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I tested for you: Buenos Aires City Tour on Electric Bike – Bike n’Wander

In Courconnect, we try to highlight local activities that could interest our students. Moreover, we test them to ensure the qualities of these activities!

Few weeks ago, I personally tested for you the Buenos Aires City Tour on Electric Bike! This visit, provided by the company Bike n’Wander, has for peculiarity to be dedicated to the respect of the environment. Before the tour, we are invited to bring our own bottles and gourds to participate in the reduction of plastic consumption in the world.

In this article, you will follow my route during these 3 hours, from Recoleta to Palermo Soho. Then you could find some general information about the tour as well as my personal opinion about this activity.

 

We meet Natalia, our guide for today, at 9:15 in front of the Recoleta cemetery, in the neighbourhood of the same name. After a little welcome pitch, it’s time to discover our machines! The electric bike is a trendy means of transport that you could see in more and more cities in the world because, besides being environment-friendly, it brings the advantages of the bike while limiting the physical efforts. We are also equipped with an earphone connected with Natalia’s microphone who will tell us the history of different monuments of Buenos Aires that we will see. After a little warm-up to master the bike, we are ready to pedal in the city!

 

We are learning about the history of Buenos Aires in the first minutes, we passed in front of the National Gallery and a strategic residence of General San Martin, one of the iconic characters of the Argentinian Independence. We were following the Avenida Libertador when I realized that Buenos Aires is a city perfectly adapted to the circulation of cyclists; Natalia confirmed that the city has one of the best bike-path networks of the continent. We continued to the different parks of Palermo where it is even more pleasant to cycle.

After almost 1 hour, we entered in one of the numerous polo stadiums that the city has. We also see the Argentinian Hippodrome, one of the most known of the country. Then, we go back to Plaza Italia in order to arrive quickly in Palermo Soho. Near to Plaza Serrano we discovered some pieces of street art, very present in this neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. We took time to enjoy a banana and a cereal bar generously offered by Natalia before leaving the place to continue the visit in Palermo Soho.

 

 

Already two hours passed and we go back slowly to Recoleta, appreciating the sweetness of a bike ride. On our way, we discovered a monument honouring Eva Perón, one of the icons of the country who particularly worked in the right of votes for women. We finished our 3-hours loop where we began to ride, in front of the Recoleta cemetery.

So, this 3-hours tour enables us to know two of the most important cultural neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires: Palermo and Recoleta. However, the city is huge and it exists numerous other cultural attractions.  Bike n’Wander also proposes 5-hours and 7-hours city tours with a picnic included in the last one.

I did have a pleasant morning with this City Tour in Electric Bike. It was my first time on an electric bike and the machine is rather easy to use. However, even there is assistance, you will need all your legs to ride in the city, after a 3-hours tour, you could find some signs of exhaustion! Our guide Natalia was very sympathetic, always here to help us with our bike and she knows lots of anecdotes about the city of Buenos Aires. If you would like to discover the history and the treasures of Buenos Aires in an original manner, this activity is made for you!

 

 

 

The 3-hours tour cost $49,00 whereas the 5-hours tour cost $79,00 and the 7-hours tour cost $119,00. Besides the Spanish, the tour could be dispensed in English or in Brazilian Portuguese, but don’t hesitate to enjoy this tour in Spanish in order to enhance your Spanish skills with local guides!

 

All the information you could need is on the website: http://bikenwander.com

Spanish levels : Certificates and examinations

There are two international certificates that validate spanish as a second language.  Read this post to find out everything you need to know about them.

 

DELE (Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera)

dele

The DELE Certificate is provided by Instituto Cervantes from Spain.

DELE Certificates are recognized worldwide and have great prestige, not only amongst institutions and educative authorities but also amongst the business world and chambers of commerce.

In many countries, DELE have been adopted by educational authorities and learning centers as a complimentary evaluation programmes.

The Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language is an official qualification, recognized by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain. The exams are held at the Spanish Instituto Cervantes in each country, while the correction and evaluation of all tests is done at the University of Salamanca.

 

Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language (DELE) are divided into six levels:

 

– Spanish Diploma Level A1 (Breakthrough)

Certifies that the student is able to communicate using the language in a basic way in situations having to do with immediate needs or everyday situations.

 

– Spanish Diploma Level A2 (Waystage)

Certifies that the candidate can understand commonly used, everyday phrases and expressions related to areas of experience especially relevant to them (basic information about themselves, and their families, shopping, places of interest, work, etc.).

 

– Spanish Diploma Level B1 (Threshold)

Certifies candidates’ capacity to understand the gist of clear texts, in standard language, if they involve well-known topics related to work, studies or leisure. It also certifies students’ ability to deal with most situations that occur while travelling in areas where Spanish is spoken; to produce simple and coherent texts about familiar topics, or topics of personal interest; and lastly to be able to describe experiences, events, wishes and hopes, as well as to be able to briefly express opinions or explain plans.

 

– Spanish Diploma Level B2 (Vantage)

Certifies students’ ability to interact with native speakers with a sufficient degree of fluency and spontaneity to enable easy and natural communication between interlocutors; produce clear and detailed texts about diverse topics, as well as defend an opinion about general topics, expressing the pros and cons for each argument; and lastly, understand the gist of complex texts about both concrete and abstract topics, including technical texts, provided they are within the candidate’s area of expertise.

 

– Spanish Diploma Level C1 (Effective Operational Proficiency)

Certifies sufficient linguistic competence to understand a wide variety of lengthy, and somewhat demanding texts, as well as to grasp implicit meaning in the same; to express themselves fluently and spontaneously without apparent effort to find the right words; to be able to use the language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes; and finally, to be able to produce clear, well-structured and detailed texts about topics of some complexity, correctly using mechanisms of organization, articulation and cohesion in the text.

