Background and details of the city
Buenos Aires was founded in 1580, growing to become the capital of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. It was no more than a provincial city until the late 19th century, when prosperity and an influx of immigrants contributed to its transformation into a cosmopolitan capital of broad avenues, varied architectural styles, music from opera to tango, theaters and cafés, bustling downtown streets and quite corners in the "barrios." Currently, Argentina faces the challenges and excitement of consolidating its democratic institutions and creating models for sustainable socioeconomic growth.
Buenos Aires invites the newcomer to explore it, and offers activities appealing to almost any interest. The surrounding areas offer sports ranging from horseback riding to water skiing, and opportunities such as visiting a ranch, or walking vast beaches on the Atlantic. Besides being the cultural capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires is also the industrial and economic center of the country with a metropolitan population of about 12 million people.
The program's office and classrooms are located at the University of Palermo. It is an urban institution with its buildings and facilities located in a central, yet quite residential neighborhood easily reached by public transportation. You will have access to the computer center, library, and to all the facilities, including sports. Shops, an elegant shopping mall, restaurants, cafés, bookstores, movie houses, and apartment buildings surround the University.
Buenos Aires is a large city with excellent public transportation: subways, buses, and suburban trains. A number of students may live within walking distance from the university; others will use public transportation.
Studying, participating in the life of the city, and living with your host family add up to an experience that will shape your academic, intellectual, and social life. It's life, Buenos Aires style!
The Resident Director (a professor from Knox College), the Assistant Director, and the Housing Coordinator (an Argentine native) will be at the Buenos Aires airport to welcome you. You will stay at a hotel as a group for an initial two day orientation period where you'll have the opportunity to learn about your new city, university, and professors. Then you'll meet and join your new family -- your Spanish host family.
You will live and eat your meals with your Argentine family. Thus you are plunged into the Argentine life and are obliged to speak Spanish immediately upon arrival. Almost invariably, the relationship that you'll develop with your host family is a close one and becomes one of the most valuable and cherished experiences of your stay. The homestay is one of the cornerstones of the program.
While in Buenos Aires, you'll experience several Spanish festivals. Enjoy a day off from school, have a picnic in the park, and join friends for a party in a disco on "Día del Estudiante" or "Day of the Student" which takes place on September 1st. "Día de la Hispanidad" or "Hispanic Day" (October 12th) is a festive national holiday which commemorates the date Christopher Columbus first set foot on the Americas and is celebrated with a break from classes.
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