First rule: There are no rules. These resources are completely free and at your disposal. Use as much, or as little, as you want. Study casually, or work to create a portfolio of academic work that will blow the socks off of the educational establishment.
Feel free to adapt the materials for your own purposes. We expect families, business people, backpackers, college students, high school kids, middle aged vacationers, and retirees who are on a late life adventure to take these materials and run with them. We’d be very happy for teachers or travel group leaders to add these materials to their study abroad packets as well.
The nature of open source is collaboration, so please feel free to contribute when you become aware of resources we haven’t listed, or you have project ideas that we haven’t developed. Send us your work and inspire others to reach higher and deeper as they travel!
Our goal with this project is to inspire adventure and further education through experiential learning around the world. Please send us a note and let us know how you used these resources!
Buffet Style Learning
Does the menu look overwhelming? Looking for a formula to use as a skeleton for your studies in Argentina?
- Two books
- Two films
- Three articles
- One Problem & Solution or Project Option
- One Cultural Assignment
Table of Contents
- Books for Kids
- Project Options
- Problems & Solutions
- Cultural Assignments
- Organizations to Investigates
- Notes From the Author on Daily Living
- Create Your Own Coursework
La Autopista del Sur y Otros Cuentos
by Julio Cortazar (in Spanish)
A young girl spends her summer vacation in a country house where a tiger roams…A man reading a mystery finds out too late that he is the murderer’s victim…
In the stories collected here—including Blow-Up, on which Antonioni based his film—Julio Cortazar explores the boundary where the everyday meets the mysterious, perhaps even the terrible. This is the most brilliant and celebrated book of short stories by a master of the form.
by Bruce Chatwin
An exhilarating look at a place that still retains the exotic mystery of a far-off, unseen land, Bruce Chatwin’s exquisite account of his journey through Patagonia teems with evocative descriptions, remarkable bits of history, and unforgettable anecdotes. Fueled by an unmistakable lust for life and adventure and a singular gift for storytelling, Chatwin treks through “the uttermost part of the earth”—that stretch of land at the southern tip of South America, where bandits were once made welcome—in search of almost-forgotten legends, the descendants of Welsh immigrants, and the log cabin built by Butch Cassidy. An instant classic upon publication in 1977, In Patagonia is a masterpiece that has cast a long shadow upon the literary world.
by Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges has been called the greatest Spanish-language writer of our century. Now for the first time in English, all of Borges’ dazzling fictions are gathered into a single volume, brilliantly translated by Andrew Hurley. From his 1935 debut with The Universal History of Iniquity, through his immensely influential collections Ficciones and The Aleph, these enigmatic, elaborate, imaginative inventions display Borges’ talent for turning fiction on its head by playing with form and genre and toying with language. Together these incomparable works comprise the perfect one-volume compendium for all those who have long loved Borges, and a superb introduction to the master’s work for those who have yet to discover this singular genius.
The Tango Singer
by Tomas Eloy Martinez – Fiction
Bruno Cadogan has flown from New York to Buenos Aires in search of the elusive and legendary Julio Martel, a tango singer whose voice has never been recorded yet is said to be so beautiful it is almost supernatural. Bruno is increasingly drawn to the mystery of Martel and his strange and evocative performances in a series of apparently arbitrary sites around the city. As Bruno tries to find Martel, he begins to untangle the story of the singer’s life, and to believe that Martel’s increasingly rare performances map a dark labyrinth of the city’s past.
The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey
by Ernesto Che Guevera
The young Che Guevara’s lively and highly entertaining travel diary, now a popular movie and a New York Times bestseller. This new, expanded edition features exclusive, unpublished photos taken by the 23-year-old Ernesto on his journey across a continent, and a tender preface by Aleida Guevara, offering an insightful perspective on the man and the icon.
