Harvard Summer Program in Buenos Aires, Argentina

May 26, 2018 to July 21, 2018
Apply by: 
January 25, 2018

Sharpen your Spanish language skills and experience cultural immersion in a global cultural capital. 

Home to such diverse figures as Jorge Luis Borges, Carlos Gardel, Eva Perón, and Maradona, Buenos Aires offers you a fascinating setting for complete immersion in the Spanish language and Latin American culture.

You will live with Argentine families in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires, near the Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social, where classes are held. Lectures by distinguished Argentine scholars and artists are enriched by numerous excursions around and outside of Buenos Aires.

You will also spend a week in the northeastern provinces of Corrientes and Misiones, learning about Guaraní influences, chamamé music, and biodiversity in this subtropical region, bordering Paraguay and Brazil.

Program Structure

This program aims for you to quickly move toward fluency in Spanish. Intensive language instruction is combined with exploration of the culture and history of Buenos Aires and Argentina through the lenses of music, literature, and ethnography.


SPAN S-Dx counts as one full-year course (8 credits) of degree credit and as two half-year courses toward the foreign language citation.

SPAN S-DX Study Abroad in Buenos Aires: Spanish Language and Latin American Culture (33770)

Johanna Damgaard Liander
8 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

This is a second-year-level course in Spanish language and Latin American culture, with a focus on Argentina. The goal of the course is to quickly move students toward fluency in Spanish using grammar review and language instruction. This language work is combined with an in-depth study of the culture and character of Buenos Aires through history, music, literature, and ethnography, focusing on four periods: the second half of the nineteenth century, the 1920s, the 1960s and 1970s, and contemporary Buenos Aires. Students study Buenos Aires in the greater context of Argentina by comparing the city to the provinces. By participating in language sessions, instructional excursions and lectures, and film screenings; listening to popular music; and viewing art and photography, students expand and strengthen their linguistic skills and learn about the history, language, and culture of Buenos Aires. The course provides students with numerous occasions to speak Spanish with native speakers from diverse backgrounds. In class, students compare levels of formality in both written and spoken language. Students become familiar with the vast and fascinating lexicon of Argentine Spanish, develop their written and spoken academic Spanish, and attain an advanced linguistic level by the end of the course.

Morning sessions integrate language instruction with cultural materials and readings. Afternoon and evening sessions include a weekly writing workshop, lectures and conversations with scholars and artists, a retracing of Borges' Buenos Aires, visits to museums, La Recoleta cemetery, the Teatro Colón, San Telmo, La Boca, Tigre, and San Isidro, plus a tango class and performance.

All afternoon and evening sessions are directly related to classroom study and assignments, and provide students with greater exposure to the cultural life of the city. Additional weekend excursions enhance the understanding of the richness and diversity of Argentine culture. These include visits to San Antonio de Areco in the province of Buenos Aires, where students can visit the pampas and experience the life of the gauchos.

Prerequisite: Harvard students must have completed Spanish 11, Spanish 15, or Spanish 20, or received the equivalent score on the Harvard University placement test. Other students must have completed one year or one accelerated semester of college-level beginning Spanish.

Where You Live and Study

Buenos Aires—Argentina’s cosmopolitan capital and one of the largest metropolises in the Americas—has enticed and entranced its visitors for generations.

Founded in 1536 as the City of the Most Holy Trinity and Port of Saint Mary of the Fair Winds, Buenos Aires was a sleepy Spanish colonial capital until Argentine independence in the early nineteenth century. By 1880 it was Argentina’s capital, the center of rapid economic expansion, the destination for waves of immigrants, and the heart of a vibrant culture.

One writer has called the Buenos Aires that emerged “the most beautiful, sophisticated, and civilized city in Latin America,” while countless others have described it as “the Paris of South America” or “New York in Spanish.”


You are placed in homes with local families—chosen by the experienced staff of Buenos Aires Homestay—to have the opportunity to immerse yourself in life in Argentina and to speak Spanish. Families live in Palermo, a residential neighborhood in the center of Buenos Aires. Classes are held at the Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social, also located in Palermo.

How to Apply

Review How to Apply before submitting your application.

Application materials include: 

  1. A statement of interest in the program
    • Include information on relevant coursework in Spanish and travel experience abroad (previous travel is not a prerequisite) 
  2. One personal and one academic reference
    • Include each reference's name and telephone number(s)
  3. Transcripts
    • Harvard College applicants: You may submit an unofficial transcript accessed from my.harvard.edu
    • Non-Harvard applicants: Submit an official transcript from your university
  4. A $50 nonrefundable application fee

Note: Interviews may be requested.

Applications are now closed. You will be notified of admission decisions by mid- to late-February.


The program fee includes tuition, accommodation, scheduled excursions and activities, and some meals.  

See Payment and Funding for information on how to submit payments and funding options. 

Student budget

Student budget

In addition to the program fee, you will need to budget for a number of personal expenses: 

  • International airfare ($1,600)
  • Local transportation ($200)
  • Lunches ($500)
  • Course materials ($150)
  • Personal expenditures, laundry, communications, and miscellaneous ($500)

Note: The amounts are approximate, and you may incur additional expenses not listed here. Your actual expenses will depend on a number of factors, including your personal spending habits and currency exchange rates. If you have specific questions about budgeting, please contact the program directly.

Additional Information