 

– Spanish Diploma Level C2 (Mastery)

Certifies sufficient linguistic competence to communicate effectively in any situation, proving ability to spontaneously adapt to any context, with a high degree of precision. The language users show subtle control of nuances which allow for fluent and natural expression in all interactions.Para la obtención de los DELE es preceptiva la superación de una serie de pruebas de examen DELE, que se administran en todo el mundo en varias convocatorias anuales a través de una red de más de 800 centros de examen. Las pruebas están diseñadas, siguiendo el enfoque metodológico propuesto por el Marco Común Europeo de Referencia MCER, para medir distintas destrezas y habilidades lingüísticas a través de tareas prácticas de uso de la lengua y a la metodología propuesta por el Consejo de Europa para la vinculación de exámenes de competencia lingüística al MCER.

[For more details check out the official DELE website: http://www.dele.org/]

 

CELU (Certificado de Español: Lengua y Uso)

celu

CELU is the official certificate for and from Argentina.

The Certificate of Use of Language in Spanish or CELU is another internationally recognised proficiency test of Spanish as foreign language, offered by Argentina. The CELU exam is officially acknowledged by the Ministry of Education and by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Argentina. The examination is organized mainly by the University of Buenos Aires and National University of Cordoba. It can be taken by foreigners whose native language is not Spanish and who need to prove their level of proficiency of the language in Spanish speaking countries.

Validity

This certificate is granted by the Interuniversity Consortium for the Teaching and Testing of Spanish as a Second and Foreign Language, integrated by more than two-thirds of the Argentine National Universities. At the international level, there are mutual recognition agreements among the Brazilian, Chinese and Italian governments.

CELU certificates may be presented as proof of the level of proficiency in Spanish necessary to take a course in academic institutions or to work in private and public companies. These examinations evaluate adequate use of the language; they do not assess the candidate’s teaching competence. Thus, by no means do these examinations certify that candidates can teach Spanish as a second and foreign language.

The CELU certificate carries the candidate’s name, identity card number and nationality details, the date of the exam, the level achieved (Intermediate or Advanced) and a distinction among three assessment degrees in each level (Good, Very Good, Excellent).

In the same certificate, a description of the two levels of language use and their equivalence to levels recognized in other countries is presented as well.

 

Intermediate Level

Language users at the Intermediate level can speak and write in Spanish quite fluently and naturally, in simple family, working and social environments. They may lack accuracy when facing unknown situations or when having to express subtleties of meaning. They manage to communicate in working as well as academic contexts.

Intermediate Comparable to Levels CEFR B2 / ACTFL Advanced Low

 

Advanced Level

Language users at the Advanced level can speak and write in Spanish with ease and spontaneity in a wide range of social situations. They can use the language appropriately in working as well as academic contexts.

Advanced  Comparable to Levels CEFR C1 / ACTFL Superior

 

For more information on CELU exams, check the official website: http://www.celu.edu.ar/

>> See all courses for prepare your examen on Courconnect <<

Buenos Aires’ Nightlife

7  nights itinerary in the busiest city in Latin America

This city never really stops. From Monday to Monday, there is always something to do at night. We made a very mixed itinerary for 1 week in Buenos Aires.

Monday: La Bomba de Tiempo

Yes, we will start with the universally hated day. But in Buenos Aires you will never get a break, and already on Monday our recommendation is heave. Nothing better than starting your week psyched, with the excellent show from “La Bomba de Tiempo”. In a big open warehouse , this event is an explosion of rhythm.

This shows is most visited by young tourists who want to know this famous party that happens every Monday in the Cultural Center KONEX. Buy your ticket in advance here:

http://www.ticketek.com.ar/lunes-bomba-en-konex/ciudad-cultural-konex

Tuesday: Tango Night

For many tourists, Buenos Aires breathes Tango. Actually, this is not true, because almost no porteño know how ta dance this or even likes Tango. But the presentations are beautiful and an excellent program for tourists.

Tango

The variety of options goes from fancy parties, with open food and bar, to more humble “tanguerias” where you don’t pay to enter. To help finding the best place for you, we recommend this blog post:

http://www.fodors.com/news/5-essential-stops-on-the-buenos-aires-tango-circuit-7192

Wednesday: Happy Hour Downtown

Half a week is gone, it’s soccer night, the best thing is eat something and drink beer early. Working hours finish by 5~6 pm, and that is the ideal time to enjoy the best Happy Hours Downtown. Always ask which are the offers available, to get a cheaper bill.

Happy hour free

The best place is Calle Reconquista,  a walking street packed with bars that put their tables outside during summer. To be more specific, go to the corner of Reconquista and Marcelo T de Alvear, where you’ll find 3 good bars to choose: Pirata, Salmon and The Kilkenny.

Thursday: PubCrawl

Previously to the weekend, we recommend a busy tour through the city. The worldwide famous PubCrawl is a night walking tour to bars and night clubs. They gather a group you young people, usually foreigners, who visit up to 5 places during the night, with shot and drinks included, until they reach the final destination, which usually is a nigh club. It is important to check out their agenda and make online reservations here:

http://www.buenosairespubcrawl.com/

TIP: Watch yourself so you don’t get too wasted before finishing the tour.

