Intermediate Spanish Study Abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Location: Buenos Aires
- Required GPA: 3.0 (4.0 scale)
- Spanish requirement: 2-3 semesters of university-level Spanish or equivalent
- **Application deadlines: November 1 for semester 1 (Feb-July)
April 1 for semester 2 (July-Dec)
- Program advisor: Jennifer McKibben
**Due to Argentine visa deadlines and requirements, IFSA-Butler recommends that non-U.S. citizens apply early to this program.
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The Buenos Aires Intermediate program is perfect for students who have completed Beginner Spanish 2 (usually 102) or Intermediate Spanish 1 (usually 201). During orientation, the three-week intensive Intermediate Spanish course prepares students for specially selected courses with international students at the Universidad del Salvador.
What the Buenos Aires Intermediate program has to offer
- Immersion into Argentine culture through academics, program activities and volunteer opportunities
- All coursework is conducted in Spanish
- Community-based learning experience available through specialized coursework
- Group excursions and activities focused on the art, culture, sports and lifestyle that make Buenos Aires one of the world's most exciting and cosmopolitan cities
- Three-week orientation begins with the Intensive Intermediate Spanish course and also includes informational sessions and fun group activities
- Volunteer experiences available with community and non-governmental organizations
- Housing is with a carefully selected host family in Buenos Aires
- Program fee includes two meals per day Sunday through Friday and one meal on Saturday
- IFSA-Butler houses only one student per family for maximum cultural and language integration
- Students enroll in the mandatory Intensive Intermediate Spanish course (3 U.S. semester credit hours) which is conducted during the three-week orientation
- The mandatory Contemporary Latin American Language and Culture (3 U.S. semester credit hours) program course is taken in conjunction with three additional courses at USAL's Cultural Immersion Program (PIC)
- All coursework is conducted in Spanish and taught by university faculty members
- USAL subjects may include international relations, political science, language and literature, film studies, history, economics and more
- Students earn 15 U.S. semester credit hours for the semester
- Academic tutors available during the semester
What is the academic structure of the BAI?
IFSA-Butler offers a semester program for Buenos Aires Intermediate in conjunction with the Universidad del Salvador (USAL) located in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The program offers two mandatory program courses specifically designed for IFSA-Butler students. In addition, you will enroll directly in three classes through USAL's Cultural Immersion Program (PIC) alongside Argentine and international students. All classes are taught in Spanish by local professors, and all coursework is conducted in Spanish.
What program courses does IFSA-Butler offer?
The following courses are specially designed for IFSA-Butler students on the Buenos Aires Intermediate program. Students are required to enroll in the mandatory Intensive Intermediate Spanish class and the Contemporary Latin American Language and Culture course. Your placement level will be determined by an oral and written exam after your arrival in Argentina.
Click here to download all program course syllabi, or click on a course title below to download an individual syllabus.
Intensive Intermediate Spanish (3 U.S. semester credit hours) This course will work on the basic common themes about language use with the following objectives in mind:
- Auditory comprehension: Understand basic points of a conversation, simple explanations of daily topics or topics of interest. Understand simple stories and descriptions of people, places or objects. Understand speakers when they express feelings or opinions in a precise and simple manner. Comprehend clear instructions.
- Oral production: Give information about people, places and objects. Create questions about an ample number of ideas. Express personal feelings and opinions. Talk about past events. Communicate plans. Give instructions in a rudimentary manner utilizing short phrases in simple structure.
- Reading comprehension: Read and understand simple letters and newspaper articles. Read and understand the general meaning of simple literary texts.
- Written expression: Writing letters and reports relating to the immediate environment, using irregular expressions, simple structures, and appropriate vocabulary selection.
Contemporary Latin American Language and Culture (3 U.S. semester credit hours) The focus of this class is an introduction to Latin American cultural topics, along with the development of the four communicative abilities (speaking, hearing, reading and writing). The topics covered in this course are: indigenous peoples, traditions and legends, politics and democracy, ecology and tourism, gastronomy and Latin American music, and others. This course will also cover grammatical and lexical questions while developing strategies for writing and oral communication.
Universidad del Salvador
has a small student body and a commitment to personalize education, so the atmosphere is nurturing. With faculties spread across a wide area of Buenos Aires, USAL is able to maintain a sense of community among students and faculty. Connect with Argentines by checking into the range of sports teams and activities available during the semester.
What USAL courses am I eligible to take?
