spanish.

What made you want to come back?

I turn 30 in January and just had a bit of a life epiphany. Having of kept in touch with people I had met in Buenos Aires but had moved to Europe. I kept my Spanish going speaking to them and then realised I can really talk and thought I should dedicate some time to getting it back in to shape.

Why Expanish?

Well, it had a very good reviews and testimonials about this place. As well as the location being right in the centre of town. It also seemed to have broad mix of students with different levels of ability. There also seemed to be a lot of places that just offered introductory and beginner courses. However, because I did have a background of learning Spanish,

When I came here I was fortunate enough to meet Gabriel. The first thing he did was ask me to do a test, to see how good my Spanish was. It was a little bit dissapointing as I was not as good as I thought I was. He then put me in a class with everyone at the same level as me. What I really liked is that the classes are not dictatorial, we talk loads and that really is the best way to learn Spanish! I am really enjoying it! One thing you kind of forget is that Brazil is just next door so you get a lot of brazilians in the school, which is awesome! If I look back at what I learn’t in school in that one year of High School, I have probably more in the one month that I have been here than I did in that entire year.

What do you like about Argentina?

I find that the people are generally really warm and welcoming. Obviously its sad at the moment with the state of the economy. However, on the flip side it means that we can live and travel and come to school quite cheaply, relatively talking. I like the fact that having spent 9 years in London where they are rules and regulations for everything, then in comparison here there isnt much order but in a positive way, there is rules and regulations too but not everyone respects them and it kind of makes you feel free in a way. I have been quite fortunate to end up in a neighbourhood called Caballito, which I didnt know so well prior to coming here. But, its really cool I really really like it.

What activities did you do here?

I have seen a couple of movies, which was really good. Then I went to the Intercambio which was fun and I think I am going to the Mate tasting this week.

How long are you going to be here for?

Well I am here to stay ! I plan to study here at Expanish until December, being 3 months in total, then I am going to do the DELE exam as I think it will be a worthwhile thing to do have a universal accredited qualification of my Spanish. Then, have a go at starting my own business here, with 9 years of Digital and start up experience under my belt so it seems like everything is coming together quite well.

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Cheap and Easy Meals to Prepare While Travelling

Thursday, March 7, 2013 14:44

Categories - Food in Buenos Aires - 0 Comments

So, something that has honestly been bothering me a few months now is the inevitable weight gain that comes with travelling, living somewhere like Buenos Aires, where I have been studying Spanish. Unfortunately, it is just bound to happen- food businesses including panaderías (bakeries), confiterías (sweets shops), heladerías (ice cream), empanada and pizza joints are just  abundant in this city and inconveniently selling cheap bites to travellers on a budget.

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Some of the delights you can buy from a confiteria in the city

 

Other factors that contribute to weight gain here include bread baskets at every restaurant and the generous waiters who refill them, constant Fernet drinking with newly-made travel friends and the little voice in our heads that says every day ‘I am overseas and I have never felt so free so I am just going to finish this family-sized bar of chocolate on my own and have an ice-cream after lunch too, take that stomach!!’. There is just something about having an insane overseas experience that can sometimes make you say these sorts of things to yourself because you’re away from home where we are limited to daily schedules that generally don’t allow us to be this reckless with food portions and choices.

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Some of the delicious ice-cream found in Buenos Aires

 

There is another thing to consider though while  on the road and it is that sometimes there is simply no option but to eat what is available. If you’re lucky enough to receive food on overnight buses, the meal will usually include a white-breaded sandwich and cookies and while in Bolivia, it is quite normal to receive a dish with both rice, french fries AND bread on the side.

An endearing quality about the average backpacker is the constant search for food that is cheap and in Argentina, that is empanadas, the Latin equivalent of pies or pasties. They are simply everywhere here. Sometimes you come across a great place that offers a whooping 8 varieties which can keep you going back every day for a week, and at 6 pesos each, you can go nuts! At the end of this time though, your stomach will probably be screaming for something a little fresh and healthy.