Friday: Plaza Serrano + Party

It’s Friday, Friday… Weekend is on, time to understand the Argentinean party routine. They work in a different time zona, usually night clubs open 2am and goes until breakfast. (That is why I recommended PubCrawl Thursday, so you warm up to Friday). The best way to keep up with them is to hit a couple of bars, drink all you can, and then move to a club. Here is my itinerary

First Stop – Plaza Serrano

Plaza serrano

At the corner of Honduras and Serrano, in Palermo, Plaza Serrano is a local fair by day and a concentrarion of Bars, Restaurants and Clubs at night. Ideal place to warm up with your friends, eat some pizza and drink a beer. The place begins to fill by 9pm. Here are some good places to go:

  • Tazz
  • Club Serrano
  • Brujas

Second stop – Niceto Vega

Are you still up 2am? Ready to party? Now walk (9 blocks) until Niceto Vega and Fitz Roy.  At this corner you’ll find at least 3 good clubs to choose: Niceto Club, INK e L’Arc. Get ready to a lot of Cumbia and Reggaeton, Prepare-se para muita Cumbia e Reggaeton, aqui não toca MC Bin Laden nem Safadão.

night club free

Tip1:  Dresscode is strict in Argentina, don’t wear shorts, flipflops, tank tops, sneakers or local jerseys.

Tip2:  Put your name on a list previously, because if it gets crowded you won’t be let in.

Saturday: Las Cañitas + Costanera

Now that you got Argentinean rhythm it is time to enjoy Saturday night with style. The combination will’be: Restaurant and Bar in Las Cañitas + Club in Costanera.

First stop – Las Cañitas

At the corner of Arevalo and Baez, fun happens. Dozens of restaurants and bars of all kind for you to start you night pretty well. Remmember that Argentineans eat around 10pm. After the meal visit some bars there and drink until 2am. .

Among many options, here are my favorites:

Eat – Club de la Milanesa, Fabrica de Tacos and SushiClub.

Drink – Cervejaria Antares, Van Koning and Chupitos (Sensational shot bar).

Chupitos

Second Stop – Costanera

By the Rio de La Plata, the Costanera region concentrates the most exclusive night clubs in Argentina. If this is your style, do not miss going there. It is hard to reach, so you must take a cab from Las Cañitas until the club you wanna go.  Highly recommended to put your name in some list.

Some good clubs are:

  • Pacha
  • JET
  • Tequila
  • Mandarine

Pacha

Sunday: Theater at Av. Corrientes

If you nail Spanish by now, it is time to finish our week with something more calm and cult, a visit to Buenos Aires Broadway. With around 150 sessions every week, Buenos Aires is the Latin American theather center. Corrientes Avenue lights up every night like New York, inviting everyone to a great cultural spectacle.

Corrientes

On this link you can check city’s schedule, so you choose the show you like the most (Buy your tickets on advance). http://guia.lanacion.com.ar/teatro

My recommendation is Bajo Terapia. A very smart comedy about life in couple, you will laugh all night.

After the play, stop to eat an Empanada and drink a Wine at Pizzaria Americana (Corrientes and Uruguay)


Did you like our list? Please share with your friends!

We missed something?  Comment

Wanna come to Argentina to study Spanish? Access Courconnect.com  and find the ideal course for you.

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Planning your trip to Buenos Aires? Check out these tips!

After a lot of searching and comparing, you finally chose the perfect spanish course. Booked your course through the Courconnect Platform and is ready to embark on your idiomatic immersion trip. At this moment, you may have a lot of questions concerning your arrival at Buenos Aires. Don´t worry, we are here to help you! We`ll give you some useful  tips so you can make the most of your time here in Buenos Aires.

Image result for much support such help

1-  Pack your bags!

Packing you bags is always a hard task, especially if you are one of those who never know what to pack and end up putting your whole wardrobe in your bag. We don´t want you to pay any excess baggages fees and that´s why we give you important tips.

Buenos Aires has four well defined seasons and this means it´s gonna be really hot in  summer, there will be  a mild climate with fallen leaves during the fall, it´s gonna be cold in July and the city will be filled with flowers during spring, Because of this, it´s really useless to carry a lot of sweaters if you´re traveling in January and you CANNOT forget your gloves and jackets if you´re traveling in July. You can also check the weather forecast by searching for “pronostico del tiempo Buenos Aires” and that can help you see how´s the weather in the city.

Image result for buenos aires weather forecast

2- Check your Visa status

This is a very specific topic because the required documentation for your entry depends on the country you´re from. If your country is a part of MERCOSUL, this means you can stay in Argentina for 90 days and can entry the country simply by using your Id. If you´re not from these countries, you need to check the necessary procedures for obtaining your visa. You can do that by contacting the Argentinian Embassy in your country. HERE is a list of all the argentinian embassies and consulates in the world.

Please remember you need to have a valid passport!

Image result for old passport

(This is an example of a passport that will NOT be accepted. #HelpfulTips)

3- See housing options

If you booked your course through Courconnect, you probably are well informed about the housing possibilities. Our partner schools offer many housing options for you to choose and you can read more about this HERE. Before traveling, talk to the School to check some details, what´s included, book your transfer service, check the address ojn Google Maps…

We at Courconnect are here to help you and you can count on us! Also remember that we offer a 10% discount in partner hostels.

Image result for meme party hostel

4- Know more about the city

Do you already know where you´re staying? Palermo, Recoleta, Belgrano, Centro…? Before traveling, learn  more about the city by reading blogs and sites to see the best options! You can get to know the downtown part of the city and its amazing historical builidings, have dinner at Puerto Madero, go shopping at Barrio Chino, wander through the Palermo Parks, have a delicious helado (ice cream), see a play at Corrientes Avenue, drink a coffee in one of the many traditional coffee houses…WOW! You can tell that there are PLENTY of things to do, right? You can also take a weekend trip to some city or even to the city of Colonia, in Uruguay. Here at Courconnect we offer discounts in partner trip agencies! The truth is we are so cool you can even pay us a visit  here in our Office!

Image result for buenos aires thing to do

5- Enjoy the Courconnect exclusive benefits!

