Spanish dialects around the world while Studying Abroad

So you want to study abroad to grow your Spanish skillset? Learning the second most spoken language in the world will be great for your future career, building deeper relationships, and is an extremely marketable skill. There are at least twenty countries in the world where Spanish is an official language. If you can’t visit them all, how do you choose just one? Hopefully, this blog will help you decide which one is best for you! I have studied abroad as a student, and have participated in site visits as an employee of a Spanish immersion-focused study abroad program Sol Education Abroad (SOL). At SOL, a question I often get asked is how the Spanish accents vary. In this blog I will focus on dialect and the main reasons why I have loved my time in each of the Spanish-speaking locations I have been to.

”Buenos Aires is full of public parks with art installations everywhere, like this giant bench!”

My study abroad experience took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina during the summer of 2015. When deciding which country to study abroad in, my study abroad advisor told me that Buenos Aires would be a perfect fit to build my Spanish skills. “If you can understand the Argentinian accent, you can understand any Spanish accent!”

I quickly found out she was right! Porteños, or people from Buenos Aires, have a unique accent that took some getting used to. I learned about three main differences that set porteños apart. The first difference was that instead of pronouncing double l’s like in “calle” (street) with a “ya” sound, they pronounce it with a “sh” sound. Secondly, I noticed that “vos” is used instead of “tu.” Along with this, “vos” has its own unique conjugation that I had to learn. Instead of “tu entiendes,” porteños would say “vos entendés.”

“A lovely sunset off the coast”

It was a challenge at first to adapt to these new rules, but it forced me to work harder at my comprehension skills. Interestingly, the pronunciation particularities are really only prevalent in Buenos Aires. If you travel to other parts of Argentina, you will hear a more neutral Spanish spoken. My time in Buenos Aires will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first time I traveled by myself, and my first time riding in a subway!

For my next trip, I traveled to Costa Rica for two weeks in the summer of 2017. Luckily, the Spanish spoken in Costa Rica is extremely neutral. Some people even describe it as not having an accent at all. This makes it very easy to understand, and because of that, it is an excellent destination for first-time travelers or students who are starting to learn Spanish. I also found that everyone I encountered – host families, waiters, tour guides, and store owners – were all very patient with me and were helpful if I happened to say something incorrectly.

“The view from out host family’s house, which was amazing to wake up to”

A major reason why I love Costa Rica and think it is a perfect location for students is that it is well-suited for weekend travel. Costa Rica is quite small and has such a variety of ecosystems to discover. The bus system is simple, and if you travel with a study abroad program, your directors will usually help you book your own excursion!

“My co-worker and I at Manuel Antonio National Park!”

Next on my list was Spain! I traveled to Spain in April of 2019. First, I spent a weekend in Madrid, then two weeks in Granada.

“Enjoying the sunset in the Albaicin neighborhood in Granada”

I had always been warned about the Spanish accent and the “Spanish lisp” but had no problem understanding it. I learned that the lisp is used to differentiate the pronunciation between an “s” and “c” or “z” (which are pronounced with a “th” sound). The Spaniard accent definitely has a different rhythm than the Latin American Spanish I was used to; however, I always felt like I was able to understand everyone, so don’t be steered away from this enchanting country!

One of my favorite things about Spain, and Granada specifically, is the “tapa” culture. Tapas are a small snack that is brought out with each drink order. In Granada, these were always free, unlike the rest of Spain. If you plan it right, you can have a free “dinner” while exploring some of the best restaurants and bars that Granada has to offer!

“The tapa that came with my glass of wine – caracoles! (snails).”

My most recent trip has been to Oaxaca, Mexico. I have been living in Oaxaca for the past four months and am loving my time here! I have discovered that Spanish in Mexico is relatively neutral. There are slightly different accents depending on which part of the country you are in, much like the United States, but they have not been difficult to understand.

The Santo Domingo church in the heart of Oaxaca, Mexico

One tricky thing is that Mexicans are notorious for having a lot of slang terms. It can take a while to pick up on all of them, but you’ll certainly fit in once you do! Out of all of the Spanish-speaking countries that I have been to so far, Mexico has the most slang words. I’m learning that there is probably so much slang because Mexicans like to have fun, even with their language!

Enjoying a hike through Hierve El Agua, a petrified waterfall just outside of Oaxaca

You can’t go wrong with whichever Spanish-speaking country you chose to study in! Any study abroad experience will help you advance your comprehension, speaking skills, and world-view tremendously.

The best suggestions that I can give are to stay with a host family and speak Spanish to as many people as possible. Living with a host family is where you will get the majority of your exposure to the Spanish language and immersion in the local culture. You are able to speak Spanish without judgment and your family is always happy to help you with any doubts or questions. I also encourage you to meet as many locals as possible. Speaking with locals will do wonders for your Spanish conversation skills. Hopefully, you will have the chance to travel to numerous Spanish-speaking countries and become a master of this beautiful language!

