On Learning Spanish in Buenos Aires


Buenos Aires up in the distance, as seen from Costanera Sur  nature reserve

I have now come to the end of my four weeks of Spanish classes in Buenos Aires. I did briefly consider extending for another couple of weeks, but I think I will benefit more from a little break, where I consolidate what I already know and try to actually use it in the real world.

It’s scary; I much prefer to do all my Spanish speaking safely within the confines of my classroom, rather than have to communicate in the big bad city out there.


Protests in Plaza Mayo

Buenos Aires is not an ideal choice for learning Spanish. Firstly, it is relatively expensive when you compare it to schools in places like Guatemala and Ecuador.

However I picked a time and a place that is convenient for me, and this turned out to be it. I’ve wanted to come to Argentina for as long as I can remember and have been boring people with tales about it for more years then I care to admit, and so I was determined to do it this time. This course has given me the perfect ‘excuse’ to stay.

The language as spoken here can be a bit complicated if you have previously learned in other countries. For example, the ll sound, which is normally pronounced y, in Argentina is pronounced as a sh sound, or sometimes more of a j sound. Then they have a whole different vocabulary going on, particularly for clothes and vegetables.

It all adds to my problems. I see the irritation in people’s faces sometimes, when I don’t understand some simple instructions, or when I can’t follow what I’m supposed to be doing in my yoga class. When I’m having a bad day, this irritation can be quite isolating.


Looking out at the world from my room in the Airbnb I have christened Barbie’s playpen

However on my better days I just ignore it and remember that we’re exactly the same in London. We live busy lives and don’t want the added irritation of dealing with somebody who doesn’t speak the language well enough.

Anyway, I will be in Buenos Aires for just another week now, and then I will be heading onwards. It’s not that I don’t love it here but the city is working out too expensive for my needs and I will have to find somewhere cheaper to put down my roots.


The botanical gardens, looking very botanical.  Great place to nap in the shade on an afternoon.  Free.

I knew all this at the start; a brief internet search will show you how much things cost here and then you need to add on another 20% to whatever they say, because prices are rising daily.

I knew it most likely wouldn’t work out for me to stay here long term but I came anyway because I really, really wanted to spend a couple of months in Buenos Aires. But now I am taking a slow meander in the direction of Peru.  I have in my possession a plethora of bus tickets.

2 replies »

  1. Wow! Peru. Now I am jealous. I would love to go there! I have turned green. I can see why you need to move on, it makes sense. I am assuming they speak Spanish in Peru ….. see I told you I did not know much about South America. I know what you mean about using a language. It is a big scary. But you must keep chatting away. What is that saying …… use it or lose it! Safe travels my friend xxx

    • Yeah this whole learning Spanish thing was one of the main reasons I picked to come here. All the countries from Argentina up to Mexico speak Spanish, apart from Brazil where they speak a form of Portuguese. Brazil has never really interested me for some reason.
      We’ll see what Peru has to offer.

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