In addition to the two mandatory IFSA-Butler program courses for the Buenos Aires Intermediate program, you may register for three courses offered through the Cultural Immersion Program (PIC) through the Universidad del Salvador (USAL). While these courses are open to all USAL students, they are considered the introductory courses to a more specific topic of study. Therefore, they are general in scope and do not require extensive background knowledge in the particular subject.
To register for a course, you must meet any prerequisites, have the required Spanish language level, and space must be available. Please see below for a list of courses that may be offered during your study abroad semester.
How are USAL courses different from the courses at my U.S. university?
The system of higher education in Argentina is more specialized than the U.S. liberal arts curriculum, which means that porteño students enter university with some background in the subjects they wish to study. Therefore, local students take most of, if not all, their courses in one faculty and receive a degree in one field. In the U.S. system, students take a little of everything and don't specialize until a couple of years into their studies.
Additionally, you might notice that your Argentine classmates know each other very well. This is because students enroll in carreras rather than majors. Carreras are similar to majors in the United States but with a more structured program of study and fewer elective courses. Students from the same carrera enroll in the same courses together during their entire undergraduate career.
Course availability changes every semester, and it can also change at the last minute. For this reason, USAL course information must be regarded as provisional. IFSA-Butler cannot guarantee that a specific course will be offered during your semester in Argentina.
USAL Course Offerings
The following list of courses may be available for IFSA-Butler students to choose from. Each course is worth 3 U.S. semester credit hours:
Social Inclusion in the Contemporary Situation
The class will involve using conceptual tools to question, reflect on and analyze the current social reality, focusing on Argentina, and comparing it with the region and the world. It will intend to show the principal forms of social exclusion, creating a framework of the causes of different factors that range from the cultural, environmental, educational, political and economical to the social. It will explain the transition from a state logic to a market logic, because from this manner of understanding the era, one can think of and raise different successful interventions in the context of social inclusion. The course will include a practicum where students will have an active role taking part in experiences in different social organizations. Students will work with different non-governmental organizations (NGOs), where during the first meetings students will observe and be introduced to the organization's operations and work. Later, students will collaborate on certain tasks.
The course will be divided into two parts. The first part corresponds to a theoretical approach to the problem, beginning in the first six classes and concluding with an evaluation of the content. The second part will be used for the practicum, where students will work with a selected NGO under the supervision of the professor, later reflecting on and discussing with the professor how their work experience relates to different working texts. This second part will conclude with a reflective essay about the experience, serving as the evaluation.
Latin American Reality through its Protagonists: Political Leadership
This course proposes an approximation of the current Latin American heterogeneous reality, starting with an analysis of its genuine protagonists. This will be studied by going inside the Latin American political scene, which has been molded by historic journeys, many times parallel. Using audiovisual and visual sources, this class will: identify the ample Latin American political range through the actions of its leading groups; examine, from the principle characteristics of each Latin American state, a common identity of cultural ties that define a regional profile; generate a valued attitude that contemplates diversity; identify the situations in relation to the region with the world (world division of work, post-war world, and the emergence of neoliberalism-populism).
Cultural and Social Representations in Argentine History
This class will cover social representations throughout Argentine history. By understanding these as the perception that a determined community possesses about its past and the image that it constructs about its future, we can see that aside from this determined approach, the understanding of the political culture, literature, and even the social practices becomes more permeable. We propose to develop a historical journey, yet making note of an analysis of the present, in conjunction with the following ideas: indigenous peoples, European tradition, emancipation and historiographical trends; the liberal legacy, "federal" contribution, and the construction of the state; from the gaucho vision to the construction of an Argentine aesthetic; religion and popular devotions; the tango; the slum and nostalgia; the lower districts and the consecration; European vision and exoticism; the role of Buenos Aires as paradigm of transmundano; Peronism; the role of Eva Perón and national devotion; iconography, political rituals and traditions; routes of Argentine literature; from modernist mysticism to "popular culture"; Lepoldo Lugones; Roberto Arlt; Borges; Manuel Mujica Láinez.
The objective of this course is the analysis of cinematography from an artistic and communicative point of view, intending that the student will obtain the basic theoretical tools for the study of cinematographic work in its totality. For this, the course will expound on the history of film in relation to social events that permitted the rise of this medium and the development of subsequent cinematographic language. To allow the student to come into contact with the local culture, this course will also review the development and participation of Argentine film in the world market by means of the analysis of the most influential works of national filmography.
