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How to Speak and Act Like a Local in Argentina

One of the best reasons to learn Spanish in person in an immersive environment is to pick up on the local dialect, slang and mannerisms. For students learning Spanish in Argentina, here is a little starter guide that will help you live like a local.

Audrey Smith
Audrey Smith
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How to Speak and Act Like a Local in Argentina

Have you ever visited a country and seen mannerisms, characteristics, or gestures that you were either shocked or confused by? This is very common when traveling to a country with a different culture than your own and it is important to be aware and try to adjust to that country’s cultural norms.

One of the most compelling reasons for immersive language learning is that you will quickly be able to pick up on how locals communicate with each other, both verbally and non-verbally. This is a far more dynamic and interesting way to learn a language, proving that it is much more than just grammar and vocabulary exercises. It's why at Expanish we focus on the communicative method of teaching Spanish, so our students start using the language - including local slang and gestures - from day one.

This is especially valuable in Argentina, where locals are very expressive and speak with a unique dialect that includes loads of fun slang and colloquial expressions (read more about them here!). At one of our intensive Spanish courses you will learn from authentic local teachers who can show you how to talk and act like a "porteño" (the name given to Buenos Aires residents).

5 Tips For Living Like a Local in Buenos Aires

Greetings

In Argentina, people always greet each other with a kiss which is sometimes also extended into a hug depending on how well you know the person. It is also proper to introduce yourself to a group of people rather than waiting for the host to do it; and yes, most likely everyone should receive a kiss. Our Spanish classes in Buenos Aires should prepare students to also add ‘mucho gusto’ (nice to meet you) or ‘encantada’ (charmed) to the greeting.

Pleases, Thank You’s, and You’re Welcomes

The people of Argentina are very polite and although laid-back in nature, still have very good manners. Students studying Spanish in Argentina, do not be afraid to say please, thank you, or you’re welcome whenever you can as kindness goes a long way over here. Here are some different ways to say it all in Spanish; Gracias (thank you); Muchas Gracias (thank you very much); Muy amable (very kind); Por favor (please); ¿Puede ser....?(would it be possible to...?); De nada (you’re welcome) Por nada (it's nothing).

Dress Code

Argentines are slightly more formal and conservative in their dress. It is a good idea for students in Spanish immersion courses in Buenos Aires, especially women, who would like to avoid that extra ‘attention’ to try to dress like the locals do. Men wear suits to work but often look well kept when not working. Women, although very fashionable, are more covered up even in the hot summer months. Try to dress depending on the situation, if you are not sure, just take a look at what others are wearing and imitate.

Hand Gestures

True to their Italian origin, Argentines also use many hand gestures to communicate and express feelings to others. Perhaps one of the most noted Argentine hand gesture is the hand swipe under the chin; this invokes the idea of the speaker having nothing left to say at their statement, of course, they do continue on talking. There are just too many hand gestures to describe so just keep an eye out and ask when you are not sure of its meaning.

Relationships

Oh this is a big one and for any students studying Spanish in Argentina that have dated someone from here will know there are many cultural differences to be observed. Perhaps this is too deep of a discussion for such a small article... let's just say that for you cross-cultural love birds out there, just keep in mind that cultural differences can create misunderstandings even when you are speaking about the same thing. But they can also create a much deeper level of communication and intimacy. The best advice is to be patient with your partner, ask questions, and be open to each other’s cultures.

Ready to test it out for yourself? For more information on Spanish immersion courses in Buenos Aires click here or contact us!

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