As you´ve probably noticed, we offer some really cool benefits for those who book their spanish courses at Courconnect. Besides getting a 10% discount, you also get:

  • A SUBE bus ticket to travel around the town
  • A 300 Mb cellphone chip to message all your friends
  • Access to a conversation club and the first three drinks are on us! (Yes, that´s true!)
  • Special promotions for those who book with a friend: you can choose a really nice gift.

6- Make the most of your trip!

We really  wish you have a unforgettable time here in Buenos Aires. A  idiomatic tourism experience can be amazing in many ways. You really dive into the culture and language of a people, talk in spanish 24/7, make friends from all around the world and even can add that experience to your CV! In addition to that, you can eat medialunas, alfajores, drink mate, go to an asado, drink an helado de dulce de leche (can you see how awesome argentinian food is?) We at Courconnect wish you a wonderful spanish course and we are here to help you in everything you need!

Image result for alfajor dulce de leche

(The sole purpose of this image is to make you even more excited to travel to Argentina!)

Abrazo fuerte!

Courconnect Team

10 movies/series in Netflix to learn Spanish

To learn languages while watching TV is much more fun.

Check out our list!

( This list was based on Netflix Brazil, some movies might not be available in your country. You can change your IP with the Chrome HOLA extension to watch missing movies)

Americans are used to watch Hollywood movies, and do not feel so much attracted to movies with subtitles. But if you wanna learn Spanish, you gotta do it. Here is the strategy you’ll follow:

  • At first, watch it in Spanish with subtitles in English 
  • Then start watching in Spanish with subtitles in Spanish. I know it’s annoying, but it’s very good for assimilating words and sounds.
  • Finally, move on to listening in Spanish without any subtitles.

(I know watching without subtitles is very hard for a movie you don’t know, so I recommend doing that with your favorite series first. Try rewatching Friends in Spanish. You already know all the lines, It will be a fun class!)

We made you a list with excellent movies and series in Spanish you can watch on Netflix.  I guarantee that when you finish it, you’ll be understanding the differences between el español de Medellin and el castellano porteño.

1. The Secret in Their Eyes

2010 Oscar and Goya winner, Secret in Their Eyes is considered the best Argentinean movie ever. I do not agree, because I prefer other movies from Argentina, but the quality of this movie is unquestionable. Its a criminal thriler about a lawyer who is trying to understand an unresolved sexual crime. The script will catch you from the first minute until the last scene, specially for its amazing ending. 

  • The movie made such success that Hollywood bought it’s rights, and it’s now shooting an English version with Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts.  Trailer

2. Thesis on a Homicide

Less awarded, but for me even better than Secret. Also starring Ricardo Darín, the movie tells the story of a Penal Law teacher who suspects one of his students is behind a murder that took place outside their university.  The ending is also surprising, closing this movie brilliantly. 

3. Séptimo (Netflix US)

Another Darin big hit, Septimo is an exciting thriller. The story is about a father who loses it’s both kids in his own building. It’s seems impossible, but I guarantee it will keep you nervous for the whole movie, trying to understand what happened. The ending is awesome. I could only find the trailer in Spanish, but this kind of tension is universal.

4. Vinyl Days (Netflix US)

A very amusing Argentinean comedy. A story about four friends, who love music and must face the challenges of getting old. If you are a Beatles fan, that movie will surprise you. ( Don’t worry about its low rate on Netflix, sure it’s from people who don’t speak Spanish and didn’t try to watch it. )

5. Spanish Affair

Leaving Latin America, we recommend a very good Spanish comedy. Spanish Affair is the story about a guy from Sevilla who falls in love with a girl from the Basque country. If you are familiar with Spanish internal rivalries, you already know that this kind of mixing can raise conflicts. But this movie will show with humor, all the cultural differences between both characters. It made such success that they are already shooting a sequence. 

6. The Body

Another Spanish movie, The Body is an excellent thriller, similar to Thesis on a Homicide. This movie tells the story of a detective who investigates a body of an important woman, which inexplicable disappeared from the medical institution.   It is a movie that from the first scene creates a mystery that will keep you hooked, trying to figure it out what happened, until it’s awesome ending. If you like this kind of movie, hit play!

7. R.E.C.

To finish the list of Spanish movies, a Horror landmark. I confess never watching R.E.C because I am chicken, but I’ve heard excellent reviews about this movie, which was highly acclaimed by the critics. The movie, shot in first person, tells the story of a reporter who follow firemen inside a burning building.  If you like adrenaline, this movie is for you. Check out fans reaction in this teaser

8. Narcos (Netflix US)

This tip sound useless, because almost every Netflix subscriber watched this huge success. But if you haven’t yet, start watching it now! The series goes from English to Spanish, but even with the heave Brazilian accent from Wagner Moura, Narcos goes to our list. Everything that worked well between Jose Padilha and Wagner in Elite Squad, best Brazilian movie ever, is beautifully applied to this Netflix series that tells the story of the DEA pursuit to Pablo Escobar.

9. El patrón del mal (Netflix US)

If you loved Narcos, this is the next show you must watch. El Patron del Mal it’s a novel that tells Pablo Escobar’s story in a more detailed way, and with much more chapters. It does not have the Netflix budget to make action scenes like Narcos, but everyone who watched both series, loved El Patrón del mal. 

10. Club de Cuervos (Netflix US)

To finish this list, another excellent Netflix series. Club de Cuervos is a Mexican comedy about two very different brother who inherit a football club from their deceased father. The daughter, more rational and visionary, has to watch her egocentric brother take control and risk bankrupting the club due to the fact of being a woman. I haven’t finished yet, but first chapters are really amusing.


Did you like our list? Share to your friends!

Did we miss anything? Comment!

Need to learn more Spanish? Access Courconnect.com to find and compare the best schools in Argentina

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Couchsurfing, what it is and how it works

Have you ever heard of Couchsurfing? It is a platform here you can travel and stay as guest free at someone´s house as if you were at home. It is a platform of services and inter-assistance between travelers and it´s really interesting!