Contemporary World Economy
The object of this course is to offer an ample and integrative formation of the contemporary world economic order through the analysis of principle macroeconomic concepts, themes and problems: money: its types, inflation, types of change, and financial entities; economic development and growth: the GDP, differences between developed and developing countries, and emerging markets; foreign debt: its origin, importance, solutions and perspectives; role of the state in the economy: international organizations and processes of integration; and regional and commercial blocs. This implies providing the necessary elements in order to comprehend the principal changes at the regional and world levels through tackling certain phenomena and events such as the large economic crises of the 20th Century, the contemporary international, regional and national economic panorama, and the tendencies in strategies of economic development (case analysis).
Popular Sectors in 19th and 20th Century Argentine History
Lo popular, a controversial term, will be analyzed from the beginning of the 19th century to the emergence of Peronism. This class will take into account the history, starting from the beginning, raising questions such as the conformation of the popular sectors, their historic participation in the Argentine political life, methods, vertical and horizontal mechanisms with civil society and the state, along with the perception (their own and of others) of these groups. Students will be able to characterize the stages of 19th and 20th century Argentine history, identifying the different social actors, especially the popular ones.
Immersion in the Local Culture through its Cultural Organizations
The goal of this course is that students will reach an understanding of Argentine identity through a program that combines theoretical presentations with guided visits. The following topics will be analyzed: themes that make local identity, cultural institutions, and their role in the preservation and communication of the culture of humankind; political scene of the ‘50s and a visit to the Evita Museum; Hispanic-American art and a visit to the Isaac Fernández Blanco Museum; the city of Buenos Aires and its memory and a visit to the Museum of the City of Buenos Aires; immigration of the '80 and its presence in la Boca; the tango and its origins; Puerto Madero and the Fortabat Museum; Museo Nacional de Bellas Arte and visit to the National Museum of Fine Arts; and Malba Museum, Museum of Latin American Art, Contemporary Latin American Art permanent collection in the museum.
Seminar: Contemporary Argentine Theater Workshop
Techniques and skills for oral expression, focusing on the ability to improvise, play, act and analyze theater scenes and contemporary Argentine stories. The styles, authors and theater works will be scheduled and adapted according to the groups. Texts: Griselda Gambaro, Roberto Arlt, Florencio Sánchez, Julio Cortazar, Manuel Mujica Lainez.
How will I register for courses?
Course registration takes place once you arrive in Argentina. A designated day will be set aside for registration at USAL. During this time, you will receive additional information regarding the university classes and the updated course list.
Before leaving for Argentina, it is a good idea to start thinking about the courses you want to take while you are abroad. A course preference form (see the "Forms" section) is provided to help you with this process. While this form is not a final registration document, it is a great tool to help you decide which courses you may want to enroll in for the semester. Be sure to discuss your courses with your U.S. university academic advisor.
While we are sure that your time abroad will be rewarding, you must be aware of some of the challenges inherent in dealing with the Argentine educational system. The resident director will not only discuss these at orientation but will also be available to help you with any problems that may arise during the semester.
Keep in mind that the educational system in Argentina is different from the system in the U.S. For example, universities do not usually publish course schedules until just before the start of the semester. In many cases, current course listings are not available until you arrive on site. Registration can be a confusing and frustrating process; remember that IFSA-Butler staff will help you during orientation.
What if I need to take a required course?
Because of the structure of the Buenos Aires Intermediate program, you are only permitted to enroll in the two mandatory program courses and three courses from the approved course list from the Cultural Immersion Program at USAL. Additionally, because of USAL's academic schedule, it is difficult to confirm course availability before you depart. If you are flexible in your course choices, you will probably be able to find a course that fits your needs. Keep in mind that if you need a specific course to fulfill your home institution's requirements, we may not be able to confirm the availability of that course or enroll you in it even if it is available. Both academic flexibility and patience are requirements for studying in Latin America.
Are there any restrictions or additional requirements for courses I can take?
While your USAL classes will be taken through the Cultural Immersion Program, please keep in mind the following points:
- All students must enroll in Intensive Intermediate Spanish and Contemporary Latin American Language and Culture, both of which are offered through IFSA-Butler.
- All program and university courses are conducted in Spanish by USAL faculty members.
- You are not permitted to enroll in any other courses offered by USAL outside of the approved list of Cultural Immersion Program classes.
What are the registration conditions
You must take a full university course load as determined by IFSA-Butler, which is 15-16 U.S. semester credit hours per semester. Credit will be awarded on a Butler University transcript based on a typical U.S. full course load. Please be aware that you may be charged additional fees by your home university or host university to take or process additional credits. Taking less than a full course load may jeopardize your student status and result in personal academic repercussions and/or loss of financial aid.
