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Buenos Aires, Argentina
Approx. Time Difference
March–October: + 4 hours
October–March: + 5 hours
Intensive Spanish Language, University of Belgrano

- Fall
- Spring

 
This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.
 
Remember to also visit the Participants section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
Explore the UCEAP website for additional course information (including important details and restrictions), links to host institution websites, and program search tools.
Click a heading below to see section content.
Your UCEAP Network
 
 
 

Study Center Abroad

UCEAP has partnered with the Buenos Aires office of Expanish Study Abroad to provide all logistical and services support to participants in the Intensive Spanish Language program at the University of Belgrano. Expanish is located in the microcentro of downtown Buenos Aires.
 
Expanish Study Abroad
Tte. Gral Juan D. Perón 700
Buenos Aires C1038AAN
 
Alejandro Rched, Expanish Director
Phone from Argentina: +54-11-5252-3040
 
Treva Finkle, Program Coordinator and 24-hour Contact
Phone (from Argentina): 15-6975-7142
 
Academic oversight of the UCEAP program at the University of Belgrano is provided by UC faculty member Luis Martin-Cabrera from the UCSD Department of Literature. Professor Martin-Cabrera is resident Study Center Director in Santiago, Chile and will be available by phone or e-mail. He will also visit Buenos Aires to meet with students.
 
Luis Martin-Cabrera, Study Center Director
Phone (calling from Argentina): 00-56-2-354-5270
 
Questions about UC registration of courses, UC units, and related advising concerns may be directed to the UCEAP Academic Specialist, Monica Rocha, whose contact information is listed above.
 
 
Academic Information
Program Overview
Review the program calendar often. Dates are posted as they become available. UCEAP’s program in Buenos Aires is intense language acquisition from start to finish; it provides students with beginning and intermediate Spanish skills the opportunity to meet or exceed campus or major language requirements over the course of one semester. Elements of Argentine life and culture are incorporated in all classes through the use of various literary texts, music, and films in class. Expect to be fully immersed in Spanish, from the moment you start class, to the time you go home.
 
You will take classes at the University of Belgrano, an institution that strongly emphasizes the relationship between language and culture. The Belgrano hosts many international students and you can expect to be in class with people from all over Latin America and Europe, as well as other UC students. The department that offers the intensive Spanish language classes is in the same large building as the rest of the campus, so you can also expect frequent interaction with Argentine students.
 
Regular language class work is also enhanced by cultural components such as visits to museums or other activities around the city. The entire city of Buenos Aires serves as an immense language lab, providing you the opportunity to use the language daily and quickly develop an appreciation of Argentinean Spanish, making this the most dynamic 13 weeks of your college career.
 
Academic Culture
Course Information
The Belgrano’s Spanish language classes are offered at variable levels; you are required to take a Spanish language placement exam to determine the level of instruction upon arrival in Buenos Aires.
 
You will take two sequential Spanish language courses during two separate “blocks" and will be in class Monday through Friday for three to five hours each day.
 
The intermediate and advanced levels are offered in both blocks. The courses are distinguished in the MyEAP Course Catalog in order for you to register for the correct number of units on your MyEAP study list.
  • All courses in block one are listed with a “P” suffix and carry 10 UC quarter units each.
     
  • The courses in block two are listed with an “S” suffix and carry 12 UC quarter units each.

Registration

You will register twice: at the University of Belgrano after you’ve completed the language placement exam and again for UCEAP by completing your MyEAP Study List. It is important that you adhere to the established deadlines for submitting your registration.
  • The following are the only four level combinations possible on the Intensive Spanish Language program:
    • Spanish 70 + Spanish 80
    • Spanish 80 + Spanish 90
    • Spanish 90 + Spanish 110
    • Spanish 110 + Spanish 120
  • The information as it appears on your MyEAP Study List is what will appear on your UC transcript.
  • UCEAP’s Academic Specialist and/or Program Advisor in California will contact you with instructions for the UC registration process.

Requirements

All students take a language placement exam to determine the level of instruction once they arrive in Buenos Aires and register for the two consecutive language levels they will take over the course of the semester.
 
