Advice for BA

Florianopolis Travel Blog

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Living in Buenos Aires for a month was a wonderful experience. We stayed there long enough to get settled in and learn our way around the city. Personally, I learned a lot about living in a foreign country and was able to work on improving my Spanish beyond a survival level. However, looking back there was a possibility for an overall smoother transition to living in a major foreign city like Buenos Aires had I known then what I know now. Now I will elaborate on what one can expect before arriving in Buenos Aires on a similar Georgia Tech study abroad program.

First, I will go over what I feel should be done before leaving the country. For starters, get your Brazilian visa from the consulate in Miami via the mail instead of waiting until you get to Argentina. This will save a lot of time and hassle, as well as, the fact that you should receive a 5-year visa. I waited until I was in Argentina and it cost me the same amount as it would have in the United States and my visa is only for 29 days. I would also highly recommend packing as lightly as possible and to bring an empty bag of some kind to carry souvenirs in. Another piece of advice I can give is that if you plan to bring your laptop computer with you, make sure that it is functioning properly. If you are experiencing any problems with it at all then get it checked out. I had the misfortune of my laptop’s screen dieing on me within two weeks of living in Buenos Aires. To me, these are the major areas of concern before actually leaving the U.S.

Next, I will go over what you can expect once you have arrived in Buenos Aires. The city is very nice but also very large. It will take an ample amount of time to become familiar with it. You will find that there is everything you need within walking distance of your residencia. There are numerous laundromats, internet cafes, gyms, supermarkets and various stores very nearby. For traveling to class I would recommend taking the bus. It only costs 80 centavos and a stop is located within two short blocks. The subway (or subte in Argentina) is only 70 centavos but is often much more crowded and you are not able to see the streets, which could help you learn your way around. Otherwise, you can walk to class but expect for the trip to take up to an hour.

Money is another important issue when considering how to plan for your trip. At the time of my trip the conversion rate for dollars to pesos was around 3:1. I spent about $1,000 U.S. dollars total during my stay in Buenos Aires. However, this includes a $200 flight to Mendoza over our long weekend and a $110 leather jacket. So, overall I spent around $700 while there. This money was spent largely on food and drink over the month. I went out to various clubs, bars and other nightspots frequently where you sometimes had cover charges to get in. The rest of the money I spent here was on taxis, souvenirs and doing laundry. Taxi fares begin at about 2 pesos for the service and then it’s metered from there. You can expect to never spend more than about 20 pesos on a taxi ride because that is the maximum I spent going from one end of the city to the other.

There is much to do in Buenos Aires. Make sure you see at least one tango and one flamenco show during your stay. Also, there are many jazz clubs with live music to enjoy as well. There are also many quaint cafes and restaurants to eat and drink at while reading or hanging out. The rose garden and other local parks are very nice to visit too. In my opinion I feel that all of these sites should be visited at some point during your stay.

Lastly, for the long weekend I would definitely urge you to travel. Even more so, I would urge you to travel to Mendoza, Argentina. It is a short flight but the extra cost is something to consider. You could also travel by bus for much less. There are many excursions to participate in there that range from wine tours to paragliding over the Andes mountains. Leaving Buenos Aires will help you gage what you have already seen in the city with the rest of the country. Mendoza, in particular, is exciting and not to far for your long weekend.

This encompasses my experiences that I feel would help future participants on this study abroad program. This should allow you to have some basis for spending your money and your time both before reaching Buenos Aires and during your stay there.
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photo by: Vagabondatheart