Life in Argentina with Vanina C
Vanina C is our guest speaker for TCB Masterclass 8. She is an English and Spanish teacher, who runs her own education business, called The World Institute.
Vanina is based in Buenos Aires and loves to meet international friends. From what people like to eat, country’s love for football, to how Argentineans interact with each other, we’re glad to have Vanina share 5 facts about life in Argentina with us.
A local in Argentina would speak Spanish
You might be thinking: “But wait a moment, Argentina is not in Europe, why would they speak Spanish? Spain is in Europe”. People in Argentina actually speak Spanish!
While English is a compulsory subject during school, and you might hear it in an English talk show, but Spanish is the national language. When you meet international friends in Uruguay, Chile and countries near Argentina, expect that they will be native Spanish speakers too.
Meat is popular, especially barbeque meat
In 2016, people in Argentina consumed over 5 billion pounds of beef. This was second only to Uruguay in terms of per capital consumption. It’s clear that this is a country of meat-lovers.
If you want to travel Argentina, you can expect to encounter aromas of Asado, the Spanish word for barbeque. It could be ribs, pork, Patagonian lamb or grilled vegetables that you smell while walking through the busy streets of the country’s capital city, Buenos Aires. In any case, you don’t need a food website to tell you: have your stomach ready for a feast.
Mate is a very popular drink
This is not the same word that you would commonly hear when settling in Australia. It’s “mate”, pronounced “Maar-teh”. It is a traditional drink which is very similar to tea, but contains more caffeine.
On a typical day of a local from Argentina, time would be spent preparing the green, finely chopped leaves that provide Mate with its earthy and slightly bitter flavour. It is enjoyed amongst groups of friends and family in a round gourd that is passed around. The chopped leaves cover the base of the straw, which acts as a filter while the warm tea is being sipped.
There are many different landscapes
A tip to know when you travel Argentina is that it’s the eighth largest country in the world. In South America, it’s the second largest. In fact, it accounts for most of South America’s lower half. When you are in Buenos Aires, you might get the impression that there are buildings everywhere, but Argentina actually is home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. This has created a proud fact: Argentina has two of the seven Natural Wonders of South America.
Near the border with Chile sits Aconcagua, a mountain that reaches over 6,900m in height. There are prominent glaciers that make this mountain, and its surroundings, a formidable landscape. On the border with Brazil is Iguazu Falls. This waterfall holds the significance of being the largest waterfall system in the world, with 275 different waterfall drops.
The love for football is national
If you know the game, you will have heard of Diego Maradona. He is emblematic of Argentinean football, and more broadly, represents an international Argentinean identity.
Since the British introduced football to Argentina in the 19th century, the sport has come to dominate the everyday lives of locals. Having produced some of the world’s best players, including a certain Lionel Messi, Argentina has two clubs who are famous world-wide. Boca Juniors (where Maradona began his career) and River Plate.