“Couchsurfing is a vibrant travel community of over 14 million locals and travelers. Use Couchsurfing to find accomodations, meetup with nearby locals, learn new language…”

CouchSurfing el sofa ideal

Couchsurfing is one of the largest communities of travelers ! The first thing to know is : this system is completely free because it is based on the philosophy of mutual assistance between travelers. The advantages between host and guest are many : connect and exchange experiences, receive a stranger at home to make friends, discover new cultures, practice a foreign language! This is a great way for travelers to discover a destination through this resourceful host and save on hosting! We explain in this article the true meaning of a Couchsurfing trip!

“My first experience was on a CouchSurfing trip to Sao Paulo (Brazil) to practice Portuguese after an intensive course. As I had no friends in the city, I was welcomed into Dennis’s house … This trip has changed the way I travel, because this host received me with more than 50 varieties of fruit in his refrigerator because he had read about my description on the Couchsurfing website that I was a lover of the “fine cuisine”. It made me understand that there are experiences that cannot be bought. To meet this kind of unique and sincere people is simply priceless … ”

It is important to note that you can also meet a friend in the country without having to stay at his or her home, in fact, the platform offers a space of forums / events that allow you to connect to other traveler or hosts so  you can discover the city, do something together or simply go out to have a drink  …

“Personally, when I travel, I use it a lot to meet someone for jogging or tennis and  to have a drink, of course!

How  does it work?

Everything is done through the platform Couchsurfing.com (also  available as an app). In this article, I briefly explain how it works!

The first thing to do is to create an account on the site. It is important to create a profile as complete as possible: description of your personality, your passions, your tastes … when a host contacts you  he will have confidence in your profile and in you, so we avoid bad surprises!

Secondly, take the time to describe the trips you have made or that you wish to make in the near future! Of course, it is also advisable to offer your house to your host, it is a fair system. Will you soon be ready to host a Couchsurfer at your house? We are confident that you will be an excellent host, won’t you?

Finally, when you meet someone, it is important to leave references in order to reinforce the credibility of some hosts. Thus, the higher the confidence level, the more reliable the profile of the host. The comments are part of the virtual meetings for both the hosts and the guests. Many people are afraid to stay at unreliable places or have a crazy host ! It is therefore important to check your host profile before you arrive! This advice is to be taken seriously for women traveling alone 😉

“Personally, when the person doesn´t have many recommendations, I start a discussion via Facebook or WhatsApp. It’s a good way to know the host before meeting him or her. Thanks to Couchsurfing, I have been able to make wonderful experiences and meet new friends all over the world!”

To learn more about the site, I invite you to visit Couchsurfing and start creating your profile.

If you have any questions, you can write me in the comments of this article and / or add me through my profile CS Enzo

5 razões para não aprender Espanhol

Sorry, this entry is only available in Brazilian Portuguese, European Spanish and French. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in one of the available alternative languages. You may click one of the links to switch the site language to another available language.

Você já aprendeu a se comunicar em Português na escola. Porquê estudar tudo de novo?

Convenhamos que aprender um novo idioma demanda tempo, recursos financeiros e muita força de vontade. O maior problema é que depois de aprender duas ou mais línguas você é uma pessoa totalmente diferente, com uma nova visão do mundo e com muito mais oportunidades de trabalho.

Portanto, se você quiser continuar sendo o mesmo de sempre, te apresentamos 5 aspectos negativos de quem estuda um idioma… Você com certeza vai sair correndo dos cursinhos de Espanhol

1.Oportunidades de Trabalho

Em um mercado de trabalho fácil e em ascensão como o do Brasil em 2016, o profissional que, já jovem, domina 3 ou mais idiomas tem muita dificuldade para escolher onde trabalhar. As multinacionais cada vez mais buscam bilíngues para fechar negócios no exterior, e os candidatos que possuem essas características são sufocados com tantas ofertas que acabam se deslumbrando e não dando valor ao que tem. Por outro lado, aquele que só sabe Português, vai se contentar com a primeira e única oferta que conseguir.

Business

2. Vizinhos latino-americanos

Argentino é chato demais, Peruano e Boliviano são todos iguais e de tanto assistir Narcos, todo mundo já conhece a Colômbia. Quem domina Espanhol avançado, tem o desprazer de se comunicar e conhecer nossos vizinhos, de bailar a bachata colombiana, de aprender a cozinhar o ceviche peruano e de assistir aos péssimos filmes argentinos.

Recomendamos ficar somente no Brasil, dançando funk, comendo coxinha e assistindo novela.

Latin America

Os idiomas possuem estruturas gramaticais e métodos de aprendizagem em comum. Com  um considerável tempo de estudo, você aprende a aprender, e começa a se interessar cada vez mais por novas línguas.

Portanto, quanto mais idiomas você estuda, mais facilidade você terá de aprender o próximo, assim como as drogas mais leves te abrem portas para os produtos mais pesados.

Por isso, fuja dos cursinhos, pois é um caminho sem volta!

Books

4. Viajar também é uma droga.

Quando você aprender novos idiomas, você com certeza vai querer viajar para conhecer países que falam esse idioma. E isso vicia!

Você começa a comparar tudo no seu país com o exterior, acha a comida sem graça, reclama das músicas, da infraestrutura… é um problemão.  O pior é que você contagia todos seus amigos a viajar também, levando todos para o mau caminho.

E ao voltar de uma viagem, você já começa a planejar a próxima. Vai sobrar menos grana pra gastar em roupa nova e em balada, porque você vai destinar tudo pra pagar as prestações da CVC.

Travel

5. Novos costumes

Ao aprender novos idiomas, você tende a conhecer pessoas que falam esses idiomas, pessoas de outras culturas.