My Fathers’ Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain: A Novel
by Patricio Pron
The American debut of one of Granta’s Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists, My Fathers’ Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain is a daring and deeply affecting story of one Argentine family’s buried secrets. When a young writer returns home to visit his dying father, he finds himself drawn into an obsessive search for a local man gone missing. As the truth—not only about his father but an entire generation—comes to light, the narrator is forced to confront the ghosts of Argentina’s dark political past, as well as long-hidden memories about his own family’s history. Powerful and audacious, this semi-autobiographical novel is a thoroughly original story of corruption and responsibility, of history and remembrance, from one of South America’s most important new writers.
by Gregory Crouch
Patagonia is a strange and terrifying place, a vast tract of land shared by Argentina and Chile where the violent weather spawned over the southern Pacific charges through the Andes with gale-force winds, roaring clouds, and stinging snow. Squarely athwart the latitudes known to sailors as the roaring forties and furious fifties, Patagonia is a land trapped between angry torrents of sea and sky, a place that has fascinated explorers and writers for centuries.
Magellan discovered the strait that bears his name during the first circumnavigation. Charles Darwin traveled Patagonia’s windy steppes and explored the fjords of Tierra del Fuego during the voyage of the Beagle. From the novel perspective of the cockpit, Antoine de Saint-Exupry immortalized the Andes in Wind, Sand, and Stars, and a half century later, Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia earned a permanent place among the great works of travel literature. Yet even today, the Patagonian Andes remain mysterious and remote, a place where horrible storms and ruthless landscapes discourage all but the most devoted pilgrims from paying tribute to the daunting and dangerous peaks.
Gregory Crouch is one such pilgrim. In seven expeditions to this windswept edge of the Southern Hemisphere, he has braved weather, gravity, fear, and doubt to try himself in the alpine crucible of Patagonia.
Che Boludo: A Gringo’s Guide to Understanding the Argentines
by James Bracken
Che Boludo! is a humorous but nonetheless highly informative guide for visitors to Argentina. Most appropriate for those who already have a good grasp of Spanish, this handy guide provides a slang dictionary and a number of handy explanations of phrases or cultural habits. Not only is Argentinian Spanish considered to be the hardest accent to understand, but it is also full of colloquial phrases that don’t make any sense to foreign speakers, even those fluent in Spanish. Learning just a few examples from this book will surely help visitors on their way. –10 Best Books About Argentina
The Food and Cooking Of Argentina: 65 Traditional Recipes from the Heart of South America
by Cesar Bartolini
I’m an Argentinean living in the US now. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS BOOK! The recipes (except for only one) are fantastic! I can really really get a taste of home. It’s my second favorite recipe book. Whatever you prepare using the book will be good. Promise! It won’t fail! My American husband and my new family loved the meals I cooked using this book so… thank you Cesar Bartolini for helping me make a good impression!
I also loved the cultural touch. Most recipes come with an explanation about their origin and/or the celebrations in which they are prepared.
One last thing: the photos will make you hungry! – magali
The Argentina Reader: History, Culture, Politics
by Gabriela Nouzeilles & Graciela Montaldo
This essential introduction to Argentina’s history, culture, and society provides a richer, more comprehensive look at one of the most paradoxical of Latin American nations: a nation that used to be among the richest in the world, with the largest middle class in Latin America, yet one that entered the twenty-first century with its economy in shambles and its citizenry seething with frustration.
This diverse collection brings together songs, articles, comic strips, scholarly essays, poems, and short stories. Most pieces are by Argentines. More than forty of the texts have never before appeared in English. The Argentina Reader contains photographs from Argentina’s National Archives and images of artwork by some of the country’s most talented painters and sculptors. Many selections deal with the history of indigenous Argentines, workers, women, blacks, and other groups often ignored in descriptions of the country. At the same time, the book includes excerpts by or about such major political figures as José de San Martín and Juan Perón. Pieces from literary and social figures virtually unknown in the United States appear alongside those by more well-known writers such as Jorge Luis Borges, Ricardo Piglia, and Julio Cortázar.