  • You are required to take two sequential Spanish language classes for a total of 22 UC quarter units.
  • The same level may not be repeated across blocks.
  • Both courses must be taken for a letter grade.   
Grades
Be advised that the number to letter grade conversion scale suggested by the University of Belgrano is not the same scale used by UCEAP.
 
The University of Belgrano will forward your transcripts directly to the UCEAP Systemwide Office where your final grades will be reviewed by the faculty director before being forwarded to UC.
 
Grades for this program are typically available approximately one month after final exams, however, delays may still be possible due to grade reporting practices at the host university.
 
For more information about grades, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Extending UCEAP Participation

Participating in Consecutive Programs

With careful planning, it may be possible for you to participate in two different UCEAP options consecutively. Once you complete the intensive Spanish language program at the University of Belgrano, you will have fulfilled UCEAP’s language prerequisite for most other UCEAP programs in Chile, Mexico, and Spain. A semester in Argentina followed by a semester in Chile, for instance, offers you a unique opportunity to not only improve your Spanish, but to experience life on each side of the Andes. If you plan for this in advance, and focus on your Spanish skills while you are in Argentina, you may be able to spend an entire year abroad.
 
Participating in back-to-back programs is a rewarding experience that requires organization and maturity. You will need to submit a separate UCEAP application for each program (by the campus deadline) and go through the regular UCEAP selection process for each program. You will also need to work hard during your semester in Argentina to maintain your eligibility for the second program.
 
Make plans in advance to prepare for the second program while completing the first. You may be required to complete and submit paperwork to various offices in the U.S. while you are abroad, and you may need to make special arrangements in order to obtain the visa for the second program. Despite the extra work involved, many students successfully participate in two different UCEAP options.
 
Cultural Awareness
Educate Yourself
 
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
 
Once you arrive in Buenos Aires, all logistics for the program will be coordinated by Expanish Study Abroad. In addition to what is mentioned here, official arrival instructions are found in your UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist.
 
Plan on arriving at Ministro Pistarini International Airport (also known as Ezeiza International Airport). If you sign up for one of the transfers, Expanish staff will meet you at the airport and take you to a hotel near the university, where you will stay for the first two nights. Participation in all orientation activities is mandatory for all students. Late arrivals are not permitted.
 
During orientation, the Expanish staff will introduce themselves and review all practical components of the Intensive Spanish Language program, including program calendar, student services, housing, computer access, health, safety, emergencies, money and banking, communication, and public transportation. You will receive a welcome packet with a calling card, subway pass, insider’s city guide, and other maps.
 
You will move into your housing following the orientation. That weekend there will also be other group activities, such as a trip to a local estancia (traditional Argentine ranch). You will also have some time to adapt to your new surroundings in the city. Do not make any other plans for the first few days of the program. If your family or friends want to visit you during your time in Argentina, it is recommended that they visit at a later date and arrange their own accommodations. Airport transfer and orientation activities are designed for UCEAP students only.
 
Travel Planning
Travel to Your Host Country
You are responsible for reserving and purchasing your own plane ticket to Buenos Aires (even if you are on full financial aid). The Financial Aid Office does not purchase tickets. Standby tickets are not appropriate for UCEAP. If you decide to travel to Argentina prior to the official program start date, you are responsible for making your own travel arrangements and accommodations.
 
You must participate in the required orientation, even if you arrive early; it is mandatory for all students. Details about the arrival location, meeting place, and orientation will be provided in the UCEAP Predeparture Checklist.
 
 
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Travel Documents

Entry Requirements

Always keep a copy of important documents (like your passport) in a separate location from the originals. Make sure your passport is valid through the duration of your stay.
Effective October 31, 2012 (Aeroparque) and December 28, 2012 (Ezeiza).
 
Non-U.S. citizens should contact the Consulate of Argentina before traveling abroad to see if there are additional entry requirements.
 
Upon arrival in Argentina, you will be granted a 90-day tourist visa, which will then be changed to a student visa from within Argentina.  More details about the visa process are provided during orientation. You should budget an additional $80 for visa-related expenses.
 
Packing Tips
 
You can buy a converter and/or electrical adaptor at most travel stores, but you can also find these items in any hardware store in Buenos Aires and they are inexpensive.
 
Certain foods, such as peanut butter and ranch dressing, are not commonly used in Argentina. Consider bringing these items with you since they are difficult to find and are often only available in specialty stores. Past students have recommended bringing sunscreen and contact solution from the U.S., since these items are quite expensive in Argentina.
 

