Buenos Aires is a large bustling city full of rich history in every little nook and cranny. Yet, at the same time it is paving the way for the future as well in fashion, art, music, food, business, technology, science, architecture and so much more. Check out our CAPA Buenos Aires Blog and Instagram below to see what CAPA students have to say.
Latest Posts from Buenos Aires
- A Guide to the Food Culture of Buenos AiresIn Sky's latest blog, she shares an inside look at the food scene in Buenos Aires, as well as the culture around food. Read more and find out what it's like to be a picky eater in Buenos Aires! read more
- My Experience With Remote Learning AbroadAfter just three weeks in Buenos Aires this spring, Sky Dedrick and her classmates had to pack up and return to the US to finish the remainder of the semester remotely. Find out more about her transition to virtual learning and her experience with Austral University. read more
- Home Away From Home – Inside A Buenos Aires Study Abroad HomestaySky is no stranger to homestay living abroad. On this go around, she settles in at her Buenos Aires accommodations and shares how she came to live with her host mom and flatmates. She also shares how this experience can build up your language skills, provides read more
Latest Posts on Instagram
Multicultural Buenos Aires
“Multiculturalism is the co-existence of diverse cultures, where culture includes racial, religious, or cultural groups and is manifested in customary behaviours, cultural assumptions and values, patterns of thinking, and communicative styles.”
Source: The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions November 2013
A Little Bit of History
Argentina was inhabited exclusively by indigenous groups until the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century, mainly from Spain and Italy. Beginning in the 17th century, Africans were brought to the shores of Argentina through the slave trade. Immigration from Spain and Italy was particularly heavy between 1860 and 1930. Large numbers of Jewish communities also fled Europe, finding a safe home in Buenos Aires. Today, people from around the world continue to move to Buenos Aires, particularly from East Asia, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe. Among Buenos Aires’ 48 neighborhoods, called barrios, you will find Belgrano, home to a large Chinatown community, and once, the center of Argentina’s Jewish population.
Spanish is the official language of Argentina and is spoken by nearly everyone, but you may notice a strong influence of Italian as well. There are over 1 million Italian speakers in Argentina, and even Argentinean Spanish can be spoken with an Italian sound. You may also come across speakers of Arabic, German, French, and English. Across Argentina, indigenous South American languages like Quechua and Mapudungun are still spoken widely, while others are on the verge of extinction.
The most recent census in 2010 and The World Factbook published by the Central Intelligence Agency published fascinating statistics:
- Buenos Aires alone has a population of approximately 15.18 million.
- It is home to the second largest Jewish population in the Americas after New York.
- 2% are Jewish or practice Judaism.
- At least 40 different languages are spoken with Spanish as the official language.
- Top Spoken Languages: Italian, German, English, and French
- About 1 million people speak Levantine Arabic.
- 5% of the Argentine population was born outside of Argentina.
- Top 6 Countries of Birth: Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Italy
Source: By Mariano1989 – Own work by uploader, data from INDEC, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5510352
- 92% of the country identify as Roman Catholic however, less than 20% are practicing.
Reflect: What are the top five languages spoken in your home country?
Since 1936 five Argentines have won Nobel prizes: Carlos Saavedra Lamas (1936) and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (1980) for peace, Bernardo Houssay (1947) for medicine, Luis Federico Leloir (1970) for chemistry and César Milstein (1984) for biology. Also, did you know that Argentina recognizes and collects extensive transgender data? It is known to have a more welcoming legislation pertaining to gender identity.
As we learned in the History section above, Argentina was inhabited by indigenous people until about the 16th century, then its population began to grow immensely. In addition, to a national census the Argentine government also conducts a Complementary Survey of Indigenous Peoples (ECPI). Results showed:
- v 4% of the national population identifies as indigenous people.
- v Top Indigenous Languages: Mapuche, Guarani, Aymara, Toba, and Quechua
People from Around the World in Buenos Aires
As we have seen from the history and statistics Buenos Aires was a land built from immigration. Amongst the populations who have influenced Argentina’s cultural tradition are West Africans, Chinese, and Irish.
“The gray, cracked, dusty walls are adorned with crosses, photos, icons — things people leave to mark their pilgrimage. A low front altar is layered with thick candle wax, flowers and a pantheon of black saints, Madonnas and African deities like the sea goddess Yemanja of the Yoruba religion.”
–Michael T. Luongo, Argentina Rediscovers Its African Roots
Read more in the New York Times article Argentina Rediscovers Its African Roots.
