Approx. Time Difference
March–October: + 4 hours
October–March: + 5 hours
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.
Click a heading below to see section content.
Study Center Abroad
UCEAP has partnered with the National University of Tres de Febrero (UNTREF) to provide all logistical and services support to participants in the Latin American Studies program. Classes will be held in the Borges Cultural Center, located in the heart of downtown Buenos Aires.
UNTREF – Sede Centro Cultural Borges
Viamonte y San Martín. 3
Buenos Aires C1053ABK
Claudia Schilman, Program Coordinator
Phone from Argentina: 154-415-8800
Academic oversight of the summer program is provided by UC faculty member Francisco Lomelí from the UC Santa Barbara departments of Spanish and Portuguese and Chicano Studies. Professor Lomelí is resident Study Center Director in Santiago, Chile and will be available by phone or e-mail.
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 on page 1 of this guide.
UCEAP’s summer program at the National University of Tres de Febrero (UNTREF) provides students the opportunity to take an intensive course on Latin America—in English—in the heart of Buenos Aires. Dynamic and prestigious, UNTREF offers a wide range of disciplines at eight centers in greater metropolitan Buenos Aires. International students take classes in the Centro Cultural Borges, which is ideally situated for a variety of activities. The university has been a leader in English-language instruction to international students, and draws from its regular faculty to teach these courses.
UNTREF hosts other international students during the summer term and you can expect to be in class with other American university students. Previous Spanish language study is not required but is offered as one of the courses you can take during the five-week program. Students who opt to take Spanish as one of their two courses have the advantage of being in the city to practice the language daily and quickly develop an appreciation of Argentine Spanish.
Classes are typically held Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Additional activities and day trips may be scheduled on some weekends. Be advised that UNTREF does schedule some courses concurrently; it is recommended that you consider a few possible course combinations in case you encounter scheduling conflicts.
- Human Rights (cross-listed under International Studies and Political Science)
- Eva Perón: Icon and Political Persona (cross-listed under History and Latin American Studies)
- Cultural History of Latin America and Argentina (cross-listed under History and Latin American Studies)
- Neoliberalism in Latin America and Argentina (cross-listed under Latin American Studies and Political Science)
- Tango and Argentine Identity (listed under Latin American Studies)
- Spanish Language & Argentine Culture
Students interested in the "Tango and Argentine Identity" course may want to purchase the novel, Heartbreak Tango by Manuel Puig, before departing California. While Spanish versions are available in Argentina, English translations (by Suzanne Jill Levine) are hard to come by. Two versions of the book are commonly available online, one printed by Penguin Classics (1996) and one printed by Dalkey Archive Press (2010).
Registration and Requirements
You will register twice: once at UNTREF and additionally with UCEAP by completing your MyEAP Study List. It is important that you meet all deadlines for submitting your registration. The information as it appears on your MyEAP Study List is what will appear on your UC transcript. UCEAP’s Academic Specialist in California will contact you in order to lead you through the UC registration process; the specialist will also be able to respond to any questions you might have.
- All students are required to take two courses.
- Both courses must be taken for a letter grade.
- You must take both courses for their maximum unit value. The variable unit option is not available for summer programs.
Be advised that the number to letter grade conversion scale suggested by UNTREF is not the same scale used by UCEAP.
UNTREF 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 your home UC campus. Grades may not be available until mid- to late-September.
If you are a graduating senior, do not file for graduation during the summer; your grades will likely not arrive in time to meet degree verification deadlines.
For more information about grades, see the Academic Information
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
Extending UCEAP Participation
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
Once you arrive in Buenos Aires, all logistics for the program will be coordinated by UNTREF staff. In addition to what is mentioned here, official arrival instructions are found in your UCEAP Predeparture Checklist
The official UCEAP arrival day is June 28, 2013. Plan on arriving in the morning at Ministro Pistarini International Airport (also known as Ezeiza International Airport). Take a taxi directly to your homestay. Information about your homestay will be provided to you before departure, and your host will be expecting you to arrive that afternoon. Orientation will take place on June 29 and 30. Participation in all orientation activities is mandatory for all students. During orientation, the UNTREF staff will review all practical components of the summer program, including program calendar, student services, housing, computer access, health, safety, emergencies, money and banking, communication, and public transportation.