Weather

Remember that the seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere! While packing, keep in mind that the weather will be the opposite of what you are used to in the Northern Hemisphere. There are a few weeks in the winter where you will need a winter coat and perhaps a scarf, hat, and gloves. Conversely, it can get hot and humid in the summer. Listed below are average temperatures for each season in Buenos Aires:
 
Winter (June to August): 35–60º F
Spring (September to November): 60–80º F
Summer (December to February): 65–100º F
Fall (March to May): 50–80º F
 

Electrical Appliances

Voltage in Argentina is 220V, as opposed to the 110V in the U.S. Check the voltage of any electronics from the U.S. before plugging them into an outlet. You can buy converters for electrical appliances in Argentina or in the U.S. Most laptops now have their own converters, so you may only need a plug adaptor. For smaller, inexpensive appliances (e.g., hair dryers or electric shavers), it is probably easiest to buy the appliance abroad rather than purchase an adapter.
 
Customs officials may try to charge an import tax for any electrical items brought into Argentina; however, if you indicate that they are personal items, the charge may be waived. Customs officials may list the items in your passport, which will obligate you to take the same items out of the country when you leave.
 
 
Return Travel
When planning your travels, purchase a ticket that allows changes to the return date for a relatively low fee, such as those available from student travel agencies. UCEAP recommends purchasing round-trip or onward fares, since one-way tickets are much more expensive.
 
Insurance for Personal Possessions
 
Financial Information
Understanding Your Finances
 
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
 
 
Handling Money Abroad
 
Communications Abroad
Internet Access
 
A laptop computer is not required for the program. The university campus has free computer access that will be available to you.
 
Phones
Approximate time difference between California and Argentina: four hours
During the orientation you will have the opportunity to learn about the option of purchasing a local cell phone. If you decide to use a local cell phone, you can put credit on the phone by purchasing a calling card (tarjeta de recarga) from any kiosco (magazine/news stand) or from a service provider’s office. You can purchase tarjetas de recarga in various amounts (ARG $15, $20, $30, and $50) and you can pay to refill the cards as needed. Make sure to check which promotions may be available before deciding which card amount to purchase. For example, in some cases you may be able to purchase an ARG $50 card and receive an additional ARG $30 for free.
 
It costs approximately 15 cents to send a text message and approximately ARG $1 per minute to call. If you are making a phone call while outside Buenos Aires (even to another Buenos Aires number), you will be charged a roaming rate and you must dial the city code because you are out of your service area. Most locals communicate through cell phone text messages, and rarely make long phone calls since it is expensive. Using your cell phone to make or receive international calls is very expensive and will eat up all your credit in a short period of time. For international calls, it is recommended to use Skype or purchase a calling card.
 
You can purchase an international calling card (tarjeta telefónica prepaga) at any kiosco. The best cards for international calls are Llamada Directa Internacional or Hablemás.
 
Almost all cell phones in Argentina operate with a CPP (calling party pays) system, meaning that, generally, whoever initiates the call pays for it. Keep in mind an important exception to this rule: When you receive a call that is made from a payphone, a locutorio, or a private number from the U.S., your cell phone will be billed for part of the airtime (you can identify most calls as cell phone numbers if they begin with “15”).
 
Using a cell phone is preferable to using the phone at your homestay. Always discuss phone usage with your host prior to using the home phone. Different hosts may have different rules about phone usage. Keep in mind that most landlines are blocked from making phone calls to cell phones, but a cell phone is able to call a landline phone.
 
Some students choose to bring their cell phones from home to Argentina. This only works part of the time, and is not recommended by UCEAP. If you go this route, you need to first get your cell phone in the U.S. "unlocked" and then purchase a local SIM card. Due to factory settings, however, some cell phones are still not compatible in Argentina, even after being "unlocked." Additionally, smart phones are very expensive in Argentina and are targeted items for theft.
 

Locutorios

Locutorios (cafés offering phone and Internet services) are located all around the city. To use the service, request a cabina (phone booth) and pay at the front desk when you have finished your call. For minimal charges, be sure to use your tarjeta telefonica prepaga. That way, the locutorio will only charge you the cost of a local call.
 

