Traveling to a new country, especially if you're on your own, can sometimes feel a bit lonely at first. If you're an extrovert, you'll likely be looking for interaction and places to engage in social activities so you feel more at home in your new environment. In a bustling, global city, there are many opportunities to connect with other people who will inspire and energize you. Here are 10 of our favorites in Buenos Aires:
1. STRIKE UP A CONVERSATION IN PALERMO SOHO. If you're the outgoing type who's happy to strike up a conversation anywhere, a great place to go to meet locals is Palermo Soho. Take a walk through the leafy streets in one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, full of cool cafes, trendy boutiques, restaurants and markets. It's always crowded which means short conversations with strangers are easy to come across and you can practice your Spanish language skills with the market vendors too. It's also a great place to catch life music. There's not much difference around this part of the city between weekdays and weekends and it seems to be a place that never sleeps!
Photo: A conversation in Palermo Soho by Jimmy Baikovicius
2. LEARN TO DANCE. You can always meet gregarious locals and foreigners alike spending time in some of the world’s top dance clubs in the city. Past Buenos Aries students have rated the iconic Creamfields club as the best place for extroverts (and the Huff Post agrees)! There's plenty of nightlife in Buenos Aires, if you haven't heard, but you'll have to be a night owl to enjoy it at its peak. Here's a guide to the best boliches from A Gringo in Buenos Aires. If you'd prefer a class to a club, take some time to learn how to tango. You're in the perfect place! The Real Argentina shares their top 10 milongas, including Milonga Parakultural at Salon Canning and the traditional Cachirulo.
Photo: Tango in Buenos Aires by Emilien ETIENNE
3. RUN A MARATHON. Tie up your sneakers and start training! The next Buenos Aires Marathon takes place in October 2016 and is an important event all around the city. It passes through urban areas of the city and the colorful La Boca as well as forest and lakeside scenes. There are several other marathons during the year as well and there's even an all night marathon available in the Southern Cone’s Spring. Marathons make for great opportunities to meet new people. You'll find an instant bond with other participants. Find other marathon participants who you can train with beforehand and use the time to socialize as well.
Photo: Running by Josh Janssen
4. JOIN AN EXERCISE CLASS. If you're not quite ready to tackle a full on marathon, you can still combine exercise and socializing by taking a free class outdoors in one of the parks in Buenos Aires, especially in Palermo. CAPA staff can recommend one that will suit your interests. Yoga is popular! These classes can be quite full and you'll have an opportunity to meet tons of local Argentines and expats alike wanting to chat during or after the exercise. If you're more interested in doing your own thing, why not find a running buddy at Austral and go jogging after class or see if anyone is interested in kicking a soccer ball around in an impromptu pickup game?
Photo: Yoga in the Park, Palermo by Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires
5. FIND A BOOK CLUB. If you're passionate about books, don't keep it to yourself. Interact with others who have a similar interest through a book club. There are many around the city that are available to you, and even some who meet in the English language. Check out Cafe Literario's meet up group, Facebook page and blog for one example. For others, seek out the advice of CAPA staff who will be able to guide you according to your interests, or you could even consider starting a club of your own with other international students on campus. On the same topic, check out our top 10 list of books to read before you study abroad in Buenos Aires!
Photo: Bookshop in Buenos Aires by Nan Palmero
6. MEET OTHERS ON A TOUR. Guided tours bring together people who are new to the city and who are usually interested in striking up a conversation. There are a few that are really worth taking advantage of while you're in Buenos Aires. Some are also free. The government's website's tours page is a great place to start. If you're confident in Spanish, the city runs free tours of historical and cultural sites. There are also tango tours in BA, photography tours, food tours, parrilla tours, football tours, polo tours, running tours and shopping tours, so whatever your interests, you'll find one to join. Check out Trip Advisor's BA Tours and Activities page for ratings and reviews that will help you decide.
Photo: Tour group in Buenos Aires by Beatrice Murch
7. GO TO A FOREIGN LANGUAGE EXCHANGE MEET UP. Practice your Spanish with native speakers or help others to practice their English through meet ups dedicated to conversations with other from all over the world. Try The Mate Club (40 pesos, including snacks and mate) who meet every Tuesday and Thursday, Spanglish Exchange BA (100 pesos including food and admission) who meet every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and Mundo Lingo (free!) who meet every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Most of these work by giving you a group or partner (switching to a new person after some time) and a certain amount of time speaking in English and the same in Spanish. They may involve games or leave the topics up to you. Either way, they're a great way to socialize, improve your language skills and make some new friends.
Photo: Group of Austral students
8. CONNECT AT A COMMUNICATIONS CLUB (OR OTHER ACADEMIC CLUB). If you are interested in improving your communication skills more generally rather than with a specific focus on learning a new language, try a communications club. You can also look into joining another type of club where people have similar interests to you. There are quite a few available at Austral University where CAPA students attend classes. This will not only help you further your professional goals, but give you opportunities for networking and forming friendships with other local and international students.
Photo: Group of Austral students
9. TAKE UP PHOTOGRAPHY. If you're interested in capturing your experience in Buenos Aires or learning how to use your camera in a more professional way, you'll be able to meet fellow photography aficionados when you join a photography club or a class. Photography can be a solo activity, but joining a group is a fantastic way to hone your creative skills while making some new friends in the process. Chat with CAPA staff in Buenos Aires for recommendations and they'll help you find a group that will suit your skill level and budget. Not ready for the commitment of a class or a club? Try a FotoRuta workshop where you can meet up on a day, in a certain area of the city, go out and shoot in groups with some guidance before and a review of everyone's photos afterwards. They offer iPhoneography workshops, food photography tours and Hashtag Saturdays too, so you have a few options.
Photo: Tourists taking photos of cemetery cats by Beatrice Murch
10. VOLUNTEER TO TEACH YOUR LANGUAGE. You're coming to Buenos Aires with an important skill: the English language. While many people in BA speak English as well, there are plenty of opportunities to help those who wish to learn. Volunteering to give someone a few lessons is another excellent way to connect and meet new people, especially locals! They might return the favor and help you brush up on your Spanish skills in return. Meet over a mate and a chat while you answer their questions and practice conversation skills. It could be a one-on-one session or with a small group of friends.
Photo: English Lessons by Shane Global