“When the Irish first arrived in Argentina they retained a strong cultural identity but after a couple of generations most integrated with Argentines and many average citizens lost touch with their Irish roots, but in recent years there has been a surge of interest in Irish culture.”
-The Irish in Argentina
Learn more about Irish immigration to Argentina by reading The Irish in Argentina.
Reflect: Who are your neighbors now? Who do you think they will be in Buenos Aires?
Food, Festivals, and Celebrations
Since Argentina is salad bowl much like the United States, the demand for a food culture that represents the population has always been present. Around 2012 there was a foodie surge. Chefs from around the world relocated to Buenos Aires to answer the demand. Some flavor punching ingredients come from places like Peru, South America, Italy and Mexico!
If you are a cultural food lover check out the following articles:
“Argentina may be founded on Italian immigration, but it does pizza its own way: thick bready base, easy on the tomato, oozing with mozzarella. It’s the ultimate comfort food and that’s why this place is always packed.”-Top 10 Restaurants in Buenos Aires
“Henry serves up an inventive fusion menu inspired by Central American, Peruvian, Hawaiian, Californian and Asian street food, with four tapas-like dishes that change every week.”–Innovative cuisine pops up in Buenos Aires
“Similar to the way that Peruvian food embraced Chinese influences, or Tex-Mex cuisine grew out of cultural integration in the American Southwest, many restaurants in Buenos Aires are offering a distinct new take on Mexican fast food dishes.” –The Unlikely Rise of Mexican Food in Buenos Aires
Reflect: What is the ‘national dish’ of your country? What types of markets and shops do you think will be in your neighbor?
The more you read the more you may be discovering that Buenos Aires is a vibrant, expressive city and that does not stop when it comes to celebrations and festivals. The Buenos Aires government is working towards strengthening intercultural exchange through Celebrating Diversity.
Gender Identity and Equality in Buenos Aires
“Today, three years after its diversity programme began to be implemented, the company has six women senior managers – around 15 percent of the total, up from zero.”-Men Start to Make Women’s Struggles Their Own in Argentina
Gender identity and equality are two movements within Argentina that have gained significant momentum in recent years. It is said that Buenos Aires has one of the most progressive governments in Latin America. In 2012, Argentina also passed the ground-breaking Gender Identity Law ensuring better protections for and access to resources by the transgender community.
Resource: Gender Identity Law
“Argentina’s law goes well beyond those passed in Britain in 2004 and in Spain in 2007 that allow individuals to change their name and sex after receiving diagnoses of persistent gender dysphoria, a condition in which individuals feel trapped in the body of the wrong sex.”-Transgender Advocates Hail Law Easing Rules in Argentina
Reflect: How would you define culture? What cultures do you identify with outside of nationality and race?
“The province of Buenos Aires has approved a pioneering law requiring that at least 1% of jobs in public agencies be set aside for transvestites, transsexuals, and transgender people.
The provincial senate passed the law unanimously last week and it will go into effect in a few months.”-Buenos Aires Province Establishes Transgender Jobs Quota
Night falls on Buenos Aires, and as you email home with this week’s update, you share your experiences in this beautiful, historic city: your visits to the Evita and MALBA Art Museums; the cobblestone, café-lined streets that took you back in time; and the soccer match where you cheered like a native porteño with your new classmates. You pass along greetings from your host family, and close by reaffirming that you chose your perfect study abroad program. The city has been a delight to explore, and the neighborhood La Boca, known for the vibrantly colored houses and pedestrian street the Cainito, where tango artists perform in the street, has become one of your favorite areas.
This energetic port city has long been considered the gateway to Argentina, welcoming immigrants from all over the world, particularly Europe and the rest of Latin America. That’s why it is no longer surprising for you to see a German church sitting next to an Italian restaurant on a street named after a Spanish saint, or to hear Caribbean salsa beats pulsing through the street fair where you peruse Andean weaving. Buenos Aires is also the home of the only kosher McDonald’s outside of Israel, and the largest mosque in Latin America. Through your coursework at Austral and the varied My Global Education events each week, the stories of Buenos Aires are coming together to create a mosaic of culture, spirit, and connection, one that you can now place yourself in as well.
Located in the elegant part of Buenos Aires, Universidad Austral is a small, private university and the host of the CAPA program. Accessible by two subway stations, the university is near many famous landmarks like the Obelisk, Recoleta Cemetery, Teatro Colon, the Museum Mile, and more. Students will have access to all the amenities of the university including libraries, Wi-Fi, computer labs, meeting rooms, etc.