How to dial to an Argentina cellular phone:

Add digit 9 (nine) between the country code (54) and the area code of the city you are calling; you will have 011 + 54 + 9 + ten digits.  If the cell number begins with 15 you must drop these two digits and add the area code instead.  Example #1: you want to dial a cell phone in Bahia Blanca; this is what you will dial from the US: 011 54 9 291 xxx xxxx.  Example #2: someone from Buenos Aires gives you a cell number of the format 15 xxxx xxxx; you will replace 15 with the area code of Buenos Aires (11) and dial the following: 011 54 9 11 xxxx xxxx.
 
 
Mail & Shipments
Regular mail within Argentina is generally safe and reliable. On average, it takes about seven to ten days for a letter mailed from the U.S. to arrive in Buenos Aires. You may receive mail at this address until you know where you will be living:
 
Attn: Student Name
c/o Expanish
Tte. Gral Juan D. Perón 700
Buenos Aires, Argentina
C1038AAN
 
Do not have your laptop, any electrical appliance, or valuable item mailed to you from the U.S. These items receive close scrutiny at customs and are subject to high fees.
 
If someone mails you items, they should pack the items in a mailer envelope instead of a box. Generally, boxes will be sent straight to customs at the National Post Office, located outside the city, making it difficult and frustrating to retrieve your mail. If family members send you new shoes or clothing, make sure they remove the tags before they mail the items. Again, think twice before having these kinds of items shipped to you while abroad; the fees involved with picking them up may even exceed the worth of the items.
 
Housing & Meals
Housing
By now you will already have completed a housing questionnaire and indicated your housing preference. Your housing choice will impact your meal arrangements and the improvement of your language skills. If you choose the housing with meals option, you may have more opportunities for conversation with your new host. Both housing options will include at least one Spanish speaker, though daily interaction may be less frequent in the settings where meals are not provided. In either setting, you will have a private room and will share kitchen and bathroom facilities.
  • Expanish recognizes your housing placement as one of the most important elements in your experience abroad and maintains a well-established network of comfortable accommodations in the safest neighborhoods of Buenos Aires.
     
  • As much as possible, your placement will be based on information you provided in your housing questionnaire.
     
  • You will not learn the name or details of your host until after you arrive in Argentina.
     
  • Your host may be a family, a single mother, an elderly couple, or a young professional. Your host may not be the "typical" family with children living in the home.
     
  • Remember that your hosts or apartment mates may work, study, and/or have a full calendar of activities. It is up to you to get involved with them rather than expecting that their lives revolve around your schedule.
     
  • Based on the choice you made on your housing questionnaire, the cost of your housing will be on your MyEAP Student Account. UCEAP and Expanish handle rent payments to your host, so you don’t need to worry about paying for housing during the program.
     
  • If you would like to extend your housing arrangements following the end of the program, you may make separate arrangements with Expanish once you arrive in Argentina.
The primary purpose of being with a host is to interact socially and culturally, and to improve language proficiency in Spanish. It is expected that everyone, including other guests in the home, will speak Spanish at all times. If a host requests that you speak English, it may be beneficial to work out a reciprocal arrangement where you occasionally speak in English to help the host with the language, while remaining committed to using the situation to help you improve your Spanish.
 
Expanish tries to place students in housing that is reasonably close to the Universidad de Belgrano. Remember, you will be living in a huge urban setting, so commuting is a part of daily life. It is likely that you will have to take some form of public transportation, but Expanish guarantees that it will be just one ride rather than having to transfer or manage other complicated transit arrangements. You can expect an average commute to take about forty minutes each way. This is very different from walking/biking to campus as you may be accustomed to in the U.S. Recognize that public transportation is part of your experience. You will receive more information about transportation when you arrive.
 
Housing Tips
  • Regardless of your housing choice, you will be living in someone else’s home. Do not expect to have free rein in the home; different customs may make you feel like a guest in the home at first. Overnight guests are not allowed.
     
  • Having good manners is important. Occasionally bring your host a small gift and offer compliments when appropriate.
     
  • Remember that many Argentines smoke in their homes.
     
  • Alcohol or drug abuse will not be tolerated and may result in dismissal from the program.
     