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Empanadas here can be filled with anything from beef and vegetables to chicken to roquefort cheese and onion.

 

Henceforth, I have put together 5 simple, cheap and healthy meals that can be prepared in the simplest of hostel kitchens. I’ve stuck to a budget of 20-25 pesos per meal that can sometimes be split into 2 nights’ worth of dinners. You can usually get all of these ingredients from any supermarket or verduleria (which are usually cheaper than supermarkets as their stock is brought in locally.)

 

CHICKPEA AND VEGETABLE CURRY

1 can chickpeas

1 can diced tomatoes

1 ½ teaspoons curry powder

Spinach leaves

White or Brown rice

Wash rice and cook in a pot. Heat oil in a wok or largish fry pan. Fry chickpeas for 2-3 minutes on high heat until slightly soft. Add tinned tomatoes and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat and add curry powder. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes and at the end, add the spinach so it wilts a little. Serve with rice. (Serves 2)

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Chickpea Curry with Spinach

 

SPINACH AND CHERRY TOMATO SALAD WITH SEARED BEEF

1 bunch fresh spinach

1 punnet cherry tomatoes

Extra virgin olive oil

1 packet chuck steak or thin filleted steak

Tomato and/or garlic marinade from a bottle

Cut the meat how you like. Pour marinade over it, cover, and leave in the fridge for half an hour. Meanwhile clean your salad components and dry. Once meat is marinated, heat a grill and sear on both sides until cooked to your liking. Arrange meat and salad together and add olive oil to taste.

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Spinach and Cherry Tomato with Seared Beef

 

GOOD OL’ BURRITOS (my versión)

1 packet beef mince

Burritos or ‘arabic’ style bread

1 green capsicum/pepper

1 onion

2 tomato

1 avocado

First, chop both tomatoes into small chunks. Put half aside for the beef and the other half for the ‘guacamole’. Mash up the avocado to a good consistency and add half the tomatoes. Heat a fry pan and cook the minced beef well, add 2 tablespoons of wáter and the other half of the tomatoes. Wait until wáter is absorbed then put aside. Use the same pan to fry some finely sliced onion and capsicum until soft. When ready to eat, pop the burritos or flat bread in the microwave or oven if you have one and heat to your liking. Assemble food together and enjoy. (Serves 2-3)

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Beef Burrito with peppers and guacamole

 

SPAGHETTI APOLLO KOTA

1 packet spaghetti

1/3 litre chicken stock (they only have cubes here)

A little cream

1 packet chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 bunch spinach

1 onion

¼ pumpkin or sweet potato (ideally baked but you can pan-fry as well)

If you have an oven, chop the pumpkin or sweet potato into bite-sized pieces and bake for ½ hour. If not sautee in a fry pan until very soft. Prepare pasta in a pot. Fry chicken in a pan until thoroughly cooked, put aside and then cook the onion until it is translucent. Return chicken, reduce heat and add  2 tablespoons cream. Stir and add 1 cup of chicken stock. Add the pumpkin or sweet potato, then 2 more tablespoons of cream and one cup of stock. There should be a nice creamy sauce forming (add more liquid if you think necessary.) Let the sauce simmer for 10-15 mins and at the end, add the spinach leaves until just wilted. Serve over pasta. (Serves 3-4)

 

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Spaghetti Apollo Kota

STICKY RICE

1 packet brown rice (if cooking for 1 person, ½-1 cup is sufficient)

Peas

Soy sauce (something that is surprisingly sometimes hard to find here in Buenos Aires-you may have to come across a Chinese supermarket for a bottle)

The most elementary of the 5 and surprisingly satisfying! Prepare the rice in one pot and the peas in another. When both cooked, mix together and add a generous amount of soy sauce. Yum!

 

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Sticky rice with peas

For more information on food in Argentina or learning Spanish in Buenos Aires, click these links!

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