Argentina: A Traveler’s Literary Companion
by Jill Gibian
This vital collection of stories, vignettes, and prose poems takes readers on a literary journey that climbs the Andes Mountains, navigates the great River Plate, and traverses the expansive plains of the Pampas. Moving beyond the cultural icons associated with Argentina (such as gauchos, tango, and maté), these works reflect the country’s strong cultural and literary traditions, challenging readers’ imaginations while rousing their emotions. The book’s handy pocket size makes it an ideal companion for visitors to Argentina.
by Lawrence Thornton – Fiction
Imagining Argentina is set in the dark days of the late 1970’s, when thousands of Argentineans disappeared without a trace into the general’s prison cells and torture chambers. When Carlos Ruweda’s wife is suddenly taken from him, he discovers a magical gift: In waking dreams, he had clear visions of the fates of “the disappeared.” But he cannot “imagine” what has happened to his own wife. Driven to near madness, his mind cannot be taken away: imagination, stories, and the mystical secrets of the human spirit.
And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out) Wall Street, the IMF, and the Bankrupting of Argentina
by Paul Blustein
In the 1990s, few countries were more lionized than Argentina for its efforts to join the club of wealthy nations. Argentina’s policies drew enthusiastic applause from the IMF, the World Bank and Wall Street. But the club has a disturbing propensity to turn its back on arrivistes and cast them out. That was what happened in 2001, when Argentina suffered one of the most spectacular crashes in modern history. With it came appalling social and political chaos, a collapse of the peso, and a wrenching downturn that threw millions into poverty and left nearly one-quarter of the workforce unemployed.
Paul Blustein, whose book about the IMF, The Chastening, was called “gripping, often frightening” by The Economist and lauded by the Wall Street Journal as “a superbly reported and skillfully woven story,” now gets right inside Argentina’s rise and fall in a dramatic account based on hundreds of interviews with top policymakers and financial market players as well as reams of internal documents. He shows how the IMF turned a blind eye to the vulnerabilities of its star pupil, and exposes the conduct of global financial market players in Argentina as redolent of the scandals — like those at Enron, WorldCom and Global Crossing — that rocked Wall Street in recent years. By going behind the scenes of Argentina’s debacle, Blustein shows with unmistakable clarity how sadly elusive the path of hope and progress remains to the great bulk of humanity still mired in poverty and underdevelopment.
Guerrillas and Generals: The Dirty War in Argentina
by Paul H. Lewis
In this comprehensive, balanced examination of Argentina’s Dirty War, Lewis analyzes the causes, describes the ideologies that motivated both sides, and explores the consequences of all-or-nothing politics. The military and guerrillas may seem marginal today, but Lewis questions whether the Dirty War is really over.
Lewis traces the Dirty War’s origins back to military interventions in the 1930s and 1940s, and the rise of General Juan Peron’s populist regime, which resulted in the polarization of Argentine society. Peron’s overthrow by the military in 1955 only heightened social conflict by producing a resistance movement out of which several guerrilla organizations would soon emerge. The ideologies, terrorist tactics, and internal dynamics of those underground groups are examined in detail, as well as their links to other movements in Argentina and abroad.
The Real Odessa: How Peron Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina
by Uki Goni
Drawing on American and European intelligence documents, Uki Goni shows how from 1946 onward a Nazi escape operation was based at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires, harboring such war criminals as Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele. Goni uncovers an elaborate network that relied on the complicity of the Vatican, the Argentine Catholic Church, and the Swiss authorities. The discoveries made in this meticulously researched book reveal the entangled web of the Nazi regime and its sympathizers and has prompted Argentine officials to demand closed files on the Nazi era from their current government.
The Age of Youth in Argentina: Culture, Politics, and Sexuality from Perón to Videla
by Valeria Manzano
This social and cultural history of Argentina’s “long sixties” argues that the nation’s younger generation was at the epicenter of a public struggle over democracy, authoritarianism, and revolution from the mid-twentieth century through the ruthless military dictatorship that seized power in 1976. Valeria Manzano demonstrates how, during this period, large numbers of youths built on their history of earlier activism and pushed forward closely linked agendas of sociocultural modernization and political radicalization.
