Breaking Down the Language Barrier in Buenos Aires, One Adventure at a Time

  • Luke Sewell
  • 20 October 2010

Travelling to a new country is usually exciting – you definitely see some incredible things! – but the act of leaving your own comfort zone does not necessarily mean that you’re always at ease in another one. Most tourists therefore merely skim the surface of the countries they are visiting because they aren’t able get under their skins. Vacation time limits are one factor, but a larger obstacle is the lack of language understanding.

Students enjoy an interactive Spanish language class in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Students enjoy an interactive class as they begin to master the Spanish language. A little language can certainly go a long way when mingling with the Portenos (Buenos Aires natives).

There is an intangible language barrier that surrounds each us, traps us in our own unique cultures. Communication obstacles – from slang to different alphabets – can be hard to overcome; as we travel inside our invisible language bubbles, we’re often prevented from making meaningful connections with locals and understanding their customs.

Language Unlocks Doors in Buenos Aires

Every year thousands of tourists descend on Buenos Aires, but most gain very little understanding of the culture, the customs or what it really means to be Argentine. Luckily, even a small effort to speak Spanish is greatly appreciated by locals. In return, many travellers are rewarded by warm receptions and new friendships.

So now, before some travellers with aspirations of discovering South America cross into Patagonia or Chile, they spend extra time learning Spanish and set themselves up for a deeper discovery of the continent. On top of learning a new language, they meet other travellers and expatriates, hear about others’ previous experiences and benefit from their travel advice. Not only do they have a great time studying, they also gain the ability to communicate with the locals, a skill that leads to an overall more enriching and rewarding travel experience.

The Vamos Spanish Academy is located in the happening Buenos Aires neighborhood of Palermo

The Vamos Spanish Academy is located in the happening Buenos Aires neighborhood of Palermo in an antique that house the blends perfectly with this eccentric area

Vamos Knows the Way to Go

There are many Spanish schools in Buenos Aires to help students break down the language barrier while also discovering more about Buenos Aires and Argentina. One of them is the Vamos Spanish Academy, the parent company of which also operates Vamos Adventure Travel in Buenos Aires.

Vamos Spanish Academy offers students the ability to learn by immersion and to come to grips with Argentine culture as a whole. The school believes that to learn Spanish in Buenos Aires, one need not only study grammar and do exercises; it’s also about handpicked adventures, excursions and activities to help travellers experience Buenos Aires in a truly memorable way. While the school may operate from a beautiful antique house in the desirable city district of Palermo, the guided activities – from tango lessons and football matches to skiing in Bariloche – take students all over Argentina!

For anyone considering volunteering while abroad, Vamos Spanish Academy also operates a variety of environmental and social-outreach initiatives that give students a chance to help surrounding communities, interact with locals and put their new language skills to the test. One of these volunteer placements connects travellers with an initiative called Un Techo Para Mi Pais (“A Roof for My Country”), a weekend work program during which students help build houses in impoverished areas like Villas. The school also organises clothing drives for local hospitals and charitable organisations.

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local knowledge, Argentina, cities, language, voluntourism, South America,

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