Step out of the comfort zone
Buenos Aires is a quintessential South American city. This means it's big, colorful, hectic, and even a little disorientating. In other words, Argentina's capital city is the perfect place to get out of your comfort zone and soak up some of the authentic local vibes.
And that's precisely what Hanna LeBuhn did. After finishing high school in the USA, she headed to Buenos Aires to study global health with Spanish studies. Hanna wanted to learn more about South American culture and improve her Spanish.
But studying in Buenos Aires wasn't without its challenges. Few people outside the universities speak English, and life in the big city can be overwhelming, especially if it's your first time living away from home.
However, Hanna believes rising to the challenges of studying abroad made her a better student and a more rounded person. "I think I learned to believe in myself and trust my instincts even in a foreign place," she says. "I think I grew in more ways than I expected and became a more competent student, traveler, and person in general."
Meanwhile Mary Beringause, who recently studied and taught English in Argentina, says, “While studying and teaching English to elementary school students in Buenos Aires during my junior year abroad, I felt connected to the culture and the value placed on education as well the generosity and openness of everyone I met. [...] I developed a deep appreciation for the country and a curiosity to understand its nuances, people, and their perspectives, and am looking forward to being part of a system that strengthens goodwill between the U.S. and Argentina.”
World class universities
Argentina has over 39 public universities and 42 private colleges that all offer a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs. The University of Buenos Aires is the country's top-ranked school and has produced four Nobel prize winners during its illustrious history. Buenos Aires was ranked 75th in the 2018 QS World University Rankings 2018 and ninth in the 2018 QS Latin America University Rankings 2018. It has 13 different academic departments, ten museums, and six hospitals. It's also considered one of the best 100 institutions in the world for anthropology, art and design, sociology, law, and anatomy and physiology. Other universities that made it into the global rankings include the University of Belgrano, the University of Palermo, and Austral University.
A budget-friendly option
Argentina provides grants and scholarships for international students, and there are no restrictions on the number of foreign learners at its universities. Tuition fees are much cheaper than in many other places across the world, and there are no extra fees for international students. Fees for both undergraduate courses and postgraduate programs range from $1,000 to $3,000 per academic year. And most universities offer free classes on Spanish language and culture to international students. Your student visa will also allow you to find part-time work during your studies.
A diverse nation with delicious food
Argentina's national culture is an exciting mix of Spanish, Italian, European, and indigenous influences, while its landscape is just as diverse. Also known as 'Little Europe', Buenos Aires is packed with classical European architecture and hyper-modern skyscrapers. But if you venture out into the rest of the country, you will find yourself staring up at giant glaciers, waterfalls, stunning mountain ranges, and volcano.
Argentina has several national parks to explore, where you'll find an abundance of interesting wildlife and natural fauna. Argentina is also home to The Valdivian, one of the world's largest temperate rainforests.
When it comes to food, Argentinians love a good barbeque. In fact, Argentina is one of the world's biggest producers (and consumers) of red meat. Its steak and beef cuts are considered to be the very best, although no Argentinian steak is complete without chimichurri. This national sauce is made from parsley, garlic, oregano, oil, kosher salt, and vinegar, and is drizzled over the steak as soon as it comes off the grill. Or try the Choripan, a classic Argentinian street food snack. It's grilled pork and beef sausage served on crusty bread with caramelized onions, green peppers, and thin slices of aubergine.
A place to go for young entrepreneurs.
Venture capitalists and investors are pouring money into South America. Since 2001, the amount of venture investment in the continent has risen from $143 million to $4.5 billion. Nicolas Szekasy is co-founder of Kaszek Ventures, a Buenos Aires-based investment firm that's always on the lookout for the next exciting startup. He says, "We've seen how the [Latin American] startup scene has evolved over the years. Every year it's one step ahead. In the last few years, in particular, we have seen the pace accelerating and an increase in quality of the founding teams. There's more depth now."
And with so much capital coming into countries like Argentina, governments have introduced a range of economic policies designed to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit. Argentina's Ley de Emprendedores (or Laws for Entrepreneurs) means innovators can get their ideas and products to the market as quickly as possible. Initiatives include public funds to co-invest, tax incentives, and fast-track registration for new companies. In some cases, entrepreneurs can set up a registered business in just 24 hours. Argentina has also created several dedicated co-working hubs and technology parks to attract and foster new business.
Tech is booming
Argentina's entrepreneur laws have helped create a booming tech industry.
For example, Blended is an online education startup that allows schools to communicate with its students' parents in real-time, giving them daily and even hourly progress reports. It's already being used in over 200 schools across Argentina and now has plans to enter the international market.
Other new ventures including Emi Labs are using AI-powered virtual assistants to help companies streamline their services and processes. These smart machines take care of repetitive and mundane administration tasks (such as CV screening and interview scheduling), meaning employees can dedicate their brainpower to solving more complex problems.
Uala and Increase are two fintech companies that have launched software designed to help users stay in control of their personal finances, while Sirena is a digital platform that connects buyers and sellers through a secure network. Siren was set up in 2016 and has since raised over $4 million from some of Argentina's biggest investment firms.
And Workana is taking advantage of the global freelance revolution. Started by four friends in 2012, Workana brings businesses and freelancers together and is now the biggest freelance platform in South America, with plans to expand into the Asian market. All of this means there are plenty of opportunities for graduates in the country.
New and exciting industries
Technology is revolutionizing one of Argentina's biggest and oldest industries: agriculture. Argentina produces and exports soy, cereal, flour, flour, and livestock to 170 countries across the world, generating over $60 billion a year. And with experts predicting more long-term growth, farmers and agricultural companies are looking for more efficient equipment and tech to satisfy demand while minimizing costs and protecting the environment. This has led to a new hybrid industry, which investors are calling agrotech.
According to a study by agrotech's first investor accelerator, Glocal, there are over 50 new start-ups gaining serious traction in this exciting new sector. Some of the fastest-growing sub-sectors include ag-biotech, which uses sophisticated technology to give crops more desirable qualities, and farm management software to maximize profitability on the macro and micro level. The complex algorithms calculate everything that could impact a farm's profit margin, such as price, demand, changes in government policy, environmental credit, and interest rates.
Along with a huge amount of private investment, agrotech is benefiting from the government's commitment to this future industry. And that includes the creation of a $600 million imaging satellite system that monitors soil quality and natural disasters. This network of satellites and supercomputers creates real-time water and weather maps, which can predict floods, drought, and the size of crop yields.
Argentina is the ideal destination for international students who want to combine their education with a sense of adventure. And as a global hub for industries of the future, it's a place when you could really start to make your mark on the world!