Focusing also on the views of adults who assessed, and sometimes profited from, youth culture, Manzano analyzes counter cultural formations–including rock music, sexuality, student life, and communal living experiences–and situates them in an international context.
Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World’s Most Notorious Nazi
by Neal Bascomb
When the Allies stormed Berlin in the last days of the Third Reich, Adolf Eichmann shed his SS uniform and vanished. Following his escape from two American POW camps, his retreat into the mountains and out of Europe, and his path to an anonymous life in Buenos Aires, his pursuers are a bulldog West German prosecutor, a blind Argentinean Jew and his beautiful daughter, and a budding, ragtag spy agency called the Mossad, whose operatives have their own scores to settle (and whose rare surveillance photographs are published here for the first time).
The capture of Eichmann and the efforts by Israeli agents to secret him out of Argentina to stand trial is the stunning conclusion to this thrilling historical account, told with the kind of pulse-pounding detail that rivals anything you’d find in great spy fiction.
Pope Francis: The Pope From the End of the Earth
by Thomas J. Craughwell
In Pope Francis: The Pope from the End of the Earth best-selling author Thomas J. Craughwell explores the life of Pope Francis, including his birth and early years “at the end of the earth” in Argentina; his mystical experience as a teenager that drew him to religious life; his years as a priest and bishop with a heart for the poor and marginalized; and his unflagging courage to teach and defend the Catholic faith.
Evita: The Real Life of Eva Peron
by Nicholas Fraser
The story begins in a dusty village lost in the Argentine pampas, where a girl, born out of wedlock, scrambles her way to the capital city by the time she is fifteen. It ends with the embalmed corpse of Eva Peron being hidden away by nervous politicians for fear that if the working people of Argentina knew where it was buried, it would inspire them to revolution.In between Eva Peron became first the actress Eva Duarte, then the mistress of Colonel Perón, then, in October 1945 after the “shirtless ones” had swept Peron into office, the president’s wife. In the colorful, tumultuous setting of postwar Argentina, she wielded a power–spiritual and practical–that has few parallels outside of hereditary monarchy. She was literally idolized by millions but was hated and feared by many as well. She became Evita, the legend.
Jorge from Argentina: The Story of Pope Francis for Children
by Marilyn Monge
This delightfully illustrated biography for children ages 7-10 highlights the life of Pope Francis– the first pope to be a member of the Jesuit religious order, to come from Latin America, and to take the papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi.
Times Gone By: Memoirs of a Man of Action
by Vicente Pérez Rosales
These memoirs trace the wild and adventurous life of Pérez Rosales from his childhood up to the 1860s. During that approximately half-century he saw and did more than a dozen ordinary men. At age eleven in Argentina he witnessed the executions of Luis and Juan Jose Carrera. From there, his activities and adventures took him on several journeys on sailing vessels around Cape Horn; to Paris, where he witnessed the July revolution of 1830; to various commercial endeavors including a distillery, the practice of medicine, and cattle smuggling; into service as an advisor to an Argentine warlord; as a miner for precious metals in the north of Chile; as participant in the California Gold Rush in 1849; as director of the government’s project for German immigration and settlement in the wild south of Chile; and also as Chilean consul and immigration agent in Hamburg.
The life of two women and their families in a small provincial town of Salta, Argentina.
Juan lives in clandestinity. Just like his mum, his dad and his adored uncle Beto, outside his home he has another name. At school, Juan is known as Ernesto. And he meets María, who only has one name. Based on true facts, set in the Argentina of 1979, this film is “one about love”.
– Written by Historias Cinematográficas
Our Last Tango
The life and love story of Argentina’s famous tango dancers Maria Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes, who met as teenagers and danced together for nearly fifty years until a painful separation tore them apart.