  • Discuss phone usage with your host. Hosts do not usually allow long-distance calls to the U.S. Set up a time with your parents when you will be home so they can call you, or make other arrangements via Skype or at a locutorio.
     
  • Discuss all other house rules on the first day—this is a good icebreaker and a good way to eliminate any problems that might occur in the future.
Do not hesitate to report difficulties to the Expanish staff immediately if you are not comfortable with your housing placement. Expanish will work to find a suitable solution to any problems that may arise, but it is important to let them know as early on as possible. If the situation cannot be resolved, Expanish will make alternative arrangements with a different housing location. Any changes to housing are ultimately up to the discretion of Expanish staff.
 
Meals
If you selected the prearranged housing with meals option, your host will provide two meals per day. If you selected the no-meals option, you will need to purchase your own food with access to shared kitchen facilities.
 
 
Daily Life Abroad
Local Transportation

Subte (subway)

Buenos Aires’ underground subway system is by far the fastest way to get downtown and around the city. You can purchase rides (viajes) in increments of one, two, five, or ten, which cost approximately $2.50 pesos per ride or $0.50 USD. You will also be able to purchase a rechargeable card called a monedero. Subte tellers accept change and bills of any amount. The subte runs from 6 a.m. to approximately 10:20 p.m. on Monday through Saturday, and from 8 a.m. to 10:20 p.m. on Sunday.
 

Colectivos or Bondis (buses)

Buses cost a maximum of $2.00 per ride. Most bus lines run all night, although some service is restricted or runs less frequently at night.
 
Terminal de Omnibus de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (Retiro)
Av. Antártida Argentina y Ramos Mejía
4310-0700
 
Extracurricular Activities

Get Involved

The staff at Expanish organize an amazing array of activities in which you may involve yourself, usually four to five days a week. Some of these will have a minimal cost, others will be free. Expanish will send you a weekly agenda. Examples include:
  • Weekly staff and student dinners
  • Weekly soccer games
  • Day trips to nearby locations
  • Weekly cultural city tours
  • Local concerts
  • Tango show and classes
  • Wine tasting classes
  • Artisan fairs
  • Asados (Argentine barbecue)
In addition, Expanish offers a range of workshops that have an extra cost and include instruction as well as practice in the skill involved. More information on workshops will be available as you arrive, and you can sign up at any time with Expanish. Workshops include tango, fileteado painting, and polo.

Internships & Community Service

Volunteer opportunities in Buenos Aires are possible through Expanish, which will also provide internship placements for an extra fee. Although neither internships nor volunteer work can be taken for academic credit, these opportunities provide you with an excellent venue in which to practice Spanish outside of the classroom while also interacting with your new community.
 
Expanish requires students who choose to take an internship to have a high/intermediate level of Spanish and to pay a placement fee. If you are interested in participating in an internship, be prepared with your CV (résumé) translated into Spanish and at least one letter of recommendation.
 
Students with Disabilities
 
Travel Sign-out Form
 
Travel
The UCEAP Student Budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
 
Several trips are already included in the program and in your UCEAP fees. These include a day-trip to Colonia, Uruguay (just across the Río de la Plata), a day trip to a traditional Argentine estancia to sample rural life, and a weekend trip to the famous Iguazú Falls.
 
Of course you are welcome to do your own traveling on weekends as well. Argentina, like most of Latin America, has a range of bus companies that provide the most affordable and most comfortable way to move about the country. UCEAP recommends you wait until arrival in Argentina before making travel plans. If you plan on leaving Buenos Aires for any time period longer than 24 hours, make sure to sign the Travel Sign-out form in your MyEAP account.
 
LGBTIQ Students
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organizations operate freely, working closely with academic institutions, NGOs, and government authorities without interference.
 
There is no official discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, statelessness, or access to education or health care. Overt societal discrimination generally is uncommon. However, the National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Racism reported cases of discrimination and police brutality toward the transgender community in 2012.
Insurance
UCEAP Insurance
 
Staying Healthy
Local Medical Facilities
Your UCEAP insurance does not work the same way as your campus insurance.  Whenever possible, you should contact the UCEAP assistance provider, Europ Assistance/USA (EA/USA) in advance so they can place a guarantee of payment. See contact information in your UCEAP insurance card or below. If you follow this procedure, you will not have to pay in advance.  If you do not, you will have to pay upfront and submit an insurance claim through the UCEAP insurance.  Refunds are issued in a check in US dollars and mailed to your US address.  The refund process generally takes 4-6 weeks.
 