All courses are graded on an A-F scale, and there is no provision for pass/fail or auditing courses unless pass/fail is the only method of assessment for the course. Students are not allowed to register for on-line, distance education or hybrid courses. See the "Academics" and "Program Fees and Financial Aid" sections in Preparing to Study Abroad for more information.
What do I need to know about exams?
Due to the difference in academic systems, your exam schedule will not be available until after you register for courses at USAL. Be sure to confirm exam dates with your professor at the beginning of the semester. You are not permitted to reschedule exams, request alternate assessment or arrange to have your exams proctored in the United States. If this occurs, IFSA-Butler will not be able to assist you in conducting an academic record query on the class in which you made this arrangement. Additionally, all academic obligations, including final exams, must be complete before leaving Argentina.
How will my home university know what my classes were and what grades I received?
After you return to the U.S., IFSA-Butler will send a Butler University transcript to your home university. The transcript reflects the courses taken, credits attempted and grades earned on the BAI during your study abroad semester or year. We will also send an official transcript to your permanent home address.
What if I need academic help during the semester?
In addition to the formal Spanish class, IFSA-Butler organizes tutoring sessions for students throughout the semester. These may be scheduled at various times during the week, when students meet with the tutor on an individual basis. Spanish professors are also available to conduct tutoring sessions especially for the Spanish language. Additionally, all students are required to meet with an academic advisor once a month to discuss their academic progress on the BAI. Please speak with the IFSA-Butler resident staff if you would like the assistance of a tutor.
What are my housing options?
Study abroad is much more than academics. Learning takes place not only during class, but 24 hours a day. One of the best out-of-class experiences is the homestay, which is a vital, required component of the IFSA-Butler program. One IFSA-Butler student is placed with a carefully selected, program approved host family for the duration of the study abroad semester or year.
In addition to the program application, be sure to click on the "Forms" tab to download and complete your Family Placement Form. Once finished, submit your Family Placement Form to IFSA-Butler via email, fax or regular mail.
The Buenos Aires Intermediate program includes two meals per day Sunday through Friday and one meal on Saturday.
Is my housing included in the program fee?
Yes. Your program fee includes accommodation with your host family while classes are in session and during short university breaks. If you are studying abroad for an entire year, you will need to find alternate housing during the semester breaks. You will be responsible for the any commuting costs you may incur.
When will I receive my housing assignment?
You will most likely receive your housing assignment one to two weeks before your departure. However, in some cases you may not receive your housing assignment until you arrive in Argentina for orientation. Your program advisor will notify you of your housing assignment via email when it is ready.
Please keep in mind that while IFSA-Butler guarantees housing, we cannot guarantee your preferences.
Do I have to pay a housing deposit?
The Buenos Aires Intermediate program does not require a housing deposit.
Can I arrange my own housing?
All students who participate on the Buenos Aires Intermediate must live with a program approved host family for the duration of the program.
Living and Studying Abroad in Buenos Aires
Population: 12 million
Location: Eastern Argentina, near the border of Uruguay
- Home to countless cultural and sporting attractions
- One of the most cosmopolitan societies in the world, with a distinctly European air
- Known as the "Paris of the Americas" for its sophistication and culture
- Unparalleled opportunities to enjoy theatre, music, films and museums
- Home to nearly 40 percent of the Argentine population
- Reliable, inexpensive bus and local trains make getting around a breeze
- Music and tango permeate the city and add to its colorful flavor
- Head out of the city and visit the Delta Tigre
- Enjoy a weekend in Colonia or Montevideo, Uruguay
- Take a day trip to the Isla Martín García
Buenos Aires Tourism
An Introduction to Buenos Aires
Lonely Planet Guide to Buenos Aires
Tourist Guide To Buenos Aires
Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires
Dates & Fees
Buenos Aires Intermediate Dates
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*All students must arrive in Buenos Aires no later than 11 a.m. on the program start date.
Your program end date may change due to circumstances beyond IFSA-Butler's control. Upon arrival at your host university, be sure to verify your exam schedule and program end date. We also strongly recommend that you investigate fees and penalties associated with your airline tickets in case you need to make date or route changes.
Program housing is available only until the day shown on the calendar as “Program ends.” If you have academic obligations after this date let the IFSA-Butler staff know so they can arrange an extended stay with your host family.
Exams must be taken where and when scheduled. Under no circumstances may students request that an exam time be changed. Argentine exams are taken under formal examination conditions and changes cannot be made for individuals.
