On the day of arrival in Buenos Aires, program staff members whose identity students will already know will be waiting for them at the airport. Upon being welcomed by our staff, each student will be given a working cell phone with all the phone numbers the student needs to contact program faculty, staff, and their respective host families. Addresses and cell phone numbers of all students will also be available on the program’s Facebook page. Once all students arrive to the airport, our staff will take them in a private bus to each of their respective homestays to meet their families.
Students will stay with Argentine families who reside in the neighborhood of Recoleta, the most sought-after district in the city by natives and tourists alike. Prior to the assignment of their respective home stays, students will receive a questionnaire in which they will be able to state their preferences in terms of dietary restrictions, allergies, and other factors contributing to best serve each individual student's well being and quality of life during the course of the program. Family homes are equipped with wi-fi broad band connection to the internet, a private room for the student, and a comfortable and friendly setting. These homes are located in the area of the IDES, where students go to class on a daily basis (click here to access the home stays map of the 2013 program). Families are diverse in their configuration, from widows who live by themselves to large families with many children and pets. Family members are experienced as hosts of foreign students. They are also relaxed, engaging, and eager to include students as part of their daily lives. Host family members will guide students in their initial explorations of the city, teaching them how to “go native” and learn about “porteños” (Buenos Aires natives) and their lifestyle. They will show students how to socialize within the city: students will learn how natives greet each other, the etiquette at the table, how to navigate the city safely, what’s considered unsavory conduct, and all the cultural aspects that will help students embrace Buenos Aires as their home. These ties between Argentine families and students will bring about life-long relationships and unforgettable memories.
Public transportation options in Buenos Aires are plentiful and affordable. Family members and faculty will teach students how to use buses, cabs, and subway lines. Buenos Aires is also a city especially suited for pedestrians to enjoy the vitality of urban life. Walking in Buenos Aires, as students will do with program assistants on a daily basis, is one of the most rewarding experiences that students can garner in order to learn about Argentine people, as well as the city’s social, political, and cultural landscape.
Emory program faculty always take numerous and strategic steps in order to hone and perfect the students’ familiarity with the city. Every year, program faculty and assistants conduct pre-departure meetings well before the students’ arrival in the city. At these meetings, students will obtain key information, including their specific location and their cell phone numbers in Buenos Aires. In these sessions we use Google Maps and Google Earth to help students virtually situate themselves in the city. Each student will be able to gauge his or her location with respect to other places, including other students’ residences, the IDES, the closest hospitals, pharmacies and gyms, and the program faculty’s places of residence during the program. These meetings also deal with orientation strategies in the city, including the patterns followed by main avenues and streets, the logic behind street numbering, the geographical configuration of bus and subway lines, how to charge credit to an Argentine cell phone, and how to call a radio taxi.