Zonda: Folclore Argentino
Argentina’s Stolen Children
The last victims of Argentina’s military dictatorship knew nothing of their true identities. One day though, their worlds turned upside down when they learned a terrible truth. Everything they knew, their families, their names, was all part of a monstrous and cruel conspiracy. It was only through the tireless efforts of their natural grandmothers, who searched for decades, that these children had their real identities returned to them. The natural parents were among the “disappeared,” former activists against the military Junta. Now, aware of the web of deception that surrounded their early years, they have to learn to live as their true selves, and with their past.
Argentina’s Financial Collapse
The Falklands War – The Untold Story
Falklands Crisis was a 1982 war between Argentina and the United Kingdom. The conflict resulted from the long-standing dispute over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which lie in the South Atlantic, east of Argentina.
National Geographic Nature’s Nighttime World Patagonian Mountains
Patagonia is a sparsely populated spot found at the the southern area of finish connected with South america, discussed by means of Argentina in addition to Chile. Areas consists of the actual the southern area of a part of the actual Andes foothills plus the deserts, steppes in addition to grasslands eastern side
The True Story of Che Guevara – The Documentary
Argentinian doctor; joined Castro in Mexico in 1954; a leader of the 1956-59 Cuban Revolution. Che served as president of Cuba’s national bank and as Cuba’s minister of industry in the period immediately following the Cuban Revolution.
Eva Perón: Intimate Portrait – Lifetime television
Gays, Lesbians & Trans: Coming Out in Argentina – Documentary
A major change in the constitution has revolutionized the life of thousands of people in Argentina, the legalization of same sex marriage. ENGLISH SUBTITLES
The Motorcycle Diaries
Few times in the history of Hollywood has a film been released with the scope and daring of EVITA! Now, experience this landmark achievement as Madonna — in the role of a lifetime — joins Antonio Banderas for a motion picture event! EVITA is the riveting true-life story of Eva Peron (Madonna), who rose above childhood poverty and a scandalous past to achieve unimaginable fortune and fame. Despite widespread controversy, her passion changed a nation forever!
Argentina’s beef business is a key component to its culture
Beef is an integral part of the Argentine identity, economy and way of life.Historically, Argentina has been one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of beef. Yet in recent years the country has slid down the list in terms of production. That’s something the new government aims to reverse with pro-agriculture
Buenos Aires: A City of Style—and Sizzle – National Geographic
Argentina’s Economic Crisis – Washington Post
Environmental Sustainability Issues in Argentina – Foundation for Sustainable Development
Why Argentina is Such an Economic Mess – Business Insider
Youth Education & Development Issues in Argentina – Foundation for Sustainable Development
Polluted Rivers: Argentina’s Matanza-Riachuelo River – HydrateLife
Abortion in Argentina – Human Right’s Watch
Women’s Rights: An Unfinished Business – Argentina Independent
A Century of Struggles: Gender Equality in Argentina – Argentina Independent
Argentina’s Mine Industry Doubles Down on Lithium – Industry Week
Argentina Real and Raw
Argentina is a nation still struggling to rectify the depression caused by the 2001 economic crisis, as well as the impact of the thousands who “disappeared” during the violent military dictatorship of the 1970’s, and the disparities between indigenous groups and Spanish descendants.
Following the economic crash, one of the largest in modern world history, more than 50 percent of the population fell below the poverty line, creating a host of development challenges. Despite the country’s trials, there is an appreciation for travelers who want to share their knowledge and find ways to give back to a country whose cultural richness has so much to offer its visitors.
Choose an aspect of Argentina “real and raw” and dive a bit deeper. Do some interviews and ask questions about the areas that interest you or the issues that present themselves to you during your travels. A video project might be the best way to highlight what you are learning, allowing individuals to speak for themselves.
Enforcing environmental sustainability laws to protect the country’s natural habitats are more of the central problem as opposed to making new laws. Working with natives to help preserve the country’s natural resources is a wonderful way to learn about the hidden richness of Argentina while helping the community protect its nature.
Rather than focusing on the many problems that exist environmentally, examine one of the solutions in action. Find an organization, or a grassroots community initiative, or an individual who is working to ameliorate a particular environmental issue.