Normalmente, ao entrar em contato com novas culturas, você abre sua mente para os seus próprios costumes. Você se torna mais crítico consigo mesmo, e com a sua cultura local, e passa a adotar novos hábitos, como reciclar, usar o transporte público, cozinhar menos fritura, ser gentil com as pessoas na rua…

E eu me pergunto, pra que mudar? Se Deus é brasileiro, nós nascemos perfeitos, né?

Cultura


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Locals and International People. Discover a culture!

Discover the local culture and the international destinations.

It’s important to mention that this article is alive, updating itself and growing as I keep traveling and exchanging ideas with other travelers.

It was after traveling and living in different countries that I could distinguish more and more the differences between the local cultures of each country, and to differentiate the type of people each of us meet according to what type of travel we are doing.

living abroad in greece

My first experience of living abroad was in Greece, as soon as I finished High School I decided I needed to discover the world, and discover myself (*this require a whole other post) in a new environment. I started to understand the concept of culture from another country the moment I landed in Athens, from the “Γεια σας”, which means “Hello” in greek, to the way people moved their bodies or the “screaming” way of expressing yourself… at the same time I understood that this set of characteristics that made the greek people, greek, I was also able to understand and discover many aspects of the culture of my own country, Argentina, which until then I hadn’t, since I thought that is was the natural way of people behaving and being genuine to themselves.

Each travel is different and it allows us to connect with our destination in different ways, it’s not the same going on an all-inclusive vacation or to a backpack trip using couchsurfing (couchsurfing.org), or a business travel to an exchange program abroad. Another key factor that is very important is the duration of the travel and our way to interact and connect with people. *We will be making another post about “DIFFERENT TYPES OF TRAVELS”

 amanecer en Rio de janeiro

To focus on the main purpose of this article, I’ll describe what I call the “Local Internationals and the Locals”, in accordance to how we travel and the possibilities to connect with each local.

In the first group there are the International Locals, those are the people like me, and probably like you, if you are reading this article. The International Locals are those people that had the possibility to travel and live abroad alone, meaning, without family and friends to surround them. The ones that had to force themselves to adapt to the local culture, to create a new routine and how to socialize in a different environment. I never get tired of reading or hearing from young people after their first experiences of living in a different country describing their immersion in a new culture as the best experience in their life. Definitely an experience of exchange, growth and self-discovery, which I call the process of becoming an International Person. The international person gathers some personal characteristics and others that grow deeper with each international experience, among those I highlight: Stronger confidence in yourself, tolerance and respect for what is different, adapt easily to changes and many other things. This constant desire to continue traveling and discovering people and places.

The international people are the ones that when back to their own country I denominate as “Local Internationals” , and practically in every known case, maintain the constant inclination to  help those travelers they encounter along the way. The local internationals are the first ones we will encounter in any travel, as most likely they will come to our encounter too. They are in the couchsurfing platforms, they are the ones that rent us rooms on AIRBNB, the ones in international thematic events, in meeting in exchange programs or casually in one way or the other they will show up when we need them. Those are the ones that can give us the best welcoming and make our first steps in a new destination easier, but it’s also important to know who are the non-international locals, the ones that make us discover a new culture in its real form. And that is why it is important to know the difference.

The Locals non- Internationals or “Local locals”, are those people that didn’t have the opportunity to experience an immersion in a new culture, keeping the set of values and behavior typical from their own country.  *Varying from country to country as well social class, but in general the local locals maintain the same routine and have their own circle of friendship formed, motive that makes it harder to meet them. If we don’t speak the local language the possibility to connect with them reduces itself practically to zero. Time, as well the continuous interaction is the recipe to be in contact with the locals, that’s why the type of travels that really put you in contact with them are the work/business travel and exchange/study travels, in each case is necessary to share activities with locals in order to get the chance to connect with them.

Even though I love meeting new international people to share experiences and exchange ideas, we have many characteristics in common that makes us people of the world, and when I want to discover a culture and its deepest values the best way to do so is by connecting with local locals, they represent the highest number of the population in the destination and are the image of the culture of the country, the strongest elements of its customs and its way of seeing the world.

Although I can distinguish clearly the types of sub-cultures in each country, it’s also important not to forget that “each person is a world” and that we always encounter during our travels closed people with several worlds, and local people that are incredibly open-minded.

If you already had the opportunity to travel abroad, I would like to hear your opinion about the international people and the local people from your country!

The ritual for drinking Mate

Learn how to not get confused when drinking Mate in Argentina

Like it or not, any foreigner that comes to Argentina will have to drink mate someday. (At least if you wanna have a social life here with Argentineans).

The problem is that besides its particular and bitter taste, the act of drinking mate has a very specific ritual. Many foreigners get confused and become “boludos” in front of everyone.

To save you from embarrassment, here goes a list of implicit rules that every Argentinean knows, but no one has ever explained to you.

1. Who prepares it drinks first

Usually the owner of the house or of the mate volunteers himself to prepare it. He will heat the water, put the yerba and he will drink the first sip. Don’t freak out if he spits, it is normal! The first dosis is really strong, and no one likes it.

2. Who prepares it is responsable for filling it for everyone

Don’t try to be the cool guy, by offering to prepare the mate! Bear in mind that if you prepare,  you must know how to do it and you will have to keep filling mate for everyone until the water is over!  (And you cannot forget the order of the group, otherwise things can get ugly)

That is right, the “mate cup” keeps moving around the group, but the hot water stays with the same person all the time. Don’t try to understand or to criticize them, that is how they have been doing for centuries and they won’t change haha

(If you wanna be the cool guy, learn how to do it first )

View on Youtube

3. Don’t let the water boil

Eletric kettles in Argentina already heat the water at the perfect temperature for Mate (80 degrees Celcius). But if you have a conventional kettle you must turn off the heat before it boils. If you forget, you have to add some cold water to it or wait until it cools down a little bit.

