Immerse yourself in Argentine life by living in a rural village on this summer Spanish language immersion and service program for high school students. From the gregarious people and rugged natural beauty of your South American host village, to the colonial splendor of Salta, to sophisticated and thriving Buenos Aires, explore the fascinating cultural and geographic range of this South American gem.
- July 1, 2013 - July 29, 2013
- Students completing grades 10-12
- Language Learning
- Typical Group:
- 16-18 students, 2 leaders
- 4 week(s)
Live together in a welcoming host village nestled in the Traslasierra Valley of Argentina’s central province, Córdoba. This is a place remarkable both for its natural beauty and for the open friendliness of local people – you will never be at a loss for conversation! Start your Spanish off on the right foot by taking the Putney language learning pledge, promising to use only Spanish to communicate with each other, our village hosts, and the many wonderful Putney friends and contacts we meet. Our philosophy is to learn by doing: as a group we immediately engage in a variety of meaningful volunteer projects that involve collaborating with community members. Volunteer on small-scale building repair and renovation, visit schools to help with health and safety outreach efforts, and distribute meals at shelters and food banks. Soon you notice that you are speaking more comfortably, and your Spanish has taken on a momentum of its own. Expand your vocabulary as you buy food for a group picnic lunch at the mercado, interview a village elder about her family history, or tell a story to a group of Argentine children. Throughout the month, your leaders supplement this real-life experience with language lessons, creative exercises, and fun interactions that further your learning. Students who complete the program can expect to receive 30-50 hours of community service.
Village accommodations are simple, but comfortable. We live in 3-6 person well-apportioned bungalows with separate cabins for girls and boys; bathrooms are clean and plain. We sleep in sleeping bags on beds, and cook and eat meals together as a group. Argentine cuisine features an abundance of fresh meats, vegetables, pastas, and pizzas. Picnic lunches and dinners at small family-run restaurants provide a change of pace and new opportunities to practice Spanish.
During the third week in our host community, match up with a local “brother” or “sister.” Spend the daytime hours together and take meals with their family. Ride bicycles around the town plaza, help out in the family business, catch an Argentine telenovela, and experience Argentine life and language with your new friends. Swapping language lessons with Argentine family members is a great way to build fluency and spoken confidence as you tell stories, go on outings, and have fun. Return to our group accommodations in the evening to share your experiences and new-found knowledge of Argentine culture.
Spend weekends together with the group, getting off the beaten track in beautiful Cordoba Province. Take a day-trek through the Andean foothills, visit local markets, ride a zip line, and practice your Spanish with everyone you meet along the way.
Our final week together is set aside for visiting two of Argentina’s most emblematic cities: bustling, colonial Salta in the Northwest, and the culturally vibrant capital of Buenos Aires. It becomes immediately apparent how much your Spanish has improved as you and your group see plays, attend concerts and sporting events, and seek out authentic tango dance halls. Share one final gourd of hot, steeped mate before bidding farewell to Argentina, knowing that you bring home with you greater language skills and lifelong friendships.
“The night before Día del Amigo, we had a dance with the local students in Villa de Las Rosas that ran very late. A local girl, Mariana, offered to walk our group home even though her house was in the other direction. Following the tradition for best friends, she and I stayed together until midnight so that I would be the first person she saw on Día del Amigo. She and I are now Facebook friends, and we talk almost every day.”
- Katherine Callaghan, Concord High School, Concord, NH
- Practice your soccer vocab during a pick up game of fútbol with local students.
- Use your Spanish to bargain at the mercado and assemble a fresh picnic lunch.
- Volunteer with Argentine friends to paint classrooms at the local elementary school.
- Learn to make empanadas during a cooking lesson in our host village.
- Soar over the scenic Juramento River on a zip line.
What to Expect
Language Learning Argentina is a Spanish immersion program. You must have completed at least two years of Spanish, be eager to speak Spanish with native speakers and within your group, and want to immerse yourself in Argentine life and culture. Our service work, as well as afternoon and weekend activities, can be strenuous. Everyone participates in all of the group’s projects on a rotating basis, and everyone lends a hand in meal preparation and cleanup. Accommodations are simple with separate space for boys and girls, and basic bathroom facilities. You should come to the program with an open-mind, eager to participate in new experiences and interested in exploring another culture and way of life.
At Putney we take pride in our reputation for careful, thorough planning and attention to detail. The descriptions of our high school summer programs abroad are based on our experiences in previous summers and our plans for this summer. It is inevitable that some things described here will not happen exactly as presented. To get the most out of the Putney experience, participants need to be flexible in responding to unforeseen situations, and creative in taking advantage of unexpected opportunities. We expect Putney participants to share responsibility for the success of their experience.
Putney organizes escorted international flights. Please consult us for fares.
Learn about last year’s program by reading the 2012 Language Learning Argentina Blog.
This program begins and ends at Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida.
Program Departure • Join your group at the Miami International Airport to embark on a month-long Spanish immersion program in Argentina. Meet one of your leaders who accompanies the group to Buenos Aires.
Córdoba Province • Travel by charter bus to Córdoba Province, where we make our home in rural Valle Traslasierras. Live in group accommodations and complete community service projects in a local town, while participating in Spanish language lessons and exercises to complement our real-life learning.
“One of my favorite memories was our three-day trekking trip. I loved the small communities we stayed in because I felt like I was really in South America. We were forced to speak Spanish with the locals because that’s all they knew. I felt like I was much more than a tourist.”