Microfinance and Enterprise
The 1990s was an economic roller coaster for Argentina, with soaring growth due to international investment usage that would prove fruitful for the short term. By the end of the decade, the Menem Administration under the guidance of the IMF and World Bank, had liberalized sectors and instituted structural adjustment policies that eventually plummeted the economy. This was done to address the $150 billion debt incurred largely by the military government in the late 1970s and 1980s.
By 2001, the economy deteriorated so badly that the country suffered an absolute meltdown, with industrial infrastructure and agricultural markets on their knees, minimal social and public services available, and aggressive privatization that resulted in many Argentines unable to afford basic needs such as water. More than 50 percent of the country lived below the poverty line—an astonishing statistic considering the apparent wealth of the nation.
Examine microfinance in Argentina and the ways in which it is facilitating enterprise development. Perhaps narrow your focus further and examine microfinance for women, or youth enterprise. Tell some success stories.
Explore an aspect of Argentina’s history. Possibilities include:
- Pre-Colombian Era
- The Colonial Era
- Argentina’s Independence
- The Civil Wars
- The Infamous Decade
- The Peron Era
- The Dirty War
The Beef Industry
Beef production is a major industry in Argentina, but it is not without controversy. Examine the history and the economic and environmental realities surrounding cattle ranching in Argentina. If you can, visit a ranch.
What do you think about beef farming as you’ve observed it in Argentina? Highlight the pros and cons as you see them, based on your experiences.
In 1957 Argentina became the first country to develop a successful nuclear program for energy production based on their own development, not international aid. Argentina has also pledged to the international community to only use their nuclear capabilities for peaceful production, not military gain.
Research the history of energy production in Argentina. What do you think of the nuclear program? Given the energy challenges the world faces, do you think Argentina is progressive? What are the environmental impacts now, and in the past?
Pope Francis is the first pope from the Americas, the first pope from the Southern Hemisphere and the first Franciscan pope ever elected. He was born and raised in Argentina. As a nation that is over 75% Catholic, they are, understandably, proud of their native son.
Examine the life and legacy of Pope Francis. Who is he? Where did he get his start? Which issues has he dedicated his life to and with what result? How has he shaped the modern papacy and the modern Catholic church?
Profiles of …..
Conduct a series of at least five interviews within a country. The point of the exercise would be to get a well rounded view of what it is like to live in the France from a variety of ages, incomes, employments and experiences. This could be conducted as video, or as text. Do an in depth analysis of the experience/information.
People you might profile:
- Restaurant owners/workers
- Clergy or Nuns
- Government officials
- Doctors or nurses
- Cafe owners
- Street vendors
- Artists or musicians
- Cab drivers
- Long term expats
Since the quality of care and service provided by the public and private sectors has worsened due to lack of funds, the need for grassroots public health programs is high.
Community education and awareness, as well as the establishment of mental health support groups, are essential steps to promote preventative health care, and to create a sane, healthy, and productive population. This demand for community public health programs is one in which FSD host organizations directly address by enacting local health initiatives that reach the people who are in greatest need.
Identify areas of need in the health sector. Perhaps focus narrowly on mental health, women’s health, pediatrics, elder care or another area that you’re interested in. Examine the non-governmental solutions that are being put into place. Which ones are working? Which could be improved? What can you learn?
A huge coping mechanism for many Argentine youth is drugs and alcohol. The creation of community youth centers is an essential tool that can divert them from substance abuse. NGOs working on youth support and education projects are always looking for positive examples for the Argentine marginalized youth—a role that many interns and volunteers provide.
Examine the data on youth drug and alcohol use in Argentina. Spend some time with youth workers, consider volunteering at a center to learn more about the root causes and the actionable solutions. Think about the ways in which young people get drawn into these behaviors and what can be done to intervene before a crisis. Highlight some of the particularly interesting
Women in Argetina are denied certain basic rights—particularly in lesser educated, underserved communities.
