Updated 7 months ago

Buenos Aires is a very vibrant city with a lot to offer in the way of cultural activities and interesting sights. If you decide to study in Buenos Aires, there is a lot to learn and enjoy in the capital of Argentina.

Buenos Aires is also home to 8 world-ranked universities, offering endless opportunities for those looking to study abroad. If you are interested in gaining a modern perspective while exploring the unique culture of Argentina, Buenos Aires is the place to be.

Approximately 90,000 international students come to study in Argentina each year, more than any other Latin America country aside from Uruguay.

Teaching language and culture

It is important to note that most universities use Spanish as the main teaching language. None of the major universities gives classes in English. The way of teaching in the country is quite different from the typical English system as well: classes can vary from 20 to 60 students depending on the university. Also, there is not much interaction with students. It is also common that students gather to study in study rooms on campus and libraries.

Main universities in Buenos Aires

There are two types of universities in Argentina: public universities are founded and run by the government and are free; private universities are run by religious institutions or foundations and finance their activities through tuition fees.

Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA)

The Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) is the biggest university in Argentina and was founded on August 12, 1821. It consists of 13 faculties, six hospitals, 10 museums and three high schools: Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires, Escuela Superior de Comercio Carlos Pellegrini, and Instituto Libre de Segunda Enseñanza.

Since its creation, it has become an institution characterized by its academic excellence. Three scientific Nobel prizes have attended this university: doctors Bernardo Houssay; Federico Leloir (1970 Chemistry Nobel prize); and Caesar Milstein (1984 Medicine Nobel prize).

The UBA has no central campus, despite its size. It is home to around 30,000 students. As a sign of its popularity, 27% of its students are coming from abroad, mainly from other Latin American countries

UBA offers a wide array of programs, with Economics, Architecture, medicine and Psychology being the most sought-after programs. The university is ranked #75 in the World top QS universities and #11 in Latin America.

Universidad Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina Santa María de los Buenos Aires (UCA)

Also known as Universidad Católica Argentina, UCA ranks at the 364th position in the latest QS world rankings and 33rd in the 2016 Latin American rankings. Established in 1958, the Universidad Católica Argentina is a private, Catholic university, with the Archbishop of Buenos Aires being its chancellor. The school’s main campus is situated in Puerto Madero, one of the most modernized areas of Buenos Aires. UCA offers a comprehensive range of courses, from musical arts to law. Its relatively low number of students (13,000) makes it a perfect alternative to the populous UBA.

Foreign students must provide proof that they have a C1 Spanish language level to complete studies in the university. Otherwise the university, in cooperation with the cultural centre, will require students to follow Spanish lessons to improve their skills.

To be considered as a full-time student and validate one semester at UCA, foreign students will have to take at least 12 credits. Student schedule will thus include 12 hours class per week during 16 or 17 weeks. It is worth noting that UCA’s evaluation system is based on class attendance and projects, and midterm and final exam marks.

The International Relations and Academic Cooperation Office manages a few projects aiming at fostering foreign students and helping them find their feet in a completely different environment.

Universidad de Belgrano

With less than 6,000 registered students, the Universidad de Belgrano is one of the smallest private university in Buenos Aires. Founded in 1964, it ranks among the world top 350 universities in the world and at the 61st position in Latin America. The university offers a large range of academic options. You can choose to develop skills in Architecture & Urbanism, Economic Sciences or even law.

Should you want to increase your knowledge in Argentinian and Latin American culture, history and the economy, the Universidad de Belgrano has developed a 15 week-program in English, at the end of which you will earn a certificate in Latin American studies. The other programs are however taught in Spanish.

The university is also proud to have signed 71 dual degrees programs and 142 academic cooperation agreements with universities worldwide.
Studying at the Universidad de Belgrano is expensive. The good thing of this is that you will benefit from modern facilities. The university has indeed superb classrooms, libraries, cafeterias and online facilities, most of them under one roof in a 20-storey modern building. Piece of the cake, it is located in one of the most distinguished residential areas of cosmopolitan Buenos Aires.

Degree recognition

Earning a diploma in a foreign country does not necessarily mean that your qualifications will be recognized in your home country. Argentina has made a lot of progress in this field by signing mutual recognition of academic degree with major partners such as Spain, France and Mercosur countries.

