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2016-04-22

How to Fully Immerse Yourself in the Buenos Aires Lifestyle

Written by Lucy Courtnall
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Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires

When moving to a new city it can be normal to feel detached from the community and lifestyle of those who have been living there for a long time. However, it`s easy to overcome this feeling in Buenos Aires as the city has much to offer travellers who want to do more than just pass through. Here are some tips to make you feel more integrated in the Buenos Aires lifestyle:

GET LOST

There's no better way to get to know a city than to explore and get lost in it. Because of the organised grid design with roads extending for miles, Buenos Aires is the perfect city to wander as you will always discover a familiar road and be able to find your way home.

Walk up and down all of the side streets and you'll discover little gems such as hidden book shops and wonderful little cafes nestled among the high rise buildings. Within a few weeks you will (quite literally) know the city streets like the back of your hand, which helps to make you feel more at home in this now familiar new city.

Once you feel more comfortable with your local area, why not explore further afield via bus, train or Subte. There is so much more to see on the outskirts of el Centro, and public transport is very safe and efficient. Soon you will be able to recite bus routes as easily as your ABCs!

USE THE LANGUAGE

Portenos are very proud of their culture and will really appreciate your efforts to use their own form of Castellano. The `ll` sound which comes out as a `Y` in Spanish is pronounced as a `shh` in Buenos Aires, which will feel very alien at first but soon you`ll find your own pronunciation changes with little effort. Using this form can help you communicate much better.

It's also good to learn a few slang phrases or words which are unique to Argentina. For example they say ´boliche´ instead of ´discoteca´ and use `aca`/`alla` much more than `aqui`/`alli`. Here is a useful link for Argentine slang: https://www.gringoinbuenosaires.com/argentine-slang-dictionary/argentine-slang-phrases/

The most important thing to do is talk to people!! Porteños are extremely friendly and always keen to help you learn more about their culture. Even if it`s just having a chat with the lady at the Post Office during one of her quieter days, or stopping to talk to the guys who work at the pizza shop to ask about the football or the weather, talking to people can really help you feel more at home.

Try attending some events such as Mundo Lingo, where you can practice your Spanish and meet new people who are also living in Buenos Aires. Most local people will happily offer to give you a tour of their city and recommend good things to do. This is a great way to make friends in the city and feel much more a part of it rather than a passer through.

GET INVOLVED WITH THE COMMUNITY

Start to build up a routine or live like a local rather than a tourist. You can do this by joining classes, for example at the gym. The Facultad de Derecho in Recoleta offers a full timetable of exciting classes from Swimming to Kickboxing, and is very cheap. This is a great way to keep fit, improve your Spanish and make lasting connections within the community. The other students and young people are very friendly and make sure you feel welcome both within the classes and within their beloved city. Alternatively, you can join a local gym or Crossfit centre to meet with people from your local area.

Other ways to experience more of Buenos Aires culture is to go to the multitudes of cinemas, theatres, musical recitals, art gallery open evenings and book fairs that occur throughout the city. Cine Gaumont, near Congreso offers a wide range of Argentinian-made films for only $8 pesos per showing. The Teatro Colon often has free orchestral recitals during the afternoons or cheap standing tickets ($60) to their ballets and operas. The Facultad de Derecho also offers free orchestral recitals some evenings.

On top of this, there are frequent milongas and tango shows where you can watch amateurs dance for free. Feel free to join in and learn a few steps beforehand for the true Tango experience!

ACT LIKE A PORTENO

One of the best ways to feel at home in Buenos Aires is to follow the Porteno lifestyle. Sit in a café for hours, discussing literature or watching people go about their daily business. Visit a famous pizza place and stand up to eat your meal amongst the local businessmen, or visit a bar to watch a football match with the rowdy sports crowd.

Soon you will find yourself eating dinner in the very latest part of the evening, partying until the early hours of the morning and walking home through the streets as the sun rises along with the rest of the young Argentine population.

Within no time, you will feel so at home in the city that you`ll forget what it was like to eat at `normal` times, visit only tourist attractions, and needing a map to navigate the city. At this point it`s safe to say that you`ve fully embraced the Buenos Aires lifestyle and can call yourself a true honorary porteno.

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