NEVER put boiling water to mate BOLUDO, because it will burn the yerba and you will ruin it!

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4. Don’t move the “bombilla”!

Frequent habit of 10 out of 10 foreigners drinking mate, this is a CRIME for the Argentineans. When you receive the mate, drink it the way it is. DO NOT touch the little straw and UNDER NO circumstances move the yerba.

If you feel the straw is clogged, warn the owner of the mate, because he will know what to do.

Mate

5. Drink until the end, and fast!

The mate is distributed in single dosis, and each person has to drink their dosis and the return the mate to the one with the water. You cannot return the mate with some water inside left, it is very rude, so drink it until you hear the noise of sucking air.

You also are not supposed to take top long to drink it, because people in line will start complaining. If it is too hot wait a little bit or warn the one with the water.

6. The order is sacred

As I already said, every round has an order of people, and they follow this order religiously. So do not try to cut the line, and if you are the one preparing it, never miss the order when distributing it.

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7. Only say thanks when you don’t want anymore. 

This rule is awful, because it goes against my need to be polite… But that is how the do it. You should not say “Gracias” when you receive the mate, neither when you return it.

The “gracias” must ONLY be used when you return the mate and you DONT WANNA DRINK ANYMORE.  It works like saying “thanks, I’m full”.

8. Mate is hot, and Tererê is cold

Although many Argentineans drink mate in their extremely hot summer, is very usual for some people to change it for Tererê. (I think it is much better)

Usually they make 1l of juice in powder (Grapefruit or Apple) and they mix with the yerba. All mate rules apply the same for Tererê

Terere

9.  Mate can have sugar

It is a polemic topic, but according to the region you are, or where the mate’s owner comes from, mate can be served with sugar.

Don’t get used, though, to have sugar in your mate, because it is not something you can ask in a regular mate round “Put some sugar for me plz”, because this is impossible.

When you buy the mate cup, if you wanna put sugar, you have to “cook” it in a specific manner, is very complicated.  My suggestion is: just drink what you are given to.


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7 places you must visit in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is a very attractive city for tourists. That’s why we’ve prepared a guide for you not to forget visiting every touristic sight before leaving.

A large city with a lot to offer. If you have only a few days to visit, it is very important to optimize your time so as not to miss anything. 

Before I start, 3 awesome tips:

  • Always have cash. Few places accept credit card with chip.
  • Buy a SUBE card to take the Bus and Subway (Cash is not accepted). You can buy one in any subway station.
  • Use public transport. Fees were recently rose, but it’s still very cheap compared to many cities worldwide. Check out which bus/subway line to take on this website https://mapa.buenosaires.gob.ar/ or with the app Moovit.

1. Microcentro (Downtown)

A synchronized orchestra of people, cars and buses crossing the perfectly squared streets, composed by a mix of classic and modern buildings.  A walking tour downtown is a warm welcome for any tourist.

Microcentro

Places to visit:

    • Calle Florida. Coffee Places, Tourism agencies, every kind of store and the famous Shopping Galerias Pacífico. (Córdoba and Florida).
    • Plaza de Mayo. The 3 Cs (Cabildo, Casa Rosada and Cathedral) in the political center of the city.
    • Obelisco.  The iconic symbol of the city, the selfie you will post on Instagram. Despite being on the corner of Av Corrientes and Av 9 de julio, the best way to take a picture is to come from Av. Presidente R Saens Peña (aka Diagonal Norte). The midnight pic with your friends is the best one, but be careful when crossing the streets. 
    • Teatro Colón. Worldwide famous theater, built in the 19th century, is a must-visit place for the most cult tourists. It is located at Av 9 de Julio and Viamonte. Tours are given daily inside the building. 
    • Café Tortoni. The classical Coffee Shop in Buenos Aires. Where you can taste the delicious medialunas and churros in an environment that breathes tango. It is located at Av de Mayo and Piedras.

COINED tour

2. Recoleta

recoleta free

A beautiful neighborhood which is a must- stop. You can sit at the coffee tables outside, walk through those quiet streets and enjoy its public parks… It is very easy to get there, near downtown, with excellent hotels and restaurants. Besides holding most of Buenos Aires’ touristic places.

    • Avenida Santa Fé. One of the main avenues in the City, Av Santa Fe gives access to Recoleta and is pretty much an open sky mall. From Av 9 de Julio to Av Callao, you will find many international and national stores and great Argentinean restaurants, to taste the best of the local cuisine. 
    • El Ateneo. Almost at the corner of Av Santa Fe and Av Callao you will find an old theater that was transformed into a Bookstore. In a very cultural city, El Ateneo is a great place to stop, take a selfie and, of course, buy a book in Spanish.
    • Cementerio de la Recoleta. Yes, the cemetery is a touristic point. Different from any other cemetery you may have visited, the Recoleta Cemetery is an open museum. The luxury and grandiosity of the graves of important families from the city, including many ex presidents, are the highlights of this place.
    • Plaza Francia. If you don’t want to visit a cemetery, you must at least visit the Park it is located at. Crowded point of the city, on weekends Plaza Francia is taken by a local fair, and is surrounded by two Shopping Malls and a lot of good Hotels, Bars, Restaurants and Coffee Places.
    • La Flor y Facultad de Derecho. Near to Plaza Francia, is the UBA’s Law School, a beautiful building that reminds of the anciet greek Partenón (Good place to eat if you are short on money). Right next to UBA is the famous “Floralis Genérica”, a modern monument in the middle of a nice park. Good place to take pictures and a sunbath. The huge metalic flower opens up during the day and closes up at night.  

