As part of our immersion experience, cultural workshops are offered weekly at no additional cost to all enrolled Vamos Spanish students.
We know that beyond just wanting to master the Spanish language, our students are also looking forward to learning about the Argentine culture and Buenos Aires lifestyle. Be it finding out how the public transportation works, wanting to know what that stranger is trying to say to you with his or her frantic gestures, or wondering what that drink is that all the Argentines are constantly sipping while walking down the streets etc., there’s no doubt that a curious mind will be filled to the brim with queries. That’s where our workshops come in. They provide the opportunity for interested students to get together and explore topics like these in a laid-back environment. We’ll answer all the whys, whats and hows, share useful tips, and in the process make you a wiser traveller in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Each workshop is hosted by one of our knowledgeable staff who will walk you through all the basics of the day’s topic and field any questions you may have. Topics of the workshops rotate on a weekly basis to suit the needs of the always changing mix of students attending the school every week.
Here are some of our popular workshops among Vamos Spanish students:
Get around Buenos Aires like a local!
Buenos Aires is a big city and has a very good but intricate web of public transport system. While some are easy to figure out, like the subway, but others, like the buses, not so much. We’ll show you how to get from your front door to hundreds of places around the city without having to pay the taxi fare. Find out why taking the bus in Buenos Aires (see point #5) is your first important step toward living like a local.
Yerba Mate Workshop
Since 2013, yerba mate has been officially decreed as the National Infusion of Argentina. Even without such formal recognition, yerba mate is the steamy hot drink that every Argentine can’t live without. Unlike other types of drinks, you cannot order yerba mate in a typical restaurant or café (you may get the tea bag kind but that’s not the real deal!). In this workshop, you’ll learn how to prepare the perfect mate, the proper etiquette of consuming it, and most important of all, you’ll get to taste it.
Interesting Read: Yerba Mate vs Coffee – The Internal Debate of a Confused Gringo in Argentina.
A large part of the Argentine population are descendents of Italian immigrants who came to this country during the late 1800s and early 1900s. You can see the Italian influences in many aspects of the Argentine culture, especially when it comes to how they communicate. Italians are known for speaking with their hands, and that habit has passed onto their Argentine descendents. So to help you get around Argentina, we’ll decipher the hand gestures that are most commonly used and which you can also pick up and use easily without causing misunderstanding.
This is a language-related workshop suitable for students of all levels. The Spanish language is spoken in many countries, but there are bound to be regional differences that make the vocabulary of each place unique, and Buenos Aires is no exception. We will teach you some common phrases and useful expressions (not slang–for that, see our ‘Lunfardo’ workshop below) that you’ll come across and can use on a daily basis, allowing you to converse in a more natural manner.
Unlike the ‘Everyday Talk’ workshop, this language-related workshop is all about slang expressions, or lunfardo in Spanish. Lunfardo is strictly used in Buenos Aires and its surrounding areas. While lunfardo has humble beginnings, originally used most often by criminals and the lower class, it has since spread and is now used by all social classes. This spread is largely thanks to tango songs, many of which have used lunfardos in their lyrics. Nevertheless, in order to use them properly (some can be quite offensive if used incorrectly), it does require a deeper understanding of the culture as well as the Spanish language. In this workshop, we’ll touch on those that are easier and less likely to cause major problems, so you can be cool without the risk of embarrassment.
Does lunfardo sound too daunting? You can still speak and sound like an Argentine without it.
Being a country with a dark and troubling past, filmmaking in Argentina has always served as an important outlet of emotional release and cultural expression for both the creators and the audience. Argentine movies generally tend to be more thought-provoking than entertaining, and it is through this medium that you may able to get a glimpse of the complex psyche behind our country’s population. Many Argentine films are recognized internationally and have won many awards. Every Thursday afternoon, the school hosts a screening of a newly selected Argentine movie.
For more information, here is a brief read about Argentine cinema and its noteworthy movies.