Diversity in Buenos Aires
CIEE wants all our students to feel welcomed, supported, and empowered to succeed while studying abroad. On this page, local CIEE staff have provided details about conditions and cultural attitudes that students with specific identities might encounter at their location. The information below is just a broad overview so if you have specific questions or concerns not covered here, please email email@example.com. We would be glad to have local staff share their perspectives, talk with you about accommodations, connect you with resources, and/or put you in touch with a program alum who could speak about their experiences navigating a program in this location.
No matter where you choose to study abroad with CIEE, our staff—all of whom receive regular and comprehensive training in diversity, equity, and inclusion—will be on hand throughout your program to provide advice, resources, and support regarding these issues.
Locally, during informal private or group conversations, comments regarding body size may come up. Often the terms “gorda” (overweight) or “flaca” (thin) might be used as “terms of endearments” among friends, family members or within couples; some other times, they might be used with pejorative connotations. Given the common use of these terms, society at large is still learning the process of understanding how these terms might actually affect the person that they are being addressed to.
Accessible facilities can be found across public premises. A law has been passed years ago that mandated accessible facilities (sidewalks, restrooms, entryways, stairs, elevators, handles, etc.) and for the most part it has been enforced and applied. Nevertheless, some locations were “grandfathered in” given their historical architectural value. Students with special abilities should not have trouble navigating the city.
Argentina, as most Latin-American countries, has a small high-income segment of the society, and large medium and low ones. Given this dynamic, there is a multitude of options to eat without spending a lot of money. For the most part, small empanada/pizza eateries will be the easiest to find. Also, there are quite a few “buy by the weight” restaurants with relatively affordable prices. Of note, are the “Chinese Stores,” which are urban convenient stores with a wide variety of products with the lowest prices of the market. Clothes and most all non-food items are relatively expensive to acquire, so the experience in Buenos Aires for low-income visitors is to enjoy the city by getting to know the neighborhoods and specially the parks and green areas. Argentineans are very sociable, so not surprisingly one would find large groups of friends chatting, drinking mate, and enjoying the relatively mild weather in a plaza.
Argentina is a country of immigrants. Its society for the most part has foreign roots. In fact, more than 90% of the population has younger or older non-Argentinean ancestry, with very few being indigenous to the region given the low population density that existed in the country before the Spanish arrivals. Most of the indigenous population still present in the country can be found in provinces away from Buenos Aires. Consequently, people understand very well the concept of “heritage seeking” and will be welcoming to discussing, and helping students research this topic.
Racial and Ethnic Identity
People in Argentina have had relative low exposure to ethnic diversity. Historically, darker skin color has been quickly stereotyped as coming from Brazil or the Caribbean, and Asian facial traits as “Chinese”. Only in the last decade or two has the concept of diversity has been more frequently discussed and understood. Students should be aware that African and Asian ethnic traits might call unwanted attention in public surroundings, prompting looks and stares, and/or comments. During orientation and throughout your program, CIEE staff are on hand to provide advice and support regarding issues of racial and ethnic identity.
In Argentina, there is full religious freedom guaranteed by the constitution. Local society has mostly Christian roots from Italian and Spanish immigrants, with 66% declaring themselves as Catholic. Judaism and Islam are present with roughly 1% of the local population being represented with each of these creeds, making both the largest ones in Latin-American. Overall, about 66% of the entire population feels that religion is very or somewhat important in their lives. Even though society has been historically exposed to religious diversity, sometimes sentiment towards religious traditions or expression might be commented with a pejorative connotation. Noteworthy are two historical terrorist attacks targeting Jews, with bombings of the Israel Embassy and a Jewish Cultural Center in 1992 and 1994 respectively.
Students of all sexual orientations are accepted for the most part in all public environments. In fact, Argentina is somewhat of a pioneer in sexual diversity rights, passing Equal Marriage and Gender Identity laws in early 2010s. Research surveys show that 76% of Argentineans believe homosexuality should be accepted, and 69% support LGBT+ rights. In 2009 a law passed that regulates sexual diversity rights in Health and Education environments. It is also important to mention that Buenos Aires is often referred as one of the world’s most gay friendly travel destinations.
Live from Buenos Aires
A vibrant port city filled with stately architecture from its European past, Buenos Aires is a wonderful place for students! Learn more about programs in Buenos Aires.