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 your own travel arrangements and accommodations. It is recommended that you purchase changeable/refundable airfare. Please wait to purchase your flight until the Arrival Instructions have been posted in your Pre-Departure Checklist
You must participate in the required orientation, even if you arrive early. Failure to participate in the orientation may result in dismissal from the program.
Arrive at the airport three hours before departure. Confirm your flight at least one week before the end of the program to learn of possible flight changes.
Upon arrival in Argentina, you will automatically be granted a 90-day tourist visa. You will not apply for a student visa.
Non-U.S. citizens should contact the Consulate of Argentina before traveling abroad to see if there are additional entry requirements.
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. The Argentine winter, which lasts from June to August, usually has a temperature range of 35-60º F.
Voltage in Argentina is 220V, as opposed to the 110V used in the U.S. Check the voltage of anything electrical from the U.S. before plugging it 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 adapter. For smaller, inexpensive appliances (e.g., hair dryers or electric shavers), it is probably easiest to buy the appliance abroad rather than purchase a converter.
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.
Understanding Your Finances
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Get acquainted with how to handle your finances abroad before you go; the more you know now, the easier life will be when you get to Buenos Aires.
- It is not possible to cash checks from U.S. banks in Argentina.
- You are strongly encouraged to do your banking online while abroad.
- Take a small amount of extra money with you to Argentina (equivalent to U.S. $50 to $100 in Argentine pesos). This provides an opportunity to become familiar with the currency, and the funds will be needed upon arrival for snacks, transportation, tips, and unexpected purchases. You can arrange with a U.S. bank to purchase Argentine pesos; the process may take a week or more.
- You can exchange money at the airport once abroad; however, exchange rates may be unfavorable and an exchange office may not be open at the time of arrival.
Approximate time difference between California and Argentina: four hours
Due to the program’s short duration, many students will opt to continue using their own cell phones. However, students often have issues with their U.S. phones in Argentina, so check your cell phone plan and determine if your network is available and covered in Argentina. If you decide to purchase and 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 (e.g., Cti, Personal, and Movistar). You can purchase tarjetas de recarga in various amounts (ARG $15, $20, $30, and $50) and refill the cards as needed. See if promotions are 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.
provides international cell phones and SIM cards to students traveling and studying abroad and offer special summer rental packages for $19.90 per person (includes phone and SIM rental). You can receive your phone and number before you leave the U.S. and have a means of inexpensive communication while abroad. Data plans are also available.
On a local Argentine cell phone, 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 quickly eat up all your credit. For international calls, 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, pre-paid calling card, or making calls from a locutorio are preferable to using the phone at your homestay. Always discuss phone usage with your host before using the home phone. Different hosts may have different rules about phone usage, since service is quite expensive in Argentina. Note that most landlines are blocked from making phone calls to cell phones, but a cell phone is able to call a landline phone.
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. To minimize charges, 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.
Since the summer program is only five weeks long, UCEAP discourages family members from sending items or care packages in the mail. If someone does mail you items, they should pack them 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/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 may exceed the worth of the items.
You will already have completed a housing questionnaire and indicated your housing preference. Your experience of living with an Argentine host will not only help you with your language skills, but will also help you familiarize yourself with the pace and culture of Buenos Aires.
UNTREF recognizes that housing placement is one of the most important elements in your experience abroad and maintains a well-established network of comfortable accommodations in the popular neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. Most students are placed in the neighborhoods of Recoleta and Barrio Norte. As much as possible, your placement will be based on information you provided in your housing questionnaire.
The cost of your housing has already been included in your UCEAP Student Budget. UCEAP and UNTREF 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 directly with your host. Such arrangements cannot be guaranteed.
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 while remaining committed to improving your Spanish.
You will be living in an expansive urban setting where commuting is part of daily life. It is likely that you will have to take some form of public transportation, in most cases a bus. Expect an average commute to take about twenty minutes each way. This is very different from walking or biking to campus as you may be accustomed to doing in the U.S. Recognize that public transportation is part of your experience. You will receive more information about transportation when you arrive.
- Discuss all 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.
- Regardless of your housing choice, you will be living in someone else’s home. Do not expect to have free rein in the house. The difference in customs may make you feel like a guest in the home at first.
