Argentina is a great place to study Spanish. It’s a vast, beautiful country packed with culture, and the local twist on Spanish, Castellano makes it even cooler.
While most Argentines do study a little bit of English in school, relatively few speak it fluently, so visitors are inevitably forced to use Spanish or sign language to communicate at some point.
The more Spanish you speak as a visitor, the more people you can chat with while visiting.
And did you know learning a second language at any age and being bilingual is good for your brain?
Even if you already speak Spanish, you may want to take a couple of classes to learn about the regional use of ‘vos,’ Argentinismos and a bit of Lunfardo, the unique slang used extensively throughout the country, and especially in and around Buenos Aires and the River Plate region.
Self Study: Learning Spanish
For those who want to get a jump on their studies before arriving, there are a lot of great resources online for learning Spanish for autodidacts.
There are free apps that allow you to learn some basic phrases to get around.
The apps teach a more neutral Spanish, so language learners will have to keep in mind that Argentina has a particular accent and different vocabulary.
One online resource that is dated but tailored to Spanish learners in the River Plate region is the U.S. Peace Corps manual for volunteers in Uruguay. (opens in a new tab).
Argentina also puts out some excellent films, that feature the often, fast-talking unique dialogue of the locals to really tune one’s ears. Watching films (with subtitles in your native language if necessary) is a great way to train your ears to the Argentine dialect.
Check out our list of some of the best Argentine TV shows and films online.
Public Schools to Learn Spanish in Buenos Aires
Laboratorio de Idiomas, Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA)
The University of Buenos Aires Language Laboratory is an obvious option for inexpensive and high-quality Spanish classes.
Here you get a feeling for what its like to be a university student in Argentina — classes are excellent and the bar is set high. Classes are fun and it’s easy to make friends with other students, who tend to be quite an international mix.
The drawback is that as a public university the inscription is a bit chaotic, the classrooms have paint falling off the walls, and it’s a miracle if the bathrooms have toilet paper.
Students are not given the course material, but in charge of making their own photocopies of the study aids at a nearby copy shop.
Regular courses begin in March and August every year and have four hours of instruction per week for one semester.
Their ‘super-intensive’ one-month courses, with 15 hours of instruction per week, are a little more expensive. The university can also provide a certificate confirming that you passed either the basic, intermediate or advance Spanish to provide for school or work.
For those with advanced Spanish they also offer excellent courses in Spanish for foreigners including, ‘Spanish through Cinema,’ ‘Literature of the Rio Plate,’ ‘Culture and Conversation’ and ‘Immigrants in Buenos Aires.’
Language Laboratory of La UBA
25 de Mayo 221
Tel: 4343 1196 / 4334-7512 / 4342-5922
Instituto de Enseñanza Superior en Lenguas Vivas ‘Juan Ramón Fernández’ (Lenguas Vivas)
Founded in 1904, the Instituto de Enseñanza Superior en Lenguas Vivas, commonly called ‘Lenguas Vivas’ is a school set in a beautiful historic building in the Retiro neighborhood.
It functions as a secondary school and provides adult education in the late afternoon and evenings.
They offer two-month courses with eight hours of instruction per week or four-month courses with four hours of instruction per week.
These courses are great for those who speak well enough to get around, but want to keep improving at a steady pace.
They also offer more advanced classes than the University of Buenos Aires, which only goes up to ‘level seven’ Spanish.
Their Spanish classes, taught by ex-University of Buenos Aires professors, tend to be slightly less expensive than the university.
As with many state institutes, the professors are excellent but the administrative department is a disaster.
Carlos Pellegrini 1515
Tel: 4322-3992 /96/ 98
Private Spanish Schools in Buenos Aires
—this section graciously sponsored by Wanderlust Spanish —
Private Spanish schools are a good option for those who don’t want to deal with the bureaucracy of a state school or whose schedules don’t fit with the classes offered at those institutes.
Additionally, private schools tend to offer a smaller class size for more personalized instruction, extracurricular activities, and creature comforts such as nice chairs, classrooms with heat and air conditioning and beverages.
One alternative Spanish school in Buenos Aires, with high quality, personalized learning is Wanderlust Spanish.
Located in the heart of the city’s leafy, bohemian Palermo neighborhood, the school is housed in a typical Buenos Aires mansion, with a lovely outdoor terrace for classes in the open air.
With a focus on creating a relaxing, informal environment, the four-year-old school aims to break out of the boring mold of traditional learning, where students stare at a blackboard and take notes while the teacher delivers the lesson.
Here the classes are small, informal group classes that play to each student’s individual learning style. Their first goal for beginners is to make students comfortable with the basics of the language. Once the basics are covered, students can build on that with vocabulary, learning typical Rio Plate-style Spanish expressions.
They are eager to share with students not only Argentina’s unique style of Spanish but the country’s customs, music, history, culture and lifestyle.
Based on the idea that the perfect Spanish course book for everyone doesn’t exist, Wanderlust created their own learning materials that includes familiarizing students with inclusive ‘Latinx’ language.
The student body here includes digital nomads, expats and backpackers. The school can also arrange accommodation as well as extracurricular activities that will allow students to improve their language skills while having fun.
In 2021 they are adding additional classes for advanced learners on topics such as tango, Argentine literature and feminism.
Tell them Wander Argentina sent you and get a free introductory class in person or online!
Wanderlust Spanish offers an intensive Spanish course of 20 hours per week (four hours per day), which is the perfect amount if you are really eager to learn fast.
Their semi-intensive Spanish course of 10 hours per week (two hours per day), and their light Spanish course of nine hours per week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and private lessons.
They also offer private online classes with a range of teachers that includes native speakers from all of the countries in Latin America.
Each variety of Spanish has a distinct identity and understanding these differences is important for language learners.
Even for advanced speakers, a refresher course on regional differences in Spanish can be a good way to prep for a pleasure or work trip to a new region.
Students can purchase packs of classes in increments of five, 10 or 20 and up, learning at their own pace.
Raúl Scalabrini Ortiz & Córdoba
Another option is to sign up for a good online course that you can do at your own pace to Learn Spanish Online.
→ Read our guide on how to learn Argentine Spanish online on Wander-Argentina.org
→ also see ‘How to Speak Spanish like an Argentina‘ on Wander-Argentina.org
Do you want your private Spanish school listed here? Get in touch to arrange a visit.