Abortion is still a criminal offense, sex education is completely absent in the education system, and access to female contraceptives is negligible. Although this is a huge problem that has historically been perpetuated by the government and reinforced by cultural taboos, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Despite protest from Catholic groups and a long history of anti-abortion and abstinence-only promotion, a new discourse on sex education is forming.
In 2004, female judge nominee Carmen Argibay publicly announced her commitment to decriminalize abortion, further mobilizing the topic of sex in the public eye. She was subsequently confirmed by President Néstor Kirchner.
Interview women in Argentina about their rights: legally and in practical cultural terms. Interview activists and feminists. Interview wives, mothers, grandmothers and young single women about what it is like to be a woman in Argentina. Interview some men about their perceptions around women and equality in Argentina.
Alternately, focus narrowly on one issue and produce a project, film, or write an article about that issue and potential solution
Study in Cordoba at the University
- Art History
- and more in extended study courses offered through the university
Explore Through A Native Lens
- Iguazu Falls- tropical exploration
- Patagonia- glaciers
- Valdes Peninsula- penguin observation
- Salta- folklore and traditional life style
- Mendoza- wine making
- Antarctic- expedition
- Buenos Aires- theater and performance study
The tango is very important to Argentine culture. Study the history of the tango. Watch it danced. Take lessons yourself. Become a connoisseur of the music. Who are the big stars of the current tango scene?
Argentina is known the world over for it’s excellent food, beginning with beef asado, moving on to chorizo, empanadas, fugazza, dulce de leche, yerba mate and more. Document as many new (to you) foods as you can in Argentina. Perhaps you want to compile a notebook of recipes as you go.
What is a meaningful interaction? You get to decide that. In general, it should be an interaction in which cultural exchange took place and you learned something. Often this will be with a local person; sometimes it will be with another traveler.
Sometimes these interactions look like very little on the outside but are totally life changing on the inside. Other times, they are rock your world amazing from every angle. It could be a meal shared, an afternoon’s excursion, a discussion that opens your eyes in some way, a self revelation that happened without any words exchanged at all.
Spend a day with a local individual or family. Document your experience in photos, interviews and the written word. The best way to interact with locals is to just start chatting with them at markets, on tours or on the street. You can also ask other travelers if they have met anyone who has offered some insight into life in the country. If you are a family who have children attending a local school then have a party, invite a parent to coffee, basically just open up your home to new relationships.
Take a Class Locally
There are many options! Don’t be limited by this list:
- Cooking (definitely consider taking a cooking class in France!)
- Art or Crafts
Argentina has some great museums.
Here are a few that might be of interest:
- Museo Histórico Nacional
- Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Isaac Fernández Blanco
- Museo Histórico del Norte
- Museo de Ciencias Naturales (Museo de la Plata)
- Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA)
- Museo del Fin del Mundo
- Museo Evita
- Museo Folclórico
- Museo del Vino
Save your ticket stubs!
Volunteering is a great way to get to know a local community and give back a bit to the places that you choose to travel. There are lots of ways to do this, both organized and arranged privately, as well as impromptu opportunities that will pop up.
If you’re looking for a list of volunteer opportunities in Argentina, Transitions Abroad has one. Please be advised that TAP is not recommending these, only presenting them as a list of possibilities. Vet your volunteer options carefully.
Get out of the hostel, rent a place in a local village, or do a homestay. Through websites like Airbnb it’s easy to find places to live locally. Consider a co-living space to develop community with like minded travelers while diving a little deeper and going a little bit more local. Unsettled, Buenos Aires, and Yonder Work, are two in Argentina to consider.
Photo essay or a blog description of why living local was different than living in a hostel. How did this experience change the economics of your stay? What did you learn about the way locals live? What challenged you? What would you do differently next time?
Through an organization like WWOOF, HelpX, or Workaway you can arrange for an opportunity to work in exchange for your room and board in a number of capacities, from farm labour to hospitality. Lots of students make use of these experiences to lower the cost of their travels, while at the same time learning valuable skills or “trying out” various career areas that interest them.