- Overnight guests are not allowed.
- Displaying 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., and some may even prohibit calls to local Argentine cell phones. You may need to purchase a calling card in order to use the phone at your homestay. 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.
- Remember that your hosts may work, study, and/or have a full calendar of activities. Don’t expect their lives to revolve around your schedule.
- If you have any problems with your housing situation, report these directly to UNTREF staff immediately.
Subte (subway): Buenos Aires’ 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 at a cost of approximately $.50 per ride. You can also purchase a rechargeable card called a monedero. Subte tellers accept coins and bills of any amount. The subte runs from 6 a.m. to approximately 10:20 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 8 a.m. to 10:20 p.m. on Sunday. Helpful hint: the last 20 minutes the subte is open, all rides are free!
Colectivos or bondis (buses): Buses cost about $.50 per ride and they will only accept coins. Most bus lines run all night, although some service is restricted or runs less frequently at night. Most students travel by bus from their homestays to school and back. The average commute takes about twenty minutes.
Terminal de Omnibus de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (Retiro)
Av. Antártida Argentina y Ramos Mejía
There are numerous activities to be explored in the vibrant city of Buenos Aires. People from all corners of the world are drawn to Buenos Aires for the urban experience, rich cultural and musical scene, excellent culinary offerings, and active nightlife. Whether it is perusing the popular antique fair, exploring old bookstores, or sampling tango clubs, you are sure to find something about the city that excites you. Just a few ideas include:
- Soccer games
- Day trips to nearby locations, museums, and other neighborhoods
- Cultural city tours
- Local concerts
- Tango shows and classes
- Wine tasting classes
- Artisan fairs
- Asados (Argentine barbecue)
Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. It is important to note that a specific law mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities; however, while the federal government has protective laws, many provinces have not adopted the laws and have no mechanisms to ensure enforcement.
The UCEAP Student Budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
You are welcome to do your own traveling on weekends as well as before and after the program, as long as these activities do not interfere with class attendance. Argentina, like most of Latin America, has a range of bus companies that provide the most affordable and comfortable way to get around the country. UCEAP recommends you wait until arrival in Argentina before making travel plans. If you plan on leaving Buenos Aires for longer than 24 hours, you are required to sign the Travel Sign-out form in your MyEAP account.
The standard of medical care in Argentina is good.
UCEAP has made arrangements with its assistance provider, Europ Assistance/USA (EA), to pay directly for medical services rendered within the UCEAP insurance policy terms at two major hospitals (see below). At these hospitals, you can avoid having to pay for treatment up front by making prior arrangements with EA/USA.
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. EA/USA 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. To contact EA/USA, place an international collect call 00+1+202+828-5896 or email them at OPS@europassistance-usa.com
. Tell them that you are a student studying through UCEAP in Argentina and give them the UCEAP insurance policy number, ADDN 04834823.
If you follow the procedure detailed above, you will not have to pay in advance. If you do not, you will have to pay upfront and submit an insurance claim. In case that you pay upfront, keep all receipts and documents from the hospital.
If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, contact UNTREF staff immediately. UNTREF staff members are your first point of contact in Buenos Aires, and can provide you with references to doctors, dentists, and clinics, as necessary.
Asthma, sinus, and bronchial problems can be aggravated by the polluted atmosphere in the major cities.
Culture shock and homesickness are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture shock function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life. It is easy to become worn down from physical and mental stress due to the vastly different environment. To counter this, adjust your expectations, eat well and drink plenty of water, get plenty of rest, and share any concerns with UNTREF staff. UNTREF and UCEAP Systemwide staff in California can help you with information about local services, UCEAP insurance coverage, and other considerations to help you restore balance, build strength, gain emotional resiliency, and increase your personal well-being.
The UCEAP insurance will cover your visits to any doctor, if necessary. There is no co-pay or deductible. Ask the UNTREF staff and/or read the Insurance chapter in your UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
The University of California Education Abroad Program has established policies and procedures to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety. However, your conduct is the central factor in promoting your safety and well-being.
Before traveling, ensure that you are fully prepared, that you are aware of any risks and have mitigated them. With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in preventing crime. There are steps you can take to manage or minimize risk and avoid being a victim of a crime. Stop and think. Inform yourself of risks you can encounter while traveling. While UCEAP provides resources aimed at helping you understand how to have a safe experience, it cannot ensure that your travels and stay in Argentina will be problem-free or account for all the potential health and safety risks that you might experience.
