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Travel Tales of Argentina

Posted on 06/09/2017 Welcome to South America

Mate Club de Conversación

Since 1999, we have been arranging tours and travel experiences for visitors from all over the globe. So as you can imagine, we have received our fair share of questions and feedback over the past 18 years. And believe it or not, one of the most common topics we get asked about is the Spanish language!

Questions come in from people with all different levels of comprehension, ranging from beginners to experts. Here are a couple of recent and frequent examples:

  • If I don’t speak Spanish, will I be able to navigate around Buenos Aires?
  • Do people speak English outside of Buenos Aires?
  • I know a little Spanish, but haven’t spoken the language since high school. Do you recommend practicing when I visit Argentina?
  • I heard Argentines speak very different Spanish that I learned – is it true?
  • What’s the best way for me to learn Spanish or brush up on my skills?

Our best piece of advice is to practice, practice, practice! Many people throughout Argentina speak English (not just in the big cities). And while there are words and phrases specific to Argentina, you will pick those up in no time – especially if you practice with the locals. But how exactly do you do that if you’re not comfortable striking up a conversation with complete strangers out of the blue? Well, that’s where Mate Club de Conversación comes in!

So what exactly is Mate Club de Conversación? It’s an innovative space for native English and Spanish speakers to meet, converse, and practice their language skills! Originally founded in 2012, Mate Club meets every week and brings together visitors from all over the world to exchange stories. These meetings typically last 90 minutes, and during that time, people chat about their interests, learn about each other’s cultures, and even exchange lunfardo (or slang) that you won’t find in any guide book or dictionary.

Wondering why it’s called Mate Club? For those who don’t know, mate is a type of herbal tea that is very popular in Argentina and a couple of other South American countries. It’s a staple of Argentine life that represents the culture values of friendship and sharing. So naturally, each meeting includes unlimited mate as well as snacks (like dulce de leche – another local favorite), plus activities and games.

Interested in experiencing Mate Club for yourself? We don’t blame you! Each meeting costs just $100 ARS (about $6.25 USD) and people with all levels of comprehension are encouraged to attend! To attend, simply send the team an email at mateclubdeconversacion@gmail.com and await their confirmation. The group meets at 6:30 PM each week at the following dates and locations:

  • Every Tuesday at Uruguay 862 (downtown)
  • Every Thursday at Guatemala 4516 (Palermo)
  • Every Saturday at Guatemala 4516 (Palermo)

We’ve teamed up with Mate Club and over the next few months, they will be giving away amazing prizes and experiences, such as Say Hueque walking tours through Buenos Aires, tickets to local tango shows, and more! To stay in the loop, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also tune into Radio Matera to make sure you never miss a beat!

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