Request feedback in the form of a short evaluation that can be used later for a CV or reference
Public Transportation Project
Take as many types of public transportation as possible.
Challenge yourself to take every type of public transportation available while you are in Argentina. Create a photo essay or videologue of your adventures. What did you learn?
Attend a Religious Observance
Argentina is over 75% Catholic, but there are minority populations of persons of other religious persuasions as well. Examine how the heavily Catholic heritage of the country has shaped the culture and politics of the country. Is public Catholicism different from private practice? Take some time to attend various religious observances and see what you can learn. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. How does the religious climate in Argentina compare with what you grew up with?
In general Argentina is a very beautiful and safe environment that runs effectively on a day to day basis. Most major cities have public transportation (busses, subtle) and taxi service. It is important to note that the exchange of currency is an up and down dilemma and up until the newest elected president, it was not possible to buy U.S currency or exchange Argentinean pesos for its purchased value. With that being said, many currency rates developed (blue/black dollar market). *Be very careful about exchanging large sums of money (on the streets), do so at currency facilities in banks (it costs more, and you may lose a percentage when exchanging), and try to only exchange what you need for a period of time.
Change for bills is a bit difficult to come by (due to the expense of printing money), so try to have small bills when getting into a taxi, or going to a kiosk. Most of the time it is hard for them to give back change and the loss will come from you, meaning they will short you change (usually no more than 10 centavos or a 2 peso bill).
Crime on a day to day basis is heavy in the area of robbery, so be very aware of your surroundings. It is a progressive state, nevertheless, smartphones and cameras are still extremely expensive (highly taxed) and hard to come by, so refrain from flaunting such objects as though easily replaceable and never put valuables in the outside pockets of bags. People who rob pedestrians tend to have a partner or two who assist in a distraction ploy.
Be mindful of the time of day you travel and always let people know that you see them when traveling on foot. It is ok to walk in the light, walk in the center of an empty street or cross the street if you feel more comfortable. Natives too are always attentive and susceptible to the same advances.
Learn to ask for what you want. If you meet someone interesting, ask them to teach you. Ask them for an interview. Ask to shadow them for a day or a week. You’ll be surprised at how eager people are to share what they know and teach when someone shows actual interest. Learn to ask questions. Learn to take social risks by putting yourself out there as a learner.
You have an idea or an interest. Something surprises you on your journey and all of a sudden you have a burning desire to know more. Plan your attack:
- Narrow your field of study to a particular question or topic.
- Compile resources: Look for teachers. Who knows what you need to know? Or who can you interview to learn more? Are there books or videos on the topic you’re interested in?
- Quantify it. How will you demonstrate what you have learned? A research paper, a video project, a photo essay, through art or music, a blog post, a published piece, an interview series, a mini documentary or do you have some other idea?
Produce a quality piece of academic work that reflects your experiential learning. The whole key to quantifying outside the box learning is to translate it into something that reflects the value of what you learned and how it contributed to your overall educational process.
Perhaps this will be as simple as a traditional research paper, depending on the depth and length of your study this could be as short as three pages or as long as a dissertation. Maybe you’ll produce a video for YouTube, or something grander, like a mini-documentary. Perhaps you’ll do something concrete instead, an art, or community action project and you’ll tell the story through a photo essay, or a series of blog posts. The possibilities are limited only by the resources you have at hand. Get creative. Think outside the box and truly experience your education.
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We’re actively seeking to grow these resources in an open-source spirit. Please email jenn(at)bootsnall(dot)com with your edits or submissions of new information or materials.
Dominique Robinson is an American dancer, choreographer, filmmaker and founder of Pizarts organization and Dance Gap Year. She teaches dance throughout the five boroughs of New York and Connecticut. She is the co-founder of the film dance collective Dom & Aston Cinedans based in NYC. Robinson holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from East Carolina University and a Master of Arts in Dance Education from New York University. Her works have incorporated artists from Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Japan, Korea, Tanzania, Canada and the U.S.