- 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.
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.
Be Responsible for Your Personal Security: Avoid Becoming a Victim
Street crime in the larger cities, especially greater Buenos Aires and Mendoza, is a problem for residents and visitors alike. As in any big city, travelers to Buenos Aires and popular tourist destinations should be alert to muggers, pickpockets, scam artists, and purse-snatchers on the street, in hotel lobbies, at bus and train stations, and in cruise ship ports.
- Be careful in San Telmo, an older traditional neighborhood specializing in antique stores, and La Boca neighborhood (home to the famous “Caminito” street and “Boca Juniors” soccer stadium) in Buenos Aires, where violent robberies have been occurring with increasing frequency. If you go to La Boca limit your visit to the designated tourist areas during daylight hours.
- 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 non-violent robbery, principally in the tourist areas.
Criminals usually work in groups. Criminals employ a variety of ruses to distract and victimize unsuspecting visitors. Be suspicious of anyone who approaches you on the street. A common scam is to spray mustard or a similar substance on the tourist from a distance. A pickpocket will then approach the tourist offering to help clean the stain, and while doing so, he or an accomplice robs the victim. Another scam is to entice tourists into a bar known as a “wiskeria” with a flyer for a shopping discount or free show. Once inside, the victim is not allowed to leave until he or she pays an exorbitant amount for a drink.
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. Armed assaults are also common in the capital, particularly at night.
- 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.
- Foreign visitors tend to be easier targets for criminals. Take all necessary safety precautions when in public.
- Maintain situational awareness. Do not walk around listening to music through earphones 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. Wear clothing with inside pockets, especially if carrying important documents. Secure purses and wallets, especially in discos and marketplaces. Do not place money, documents, or other valuables in backpacks. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
- Walk in groups whenever possible. Never walk alone at night.
- Keep copies of all important documents (passport, credit cards, etc.) in a separate, safe place.
- If confronted by a criminal, do not resist.
- Stay in controlf of your drinking. You are much more vulnerable when you are drunk. Alcohol dulls your instincts and awareness of danger. Think twice before accepting drinks from someone you do not know well. Do not leave your drink unattended.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
Argentina has the highest road fatality rate in Latin America. Drivers in Argentina tend to be aggressive, especially in Buenos Aires, and often ignore traffic regulations. 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 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.
- Risk-taking behavior, the lack of traffic safety policies, and the lack of road signs, lane markings, traffic lights, guardrails and other safety features, are common factors in road crashes.
- Drivers often drive recklessly or aggressively, pass illegally, tailgate, or ignore speed limits, road signs, and traffic signals.
- Drivers are more likely to ignore red lights at night and during siesta (afternoon rest period).
- Many drivers start through an intersection when the light is yellow, instead of waiting for the light to turn green.
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol is a factor in 37% of road fatalities.
- Drivers show little concern for pedestrians or cyclists.
The most at-risk road users around the world are pedestrians and cyclists.
- Cross streets with care.
- Drivers do not respect pedestrians' right of way, even when pedestrians are in zebra crossings.
- Pedestrians often cross the street anywhere and fail to wait for traffic lights to change.
- Common factors in pedestrian fatalities include jaywalking, failing to wait for traffic lights to change, waiting on streets instead of sidewalks, and walking along streets or roads with inadequate shoulders.
- Be aware of local traffic patterns. Understand local road culture.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If you are abroad
Buenos Aires Emergency Phone Numbers
The local equivalent to the U.S. 911 in Argentina is:
Ambulance (Medical Emergency Service, SAME) ...............107
Police (Argentine Federal Police) .......................................101
Tourist Police....................................................................(011) 4346-5748 / 0800-999-5000
U.S. Embassy emergency numbers
From within Argentina .......................................................(011) 5777-4354 / (011) 5777-4873
U.S. Embassy Resources
UCEAP strongly encourages you to register online with the U.S. Department of State. This can be done through their Safe Traveler Enrollment Program before your departure from the U.S.
It is also wise to visit the U.S. embassy to Argentina’s U.S. Citizen Services website.
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conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.