This blog post is from Ania Rojek, our Working Abroad Ambassador in the Volunteer Argentina program.
Too many times you hear of travelers keeping a distance from "touristy" locations. I am the opposite. I say embrace every tourist event you can in the first two weeks. The more you learn about the city in the first couple of days the more you can show off to all your new Argentinian friends about what you know. The truth is, people are going to ask you what you did and if you do a lot, you'll have something to say! That being said just because you want to take advantage of everything in your area doesn't mean you need to spend a fortune. Thing I did my first week in Buenos Aires:
Go to San Telmo Market!
This is also known as the antique market of BA. Vendors will want to show you their items and simply exchange a few words. The atmosphere is phenomenal with modern tango playing, people talking, and empanadas being sold. You will be surprised how large this markets it! It's almost never-ending.
Watch free tango or if you're up for it, Tango yourself after you have visited the market! (I chose the prior, maybe a couple more weeks and I'll try it!) Watch my video from the market here:
Go on Free Tours!
You will hear people praising these free tours on sites like TripAdvisor and all I can say is, is that it's all true. The two free tours I went on were incredible. Both tour guides were Porteñas (Born in Buenos Aires) themselves, and shared with us the culture, history and so much more of BA. Maggie, our tour guide, even showed us how the people of the city communicate with their hands. She told us that it is no surprise that they have so many hand gestures here since Argentinian culture has a lot of Italian influence. She gave us some great tips on how to show people 'I know what I am saying', 'I have no idea what I am saying', 'hold on a minute', 'the police are close', 'hurry up', and 'I want my coffee cortado' . As she was explaining all this I thought- maybe I don't need to learn Spanish and hand gesturing might get me by!
Go to Free Museums!
Just like every big city, free museum visits exist. It's a great thing to do on a rainy day!
This is my third week of classes in BA. I absolutely love the city and the atmosphere here. I look at the city as a place I can practice all the Spanish that I have learned in the classroom. By chatting with people at the kiosks, asking waiters specifics about a dish, or simply talking about my day with my host mom, I learn more about the Argentinian culture and work on my Spanish.