Conditions to apply to Argentinian universities

Every university welcomes foreign students and has put in place a specific application process. Generally, international students will have to provide, among other documents, transcripts of their academic records, a certificate of proficiency in Spanish, letters of recommendations and a statement describing their interest in joining the Argentinian university. A local medical insurance is compulsory to follow studies in an Argentinian university.

Tuition fees and scholarships

Buenos Aires is not considered as an expensive destination to study, especially if we compare Argentina to the United States. Exchange students will generally not have to pay tuition fees at public Universities, except if they have to take Spanish courses. With this in mind, there is no question that private institutions appear as very expensive for locals: for instance, a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration at the UCA will cost you around 3,000 euros, while undergraduate courses at UBA will be almost free of charge if we take into account the cost of school supplies and academic books… Studying at the Universidad de Belgrano will cost you around 400 to 500 US$ per month plus an annual inscription fee. Universities offer scholarships, however, they are generally reserved for Argentinian or Spanish-speaking citizens.

Student visa

Since 2006, Argentine Immigration Authorities have set out different student visa requirements according to the nationality of the prospective students, length of studies and nature of the course. The main documents you will have to provide to the office of migration are your passport, a non-criminal record (police clearance) and the UCA registration record. This service is a paid one, so expect to pay around 600 Argentinian dollars. Note that you may be eligible to enter the country with a tourist visa. You would then have 90 days to get your temporary residence visa.

Cost of Living

Buenos Aires is a cheaper city than most North American and European cities.

Food and transportation in Buenos Aires can be cheap compared to the U.S., once you learn the tricks of where to buy without getting ripped off. You can live in Buenos Aires on USD $1,000 per month. New arrivals can expect to budget about 20% of their income for accommodation.

Accommodation in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires has no shortage of housing. Students will find every kind of accommodation to suit all budget. But since the subway system is quite efficient, you can live close to any subway station and travel no more than half an hour to get to your university.

Students should be aware that if they choose to rent in Argentina they will pay much more than what a local would, since prices for foreigners tend to be in dollars. Students will be required to provide a few months’ rent in advance and will also need a guarantor unless they rent for a period of less than 3 months, which carries higher rates than a long-term rental.

Students may choose to live in Student Residences. To find information on where those residences are located and how much they cost, they should first need to contact their university for guidance. For instance, UCA shares a large database of residences with its registered students. UBA ‘s Secretaria de Extensión Universitaria y Bienestar Estudiantil (SEUBE) can also provide students with accommodation guidance.

Online resources for apartment searching

The following property search sites may also be useful for when searching for accommodation in Buenos Aires:

Busca in mueble
In muebles
Craigs List is also another good option for students looking for short or medium-term rentals.

Transportation in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires has very good public transport system. You’ll find subways, urban trains, buses, and taxis at low cost, compared with other big cities. To travel by bus, train, or subte (underground metro) in Buenos Aires, you'll need to get a rechargeable SUBE travel card and charge it with credit. SUBE cards are available at subte stations, at eight Tourist Assistance Centers and at many kioskos (corner shops selling confectionary and tobacco) throughout the city. Cards can be charged with credit at all subte stations, national lottery outlets, and at some kioskos with automated terminals.

To find your nearest point of sale, the SUBE website has a map of SUBE vendors. Your card will allow you to go up to twenty pesos in debt before you need to recharge it. The price of transportation is around 50 cents US$ per ticket, one way, for either bus or subway.

Working part-time in Argentina

You are not allowed to work officially if you hold a student visa, but you can modify your immigration status at the “Dirección Nacional de Migraciones (DNM)” by applying for residency, which will grant you the right to work in Argentina.

Doing an internship and working in Buenos Aires

Students can do an internship in Buenos Aires, the same way you do in any other country, once you are approved by the company or institution, you apply for a work visa.

Getting around

Buenos Aires is a very active city with a lot of nightlife. There are also tons of festivals organized by the city that are usually free, but there are also many theatres and cinemas that work all year round. There are many mainstream rock bands that come to town, and they do the Lolapalooza festival yearly, as well as many sports events like the Dakar rally and open polo tournament.

Local culture

People in Buenos Aires can be pretty nervous and agitated but most attitudes toward foreigners are positive. Argentinian people are kind and will go out of their way to help others.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.