Contact Information and Location of Hospitals where UCEAP Assistance Providers can Place a Guarantee of Payment.

Clinica y Maternidad Suizo-Argentina
Avenida Pueyrredón 1443
Buenos Aires  Argentina
Phone 1: +54 11 52 39 60 00
 
Sanatorio Mater Dei
San Martín Tours 2952
Buenos Aires  Argentina
Phone 1: +54 11 48 09 55 55
 

Arrange for a Guarantee of Payment through Europ Assistance 

 
At these hospitals, you can avoid having to pay for treatment up front by making prior arrangement with UCEAP’s assistance provider, Europ Assistance/USA (EA/USA). Follow these steps in a non-emergency situation: 
  1. Make the appointment.
  2. Contact EA/USA to arrange for the insurance guarantee letter
  3. Go to the hospital.

Contact Information for EA/USA

You can call Europ Assistance international collect 24/7 at 00+1+202+828-5896, or e-mail them at ops@europassistance-usa.com. They will establish a case number for you, and their agents in Argentina will contact the hospitals for a guarantee of payment, stating that ACE Insurance will provide full payment for your medical treatment. Make sure you arrange the insurance guarantee of payment before you go to the hospital. Otherwise, you will have to pay up front for treatment.

 
The UCEAP Insurance Policy number is ADDN 04834823, where the “0” is a zero.
 
Keep a copy of your UCEAP insurance card. If you follow this procedure, you will not have to pay in advance. If you do not, you will have to pay upfront and submit an insurance claim for reimbursement.
 
In an emergency, seek appropriate medical care first, then call Treva Finkle, Expanish, and then Europ Assistance/USA for insurance purposes.
 
Physical Health
Acceptable medical and dental care is available in Buenos Aires but varies in other areas, especially in rural zones. Physicians, dentists, clinics, and hospitals usually expect immediate cash deposits to deliver health services. If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, contact Expanish staff as quickly as possible. Expanish staff members are your first point of contact in Buenos Aires, and can help to arrange medical care.
 
If you cannot reach Expanish staff, you should contact the UCEAP assistance provider, Europ Assistance/USA (EA/USA)  (see contact information below), in advance. In a non-emergency, EA/USA will assist you in making appointments if you contact them first, and whenever possible, EA/USA will pay the medical provider directly.
 
For more serious illnesses, including psychological counseling, UCEAP students should first call Expanish emergency staff, Treva Finkle at mobile 15-6975-7142 or office 11 5252 3040. If the emergency contact is not available, call Expanish 24/7 emergency number at 15-6-975-7143.
 
In an emergency, seek appropriate medical care first, then call Europ Assistance for immediate help.
 
Prescription Medications
 
Mental Health
Health Risks
Staying Safe
Minimize Risk
Many students and their families have concerns about safety and security abroad. Study abroad, like most other things in life, involves risks.
 
UCEAP cannot:
  • Guarantee the safety of participants or ensure that risk will not at times be significantly greater than on a UC campus.
     
  • Monitor the daily personal decisions, choices, and activities of individual participants any more than is the case on a UC campus.
UCEAP makes reasonable efforts to establish safe program environments abroad and counsels students on potential risks and necessary precautions.
 
You and your family have a role to play in minimizing potential dangers, and UCEAP expects you to participate actively in minimizing your risks while abroad.
 
Pay careful attention to the following information regarding safety in Buenos Aires. Flexibility and an informed perspective will be critical to helping you adapt to your new environment. An understanding of the social reality and close attention to your surroundings may help you avoid potential problems.
 
Crime & Prevention

Be Responsible for Your Personal Security: Avoid Becoming a Victim

  • Urban crime in Argentina includes pick-pocketing, purse snatching, scams, mugging, express kidnapping, residential burglary, home invasion, thefts from vehicles (including “smash-and-grab”), sexual assaults/rape, car theft, and carjacking. Petty crime is common in downtown (el microcentro) Buenos Aires, especially in crowded areas. Criminal activity is concentrated in urban areas, especially greater Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Rosario, and Mendoza. The wealthier parts of metro Buenos Aires experience high rates of property crime, with high-income neighborhoods often registering twice as many complaints as some of the less affluent parts of town. This may be a result of better or more frequent reporting by the citizens living in these areas.
     