Author:

Monica Guajardo with SOL Education Abroad

Odyssey in Athens – Abroad101 Cool Program of the Week

Odyssey in Athens is a study abroad program through Webster University and gives students from any college a rich cultural experience in the birthplace of Western civilization. Students tell of great friendships that develop between their Greek classmates and also the welcoming feeling in Athens, a big, but not too big city. Whether you’re into history, cultural experiences or the great Greek food, we agree that Odyssey in Athens is one cool program!

Webster-Athens is in an excellent location for formal study – at the foothills of the Acropolis. Just walking around the streets near the university, you can take in so much of this ancient, yet modern, city.

With its extraordinary artistic, intellectual and cultural heritage, Athens is richly endowed with resources for formal study and experiential learning. The museums at the Acropolis and the ancient Agora, as well as the National Archaeological Museum, the Cycladic Museum, and the Benaki collections are within minutes of the Athens Campus facilities. Cultural events including concerts, recitals, dance and theater, as well as international trade shows, conferences and symposia, public lectures, gallery exhibits, sports events and marathons, are an integral part of life in this bustling, cosmopolitan city at the confluence of Europe, Asia and Africa.

To learn more or apply to this program please visit:

https://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/webster-university-athens-odyssey-in-athens

 

EVERYONE has a tie to London – Cool Program of the Week!

What makes London great? 8 million residents and 43 universities make London great. Add to that nearly 20 million tourists and EVERYONE has a tie to London. Jump start your career with an internship in London so you can have your epic story.  Go with CAPA and have “The Time of Your Life.”

Take a hop across the pond and you’ll see that CAPA’s London program will always remind you you’re somewhere new. Yes, you will be in an English-speaking country, but from afternoon tea breaks to the various cultures London is home to, you will be surrounded by a set of new experiences. Try your hand at learning some new vocabulary (“trousers” are “pants”, a “flat” is an “apartment”, and let’s not get started on “chips” and “fries”…) as you take the tube (subway) to class. London has always been a center for the arts, from everything to beloved bands like The Beatles to the writings of Virginia Woolf. Enjoy the inspiration that will surround you, and create some of your best work while you create some of your best memories.

The courses, internships, service learning, and cultural activities you’ll experience will be unlike anything you’ve known before. Our courses will challenge and inspire you to come up with new ideas and help change the world. The CAPA London Center is centrally located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in two Victorian townhouses, giving you an authentic feel of the city. The CAPA London staff are available to provide support as you adapt to a new culture, as well as a 24-hour emergency hotline.

To learn more or apply to this program please visit:

https://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/capa-the-global-education-network-london-study-or-intern-abroad

Abroad101’s Cool Study Abroad Program of the Week with DIS in Denmark

In what could be the coolest program of all time (762 reviews), DIS now gives you options in Denmark and Sweden.  Discover Europe and meet the unexpected; ignite your love of learning, further your academic achievements, develop  intercultural understanding, and acquire life skills essential for engaged citizenship. https://www.studyabroad101.com/providers/dis-study-abroad

Academics at DIS are intellectually stimulating, with courses designed to further your knowledge within your chosen field and inspire intercultural awareness. Challenge yourself to examine issues from different perspectives, raise questions, and debate complex topics through analysis, research, and reflection. Many courses focus on contemporary burning issues; terrorism, migration, economic turmoil, climate change, human rights, and other current topics inspire discussions in the classroom.

Whether you live in a Homestay, take a Danish Language and Culture course, volunteer at Studenterhuset (Copenhagen’s student union), play on a local sports team, or meet your Visiting Hosts for a Danish smørrebrød lunch; your learning will take place beyond the classroom. Our goal is to help you depart from your semester having built a network and friendships.

To learn more or apply to this program please visit:

https://www.studyabroad101.com/providers/dis-study-abroad

Abroad101.com Cool Study Abroad Program of the Week in Costa Rica with SOL Education Abroad

Year after Year, one of the top study abroad programs as rated by students is SOL Education Abroad’s program in Heredia, Costa Rica.  Learn/Improve Spanish in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and explore the verdant cloud forests and tropical coastlines of this popular Central American country.  Immersing yourself in the Spanish language and culture and studies at the city campus of Latin University of Costa Rica.  It can’t be beat!

Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.  Classes are taught at the prestigious Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, a private university with an actual campus, which is often a rarity in Latin America. Students really get to become part of Costa Rican student life on this program. In addition to the academics, cultural activities are included on the weekdays, and excursions to different parts of the country on the weekends. The program also includes volunteer and community service experiences. You will live with one of our carefully selected host families and our onsite director will be available for you 24-7.

To learn more or apply to this program please visit:

https://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/sol-education-abroad-heredia-universidad-latina-de-costa-rica

 

 

Power and Language in Ecuador – Abroad101’s Cool Program of the Week

Gain a unique perspective on intercultural relationships with SIT in Ecuador. Take a deep look at the relationship between power and discourse as the country’s multilingual and multiethnic populations strive for social change and sustainability.