Buenos Aires Intermediate Fees
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What's included in our Argentina program fees
Semester 1 Payment Due: December 15
Semester 2 Payment Due: May 15
Program Fee Bills
IFSA-Butler will send a single bill for the entire program fee, which includes tuition, services, housing and some meals.
Each student lives with a carefully selected host family. The program fee includes two meals per day Sunday through Friday, and one meal on Saturday.
Personal Cost Estimates
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These figures are designed to assist students with financial planning but are only estimates based on past students’ experiences at the current exchange rate. They do not include any entertainment or vacation travel costs.
The above numbers are general estimates of expenses during a program abroad. We recommend taking into account your current spending habits, the cost of living in your host country and the current exchange rate. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor can be helpful as you attempt to work on a personal budget for your experience abroad.
Visa: Please note that in addition to the cost of the student visa, all students with a passport from the U.S., Canada or Australia are required to pay a reciprocity fee of approximately $160 prior to arrival.
Meals: The BAI program includes two meals per day Sunday through Friday and one meal per day on Saturday.
Personal Miscellaneous: Covers general expenses of college life, including course supplies, photocopying, toiletries, snacks, personal care, etc.
Commuting: Estimates are for transportation between housing and university. Transportation for personal or recreational purposes is not included in the above estimates.
All costs are in U.S. dollars.
To apply to the Buenos Aires Intermediate program, use our easy online application.
Applicants to this program must complete two additional forms as a part of the application process:
Please submit these forms with the remainder of your program application. They can be sent to IFSA-Butler via email, fax or regular mail.
If you have already started an application to the Buenos Aires Intermediate program, you can check the status of your application using the Student Portal.
Meet Your IFSA-Butler Team
IFSA-Butler has a dedicated team of staff who are here to help students prepare for their program in Buenos Aires:
Program Advisor Jennifer McKibben assists with the application process and is here to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. Jennifer studied abroad in Costa Rica for a year through an IFSA-Butler program. After completing her undergraduate degree in Spanish at Butler University, she moved to Costa Rica for three years to immerse herself in the culture and pursue a Master’s degree in Spanish-English Translation at Universidad Nacional. She is very passionate about helping students have impactful, enriching experiences abroad. Jennifer currently advises students planning to study abroad in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru. She can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4264.
Student Accounts Coordinator Marty Weinbrecht assists with the financial side of study abroad and processes payments and invoices. Marty can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 4218.
Student & Parent Services Manager Donnetta Spears is available to both students and parents for travel questions and information. Donnetta has worked with IFSA-Butler for 11 years, and she has traveled through parts of Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. As the mother of 4 college students (including one who studied abroad on an IFSA-Butler program), she has a deep understanding of the ins-and-outs of study abroad from a parent perspective. Donnetta can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-4252.
Once abroad, our students are in the capable hands of our on-site office, including our resident director. Click here to read more about Senior Resident Director Mario Cantarini.
Upon return from your study abroad program, Assistant Director for Academic Affairs Rhonda Hinkle processes your Butler University transcript and assists with any academic record queries. Rhonda completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Evansville and received her master's degree from Bowling Green State University. She also has taken doctoral courses at Ball State University. For Rhonda, study abroad not only increased her awareness of the world around her but also ignited her passion for travel and education. Rhonda can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 4259.
Volunteering while studying abroad in Argentina is an enriching experience, both personally and academically. Students report that even volunteering a few hours per week enhanced their study abroad experience by providing them with access to the local culture and a deeper understanding of problems that face Argentines on a daily basis. Opportunities to volunteer are available for IFSA-Butler students in many different fields such as human rights organizations, animal protection, working with rural communities and others.
As a participant on the Buenos Aires Intermediate program (BAI), you can gain first-hand experience volunteering in the local community. Examples of places where students may volunteer are:
- Asociación para Erradicar el Maltrato Animal is a nonprofit organization is dedicated to eradicating animal abuse.
- Pilotos Solidarios specializes in developing ways to assist rural communities.
- Sociedad de Integración Gay Lésbica Argentina promotes the integration of the GLBT community into Argentine society.
- Leer teaches literacy to children.
- Democracia Representativa is an organization that helps strengthen the representative democratic system through civic participation, leadership development and defending principles for a free society.
This is just a sample of the volunteer opportunities available to our students, and these may change from semester to semester. If you have specific interests, please discuss them with your program advisor, who can research other opportunities that may be available in your area of interest. Your program advisor can help you determine opportunities that fit your interests (if they are not listed above), but you will not sign up for a volunteer placement until after orientation.