Special tip: “Dulce de Leche ice- cream” at Freddo, Volta or Pérsicco ice-cream shops. You can find any of them almost every 3 blocks in Recoleta.

Flor

Ateneo

3. Palermo

One of the biggest and hippest neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, Palermo is a place for all tribes. Good for shoppers, bohemians and families too.

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Places to visit:

  • Outlets. If you wanna shop, you must go to Gurruchaga and Aguirre (near Av Córdoba), where there’s a concentration of outlet stores. The place is like honey to Brazilians looking for a closet renewal. Another good place for shopping is at Distrito Arcos (Godoy Cruz and Paraguay), an open Shopping Mall with many outlets.
  • Bars and Restaurants. This neighborhood is full of surprises, with excellent options in every corner. But we recommend visiting the most crowded corners, where you will find many good options without having to walk. First stop is Plaza Serrano (Serrano and Honduras), an awesome fair by day and great nightlife by nights with clubs, restaurants and bars, to dance until dawn. Another good place is “Las Cañitas” (Arévalo and Baez) with fine places to eat and drink, from barbecue, to Mexican and Japanese food, with a delicious homemade beer bar.
  • Parks. In Palermo you’ll find the enormous Parque 3 de Febrero, a complex of small parks. On weekends the place is packed with locals doing physical exercises. We recommend renting a bike to visit all the place. Main places to go are: Planetarium, Rosedal, Palermo Lakes and Japanese Garden.

Special tip:  In Las Cañitas, eat in Fábrica de Tacos, drink Honey Beer in Antares and do a special shot in Chupitos bar

planetario free

4. San Telmo

To take the famous selfie with Mafalda you need to visit San Telmo, preferably on Sundays. This neighborhood is special to artists, bohemians- maybe a Soho turist from NY. It’s not the safest place to visit at night, that’s why we recommend getting a taxi. It’s a place with many cheap hostels, great for young travelers looking for new friends. 

mafalda

Places to visit:

  • Calle Defensa. On Sundays, Calle Defensa is closed for cars to hold an Antiques Fair. After Caminito, it’s the best place to buy a souvenir for your friends. The ideal itinerary is to start at the corner of Av Independencia and Defensa, then walk until Plaza de Mayo.

Plaza Dorrego. Located at the corner of Humberto 1° (Humberto Primo) and Defensa, this corner is a great place to dine and to drink beer in San Telmo. With many restaurant options to eat local food at affordable prices.

Special Mention: “Brasserie Petanque” at the corner of Defensa and México. Great French restaurant, a little expensive, but totally worth it!

san telmo

5. Puerto Madero

Puerto Madero is the living proof that decent public policies can transform an entire neighborhood. The old city port was completely renewed and is today the most modern place in the city, full of skyscrapers and luxurious restaurants.

puerto madero free

Places to visit:

  • Puente de la Mujer. The neighborhood is dedicated to women, as a symbol of progress in the fight for gender equality. Every street is named after a historical woman, and the most significant monument is the Women Bridge in front of Casa Rosada, uniting Buenos Aires to Puerto Madero.
  • Docks. It is worth a walk through the renewed docks. From Av. Cordoba to Av. Belgrano is a beautiful landscape with great restaurants. The best ones are Cabaña Las Lilas (Barbecue) and La Parolaccia (Italian). 
  • Street Food. For those who don’t have much money to eat at a fancy restaurant, you should cross Puerto Madero and walk by the Laguna de los Coipos. During the day, there are many foodtrucks serving the best barbecue sandwiches (Choripan, Hamburguesas y Bondiola). Great place to sit by the sun and enjoy the great Argentinean meat. The ideal itinerary is going through Av. Dr. Tristan Achaval Rodriguez. 
  • Casino. Yes, Buenos Aires has a freaking floating Casino. For those who love gambling, this is the right place to go. 

Special tip:  Bondiola Sandwich at “La Perla” by the Laguna de los Coipos.

puente de la mujer

6. La Boca

This neighborhood wouldn’t be special, if it weren’t for their exquisite streets and for the glorious Bombonera stadium. It is a humble place, which can be dangerous by night. You should not walk there from downtown, take the 152 bus line. 

caminito

Places to visit. 

  • Caminito. Here you’ll take 3 famous pics: The Havanna’s windows, the Tango dancers and Maradona. El Caminito is composed by three streets with many art galleries, souvenir stores, lots of restaurants,  tango dancers and a beautiful landscape of colorful little houses. You should go in the morning, take a walk, visit the Stadium and then have lunch.
  • Bombonera. This soccer stadium is worldwide famous for the pressure from the fans and for the great players from Boca Juniors. It is located near Caminito. You can visit the museum and enter the field. You can find all the information here: http://www.museoboquense.com/informacion-general.php. To watch a game, the safest way is to buy ticket via tourism agencies or Hotels. There is no public sale at the stadium.

bombonera

7. Barrio Chino and Monumental de Nuñez

As a last tip, a place a little far from Downtown, that usually does not appear on tourist books, but if you have some time, it is worth it.

barrio chino

  • Chinatown. A place much visited by locals to eat in their finest Asian restaurants and to buy all kinds of stuff. You can take a train there. (Station Belgrano C – Line Mitre to Tigre).
  • Monumental de Nuñez. Near Chinatown is River Plate’s stadium. Just like Bombonera, you can have a visit to the Museum and to its gift shop. After visiting both stadiums, you can later decide which team from the super-derby you’d like to support. All info here http://www.cariverplate.com.ar/museo-river .

I hope this guide is very helpful in your visit to Buenos Aires. We know there are many blogs about the city, but we made a list with the most touristic places from a local Argentinean point of view. We recommend you use Trip Advisor to search for more info about all mentioned places. 

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