On this program, you will study power and politics in Ecuador and consider how these discussions are shaped through different discourses. Because power and ideology are reproduced and challenged through language, you will also explore how different stakeholders in Ecuador have used both Spanish and indigenous languages to instill, reinforce, subvert, and reinvent power relationships, both historically and today. The program thus combines a political and economic focus with an emphasis on discourse and language. You will leave with a highly sophisticated understanding of how this small, bio-diverse, and multi-ethnic country is thinking about development.

To learn more or apply to this program please visit:

https://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/sit-study-abroad-euador-development-politics-and-languages

Montana’s glacier-carved mountains and valleys are the Abroad101 Cool Program of the Week!

Study Abroad in Montana! Landscape and Livelihood is a 16 credit field program that immerses students in the working landscapes of Western Montana where you’ll likely see more wildlife and natural beauty than in any foreign land. If the outdoors is your thing, make Montana your classroom and make some real cool connections and discoveries!

Montana’s glacier-carved mountains and valleys are home to a diverse suite of wildlife, the headwaters of North America, expansive forests and farm lands, and dispersed rural communities. Students come to study the complexities of natural resource management through experience. Classes include topics such as forests and communities, agriculture and sustainability, biogeography, watershed dynamics, and also a community conservation project.

Landscape and Likelihood develops practical and analytical conservation skills that you can take anywhere.

To learn more or apply to this program please visit:

https://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/swan-valley-connections-cordon-landscape-and-livelihood

Budapest with API – Abroad101’s Cool Study Abroad Program of the Week!

What’s the next study abroad Hotspot?  Could be Budapest!  Hungary’s largest city is considered by many to be one of the hidden treasures of Europe. It is a thriving city of modern bridges, cafes and markets amid an eclectic mix of architectural styles that reflect Budapest’s unique history.  It’s at the center of Central Europe, so travel with API and get there before everyone else does!

Budapest is considered by many to be one of the hidden treasures of Europe. It is a thriving city of modern bridges, cafes and markets amid an eclectic mix of architectural styles that reflect Budapest’s unique history. The Danube River splits the city of Budapest into its two halves, Buda and Pest. On the Buda side, Castle Hill, the Royal Palace and Old Town are sites not to be missed. Wait until darkness falls for a breathtaking view of the river with the lights of the seven bridges, the castle and the Parliament building reflected on the water. Pest is the political and economic heart of the city. Its main symbol is the Parliament, which is one of the most recognizable structures in Budapest. Visitors should explore the central market for anything from souvenirs to dinner, or visit one of Budapest’s renowned thermal baths.

API students who choose to study abroad in Budapest complete their classes within the International Study Programs (ISP) department of the Corvinus University of Budapest. Students can specialize in international business courses such as marketing, finance, and economics, or choose from a variety of humanities courses such as law, political science, psychology, and more. All courses, with the exception of Hungarian, are offered in English. All students who have not previously studied Hungarian are required to take a Hungarian language course. Students are automatically placed into a beginning level class. Students who have previously studied Hungarian should contact the API office. Language courses are taught in Hungarian and are worth 3 semester credits; all other courses are taught in English and are worth 1.5 to 3 semester credits. The courses are designed for American and other international students. Students who wish to take more than 15 semester credits may do so for an additional fee.

To learn more or apply to this program please visit:

https://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/api-academic-programs-international-budapest-cornivus-university-of-budapest

This week’s Abroad101 Cool Program is KEI Abroad in Bangkok, Thailand.

This week’s Cool Program is KEI Abroad in Bangkok, Thailand.  One student review title is  “The Thai of my life” as you immerse yourself in the modern, ancient and oh yes – the Thai food!  Another student who never was overseas talks about the friendly and helpful people.

Discover the traditional spices of Bangkok, Thailand as you float through the market and visit the golden temples. Then experience the energetic dominance of the modern city when you see the maze of skyscrapers pushing into the sky.

Study at Mahidol University International College (MUIC) where you will find a wide selection of major-specific, regional studies and general education courses that are taught in English! There are also internship and volunteer opportunities for qualified students.

To learn more or apply to this program please visit:

https://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/knowledge-exchange-institute-kei-bangkok-study-abroad-at-mahidol-university-international-colle

Master your Spanish with Abroad101’s Cool Program of the Week!

This weeks Cool Program comes from the Instituto Franklin, for 30 years a full immersive Spanish program outside Madrid.  Homestay gives you an extra push to master your Spanish and gives you a chance at some great home cooked meals.

The Study Abroad in Spain program offers an ample diversity of areas of study suited to every student. The program includes courses in Hispanic Studies, International Relations, Business Administration and International Business, Translation, Education, Journalism and Communication and Health Sciences.In addition to all these disciplines students can participate in a unique Internship Program and spend a full semester working in a company of their choice.

The Study Abroad in Spain program was established in 1987 with the mission of promoting academic collaboration between Spain and the US through specialized educational programs. It is specifically designed for international students who wish to pursue undergraduate studies in Spain.

To learn more or apply to this program please visit:

https://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/universidad-de-alcala-alcala-de-henares-spanish-studies-abroad-with-instituto-franklin