  • Keep cameras and other expensive property concealed. Thieves specifically target expensive jewelry and watches, especially high-value items with name brands such as Rolex. They regularly steal unattended purses, backpacks, laptops, and luggage and will often distract visitors for a few seconds to steal valuables. Crimes reported to the U.S. Embassy by American citizens reveal they are most often victims of theft or nonviolent robbery, principally in the tourist areas.
     
  • Armed assaults are also common in the capital, particularly at night.
     
  • In recent years, civil unrest has been a growing problem.
     
  • Criminals have also targeted individuals withdrawing cash from bank ATMs. Criminals may overtly challenge an individual directly and/or alter basic ATM functions causing the scam victim to believe the machine failed to dispense the cash and may be out-of-order.
     
  • Most criminal violence occurs at night in isolated areas such as side streets and alleys in urban areas, vacant lots, empty buildings, and empty parks. Walk in groups whenever possible. Never walk alone at night.
     
  • Foreign visitors usually tend to be easier targets for criminals, so try to blend in with local dress and mannerisms and take all necessary safety precautions when in public.
     
  • Maintain situational awareness and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Do not walk around listening to music through headphones or talking on a cell phone. Remain alert and on guard in public or crowded places.
     
  • Petty theft and crime are prevalent, especially in crowded places like the subte, bus stations, and the airport. Beware of thieves and pickpockets. Guard your belongings. Do not place money, documents, or other valuables in backpacks. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
     
  • Wear clothing with inside pockets, especially if carrying important documents. Secure purses and wallets, especially in discos and marketplaces.
     
  • Keep copies of all important documents (passport, credit cards, etc.) in a separate, safe place.
     
  • If confronted by a criminal, do not resist.
 
Civil Unrest
 
Traffic & Transportation Safety
Drivers in Argentina tend to be aggressive, especially in Buenos Aires, and often ignore traffic regulations. Streets are laid out in a grid system that is relatively easy to understand, but two avenues (Avenida 9 de Julio and Avenida del Libertador) are one way, with the direction of the traffic switching frequently. Arrows on the street signs indicate the direction of the moment. During weekdays some areas of the central part of the city (el microcentro) are closed to automobile traffic.
 
When Using Public Taxis:
  • Taxis usually provide a more secure means of transport than do other types of public transportation. Use radio-dispatched taxis, especially at night. Illegitimate taxi drivers have robbed passengers; travelers leaving banks or ATMs are especially at risk.
     
  • In one common scheme, the taxi driver picks up an accomplice after picking up a passenger. The driver and the accomplice then rob the passenger. A driver may also take the passenger to a secluded location where he is met by the accomplice. Passengers may also be taken to ATMs where they are forced to withdraw money. Do not use taxis displaying the word “Manditaria” as they are often rented by criminals posing as taxi drivers.
     
  • If you hail a taxi from the street, choose an empty taxi that has just dropped off a passenger. Lock the doors and roll up the windows. Make note of the taxi number and driver’s name. Pay for taxi service in small bills and confirm the price before giving the driver money.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
 
Fire Safety
Bring a portable, battery-operated smoke alarm for use in your lodging, have an escape plan, and identify alternate exits.
In An Emergency
 
If you are abroad
 
Carry the local emergency contact information at all times.
 

Buenos Aires Emergency Phone Numbers

The local equivalent to the U.S. 911 in Argentina is:
  • Ambulance (Medical Emergency Service, SAME): 107
     
  • Firefighters: 100
     
  • Police (Argentine Federal Police): 101
     
  • Tourist Police: (011) 4346-5748 / 0800-999-5000

U.S. Embassy Resources

  • U.S. Embassy emergency numbers (from within Argentina): (011) 5777-4354 or (011) 5777-4873
     
  • It is wise to visit and familiarize yourself with the U.S. Embassy to Argentina’s American Citizens Services website. UCEAP also strongly encourages you to register online with the U.S. Department of State through their Smart Traveler Enrollment Program before your departure from the U.S.
 
 
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