- Caroline Campbell, Cherry Creek High School, Englewood, CO
The Family Experience • In the third week of the program, partner with an Argentine “brother” or “sister” during the day and see how quickly your Spanish improves! Ride bikes around the plaza, participate in a scavenger hunt organized by your leaders, help out around the family business, and share daytime meals. Return to the group at our shared accommodations each evening.
Outdoor Adventure and City Life in Salta • Language learning continues in the final week as we travel like native Argentines, transferring by bus to the northwestern provincial capital of Salta. Begin by rafting down the rapids of the Juramento River with local guides, and try zip lining across the scenic river canyon. Then return to the city to explore its colonial architecture and historic central plaza, ride the teleférico, and sample what locals call “the best empanada in the world.”
Buenos Aires • Fly from Salta to the capital and spend your last days in country getting to know the “big apple” of South America. You now have the Spanish language skills to take full advantage of the rich cultural offerings of the capital as you take a tango lesson, see an avant-garde theatre performance, visit Evita’s tomb, or tour the Boca Juniors’ soccer stadium.
Return • Accompanied by one of your leaders, depart from Ezezia International Airport in Buenos Aires and return to Miami International Airport, where you continue on to your final destination.
This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.
Background • Known throughout the Americas for the quality of its education system, a healthy national pride, and the extensive and rich vocabulary of the average person, Argentina is a vibrant melting pot of Spanish, Italian, and German cultural influences. From expansive pampas to Andean peaks to trendy cafes and tango clubs in Buenos Aires, Argentina is filled with opportunities for the active traveler. By living, working, and having fun with gregarious, open, and friendly Argentines, students find that their Spanish language skills grow naturally and quickly.
Population • Argentina is home to an estimated 40 million people. Almost 90 percent of the population self-identifies as “of European descent” and most Argentines can trace their lineage back to waves of European and Middle Eastern immigrants in 19th and 20th centuries. Among these groups, Italian and Spanish immigrants were most prevalent, but other large ethnic groups include German, Lebanese, French, and Irish.
Language • Spanish is the official language of Argentina. The Argentine accent, particularly in Buenos Aires, shows the influence of Italian intonation, and is famous for its almost musical cadence. Argentina provides an excellent environment for language acquisition because of its friendly population and abundant opportunities for interaction and fun.
“We would highly recommend Language Learning in Argentina to any parents looking for a growth environment in a cross-cultural experience. We wanted David to grow and to test his wings, and he certainly did.”
-– Julia Stewart, Charlotte, NC
Climate • July marks mid-winter in the Southern Hemisphere, and though temperatures are cool, Argentina sees significant regional variation due to changes in topography and latitude. In Buenos Aires, as well as in Córdoba Province, where we spend the bulk of our time, average high temperatures are in the 40s to high 50s during winter months. Salta, located closer to the equator, is more temperate, with typical highs reaching into the 60s. The weather does turn cooler in the evenings, particularly in the mountainous regions where we are traveling, so don’t forget to pack a winter jacket!
Cuisine • Argentina is one of the world’s largest producers of beef, and the Argentine diet is correspondingly high in protein with local people consuming an estimated 150 pounds of red meat annually! One taste of the traditional Argentine asado or barbecue of beef, ribs, and pork, and you will know why. A strong Italian cultural influence means that handmade pastas and raviolis filled with cheese and seasonal vegetables abound. Foods take on a more Andean flavor in the north, a region that boasts the world’s best empanadas. You can’t leave the country without trying an alfajore, a layered pastry filled with chocolate, dulce de leche, or jam.
Currency • The currency in Argentina is the Argentine Peso (ARS). An ATM card is the most convenient way to access cash.
Voltage • Electrical current in Argentina is 220V, and outlets accept plug types C (rounded two-prong) and I (angled flat three-prong). You will need a plug adapter, and may need a voltage converter in order to use electronics from the United States.
The Language Learning Argentina program is directed by Patrick Noyes. If you have questions, are interested in receiving more detailed information, or would like to talk further about the program or any of our high school summer programs abroad, please get in touch!
Patrick Noyes: Georgetown University, B.A., Spanish. After living for five years in Spain, Patrick joined Putney twelve years ago as leader of a Spain Language Learning program. He spent five summers with Excel in Spain, and has directed Excel at Amherst College, Excel China, and Excel Spain. Patrick has an unhealthy fascination with technology, which he tries to balance with healthier fascinations of camping, adventure races, architecture, and arthouse Spanish Cinema.
How To Apply
STEP 1: LOG ON.
STEP 2: HOLD A SPACE IN THE PROGRAM.
You can hold a space in a program by completing the Online Application Form, submitting a signed Agreement Form, and providing the $700 Application Deposit by Mastercard, Visa, or Discover Card through our secure online system or by sending a check to our office. Our admissions staff is also available to take credit card information over the phone. We will hold a space in a program for a reasonable time, pending completion of the full application process. See Step 3.
After March 15, we will hold a space temporarily as above, but we must receive full payment by check or wire transfer within three days to continue to hold a space in the program.
STEP 3: COMPLETE THE APPLICATION PROCESS.
Before we can make a final admissions decision, an application must be complete. In addition to the Application Form and Application Deposit described above, a complete application includes:
- Applicant Statement - Attach a statement explaining why you would like to join a Putney program and what you feel you can contribute to it. Your application cannot be processed without this statement. Approximately 150–300 words is sufficient. Global Action applicants’ statements must be 300-500 words addressing these questions, and detailing their interest and/or experience in the country and issues on which they wish to focus.
- Two Teacher Reference Forms
These documents are available as part of our Online Application. We review a completed application within a few days, and notify families of our admissions decision by e-mail.