New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

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New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Tips and tricks for your time abroad at NYU Buenos Aires

From partying with the locals to the desserts you have to try, here’s what you should know about Argentina from someone who’s been here for two semesters.
Camila Ceballos
File photo: The Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires in 2016. (Camila Ceballos for WSN)

About 100 students make the trip to NYU Buenos Aires each year, prepped only with a handful of tips from an NYU orientation on Argentina’s capital city. Nothing prepares you for a city quite like living there — but luckily, I’ve been in Buenos Aires for eight months and picked up some tips along the way that you might want to know about the city before packing your bags.

People might say insensitive things.

If you look different, people tend to stare. As an Asian person, there were a couple of times when people said explicitly racist things to me. But, more commonly, people speculate where I’m “really” from. More often than not, these questions don’t come from a place of malice, but being constantly reminded of how different you look is exhausting. On the positive side, catcalling is basically nonexistent — and actually illegal — compared to a few years ago because of the Ni Una Menos movement. If you’re not used to standing out, though, I would just be prepared to feel more observed than usual.

Argentina is huge, but it’s worth seeing as much of it as you can.

Since Argentina is such a big country, you can’t jet between cities for a few dollars like you can in Europe. There are still amazing places to visit both in and outside the country, but it is more work to plan and much more expensive. Plane tickets are the biggest expense, and you may need to rent a car for some trips, which adds up quickly. Argentina is a beautiful and diverse country in terms of landscape. If you have a longer break, like spring break, I would recommend going to Brazil since it’s only a three-hour plane ride away.

For weekend trips, every province in Argentina is worth visiting. You can take a bus basically everywhere — though it might take a while — but you can also travel by plane or car. Whether you’re horseback riding in the mountains in Mendoza, seeing the salt flats in San Salvador de Jujuy or hiking glaciers in Patagonia, it’s worth getting all of your work done before the weekend so you can enjoy as much of the country as possible.

In Buenos Aires, cash reigns supreme over your debit card.

If you only take away one lesson from this article, it should be to bring enough cash, as well as a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. My biggest frustration with the pre-departure orientation was the lack of information about how necessary cash is to bring. Your life will be easier if you bring cash from the United States and exchange it into Argentinian pesos as you go. I would recommend bringing at least $1,000. Depending on how much you want to travel and what activities you want to do, it might not be overkill to bring a few thousand dollars — but make sure to declare it to customs if you end up bringing cash amounts over $10,000. And if possible, make sure that the bills are of good quality, for instance, no rips or pen marks, because you will get a bad rate if your bills have even the smallest of defects. Yes, there are ATMs and you can wire yourself money to pick up with services like Western Union, but you lose money to fees each time you do this. Save yourself the headache and just bring all the money you plan on spending in cash.

If you don’t like Argentinian food, prepare to struggle.

In New York City, we are used to having every cuisine available day and night. While empanadas, sándwiches de miga, choripán, asado and other Argentinian dishes are amazing, you might be left wanting if you’re in the mood for something different. I had withdrawals from pizza, Chinese takeout and post-bar Thai — among other of my usual cravings — when I first came to Buenos Aires. Good non-Argentinian food takes some searching to find. I didn’t believe previous students when they told me that I’ll miss the options that New York has to offer, but I really should have. Argentines also don’t really do spicy food, so I would bring your favorite hot sauce with you.

To save you some time, here are some of my favorite restaurants. For Vietnamese or Thai food, my favorite is Cang Tin. For Korean food, try Fa Song Song. For Chinese and Szechuan food, I like Ma La Tang. The best Colombian food has to be El poblado bar colombiano, and if you want some classic New York City pizza, I prefer Hell’s Pizza.

The ice cream is ridiculously good.

I can’t fully explain in writing how delicious the gelato and ice cream is in Argentina. This alone is a very legitimate reason to visit Buenos Aires. Argentina is especially known for “helado,” a perfect in-between of ice cream and gelato, served at a slightly warmer and softer texture than both creamy treats. There’s a chain called Rapanuí which has a mind-blowing pistachio flavor. But almost every flavor at every shop is delicious, so you can’t go wrong.

Administration is more strict with absences and deadlines.

In my experience, the professors in New York usually don’t really care if you’re absent from a lecture and administration doesn’t get involved, or at the very least, it varies from class to class. But at least at the Buenos Aires study away site, administration takes absences much more seriously. Skipping more than three classes can affect your grade and they will track you down to tell you that. Also, deadlines for finals are usually flexible in New York — at least in the humanities, which is my area — but the grades at study abroad sites seem to have a strict deadline, so I would plan ahead and get your ducks in a row before finals week starts.

The nightlife is phenomenal.

The bar and club culture in Buenos Aires lives up to the hype. Whether you want to enjoy a chill drink after dinner, bar hop or dance, this city has it all. There are all kinds of music too, like reggaeton, house, techno, rock, cumbia, etc. Palermo is the biggest and most popular neighborhood to enjoy a night out, but cool spots can be found throughout the city. Make sure to build up your stamina, though, because Argentines party until the sun rises.


Contact Sandy Battulga at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Sandy Battulga
Sandy Battulga, Music Editor
Sandy is a sophomore double-majoring in comparative literature and social and cultural analysis. When she's not complaining about her love-hate relationship with writing, she can usually be found reading Asian American literature, rewatching some sitcom, or badly playing the guitar. You can catch her on Instagram @sandysonata.
Camila Ceballos
Camila Ceballos, Multimedia Editor
Camila Ceballos is a sophomore majoring in International Relations and minoring in Social Entrepreneurship. She is not Camila Cabello, and be careful not to confuse them, or else. In her free time, she likes to take her camera everywhere and take pictures of people and places in New York. Camila's current purpose in life are photo essays and NYFW. She's always down to go to yoga or talk about the NBA (especially the Lakers), so talk to her at [email protected] and follow her at @camilaceballoss to give her some clout.

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