In Buenos Aires, two of the most traditional things to do are to dance Tango and drink mate. Tango originated in the lower-class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires in the 1890s, and has ever since spread all over the world. It goes without saying, this highly traditional dance is displayed all over the city and lessons are easy to come by. Before coming down to Argentina to study Spanish, check out the Broadway Musicals Forever Tango and/or Tango Argentino, which travel to multiple destinations all over the world.
Aside from Tango, one of Argentina’s biggest pastimes is drinking hot water infused with dried leaves of the mate herb. To drink mate, one fills a gourd three quarters full with mate leaves and then fills it up with hot water. You drink the beverage through a stainless steel straw called the bombilla. The mate herb is said to be good for skin texture and also the digestive system. It is really an infusion of stimulants and caffeine, which is why many Argentines drink mate instead of coffee. In Argentine culture, mate is usually shared amongst friends or family in social settings. Drinking yerba mate amongst Argentines is a great Spanish immersion experience for those coming here to learn the language. If you find mate to be somewhat bitter, many prefer to add sugar or honey to sweeten the taste, which is often compared to green tea.
Here at Expanish, both private and group Tango courses are offered for those students willing to learn the traditional dance. Also, it is very common to share mate during classes with your teachers and other students here at our school. The teachers are very quick to teach you the secrets of mate preparation. The combination of tango and mate are great educational Spanish experiences in themselves. There is nothing like learning a new language than immersing yourself fully in the culture of that language, which is why dancing tango and drinking mate are great places to start.