Ten Tips For Surviving The Next Corte de Luz


With electrical usage way up and insufficient power generation to handle the demand, rolling power outages are the order of the day in Buenos Aires. Here are some tips to prepare yourself for the next outage:

con branca

– First of all, control your energy consumption. The hospital and elderly home down the street need the power a lot more then you need to run the air conditioner at 18 degrees.

-It’s not a bad idea to acclimate yourself in advance to using the stairs for when their is no elevator. If you live on the twelfth floor, take the stairs a couple of times a week and build up those great calf muscles.

– Security can be an issue when the power goes out. Be aware of your surroundings and be careful who you let in the building.

– Depending on the size of the tanks on the roof of your building. Once the power goes out you may soon run out of running water. Prepare yourself by keeping as many containers of water as possible handy. No need to generate more trash by buying bottled water if you are only going to use it for washing dishes, flushing toilet, etc. Just save any old plastic bottles, tupperware, old coffee jars, etc. and fill ’em up and put ’em under the sink.bottles

– Fill the bidet in order to have water to flush the toilet

– A watering can for plants can provide a sorely-needed shower in desperate circumstances, especially if you have a friend to help you pour.

– Fill several tupperware containers with water and freeze them to preserve your food. Leave some in the freezer and move some to the fridge when the power goes out to keep your food cold.

– Put your flashlight with extra batteries in a specific place by the door and remember to put it back whenever you use it.  Avoid candles, the fire department is busy enough this time of year.

-Plan on travel delays. Porteños are very vocal in their disapproval of power outages. Don’t be surprised to find burning piles of garbage piled up in intersections of affected areas.

-Don’t forget about any elderly or disabled people who may live in your building. Drop by and make sure they are ok. Offer to help carrying groceries or water up the stairs if you are able-bodied.

-Relax. Carry on. It should be back in a few hours.

Photo Source: parabuenosaires.com

Expats in BA: The one thing you need to do to drastically improve your quality of life in Buenos Aires  


spanish teacher at chalkboardLet’s be honest, it’s obvious. To drastically improve your quality of life while living in Buenos Aires, you need to learn the local castellano. Why? Read on for just a few of the reasons.

Author: Emily, American, BA Expat since 2008

Dealing with the logistics of BA life

Whether you need help with public transportation, getting directions, talking to your building’s super or doorman, renting an apartment, dealing with the immigration office, or dealing with local businesses or services (internet, telephone, etc.)…it’s a fact that being able to speak well, and understand well, is absolutely essential.  

Job prospects

If you ask around, almost all expats in Buenos Aires will agree that speaking fluent Spanish is necessary for most jobs, unless you work online, teach English, or have your own business. Speaking Spanish will definitely open professional doors during your time in Buenos Aires.

Furthering your education

UBA (Universidad de Buenos Aires) is an excellent public university, with many affordable postgraduate programs open to foreigners. Also, these programs are generally in the evening, so you can keep your day job while you’re in school. However, I have yet to hear of a single program that is in any language other than Spanish!  

Learning new things

Buenos Aires has a world of opportunity when it comes to learning new things: art classes, dances classes, business conferences, educational seminars, bartending courses, political protests, clubs, organizations, events, workshops and more. However, the large majority of these opportunities are in Spanish, so if you want to take advantage, you’ll need to learn the language. Last year I started attending a Filetado course, and I’m planning to sign up for a wine course and singing lessons this year, all opportunities that wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t speak Spanish.  

Enjoying local culture

Buenos Aires has a wonderful theater district, with a variety of plays and productions to enjoy, and even great stand-up comedy. Argentina also has a well-known and vibrant film industry. However, if you want to enjoy BA’s local film and theater productions, you need to be fluent in the local language! Obviously there won’t be any English subtitles at the movie theater…

Understanding the Argentine personality

There are many things about Argentines that can be learned from their language. Their strong Italian roots, for example, are reflected in the sheer volume of Italian words they use and their many body gestures. You begin to understand the dichotomy of their interest / lack of interest in politics by listening to them debating with each other, and their somewhat ironic sense of humor also explains a lot about who they are.

Integrating and making local friends

There are definitely Argentines that speak English, so I’m not saying that not speaking Spanish means you can’t make local friends, but it will isolate you from integrating into a social group or family. Keeping up with the conversation, understanding jokes, showing your personality and sharing your opinions are all fundamental parts of integrating into any social group, so doing so here would certainly improve your quality of life.

The advantages of being bilingual


the results are in…bilingual is better!

The most significant advantage which has been reported recently must be the fact that “bilingual patients developed dementia 4.5 years later than the monolingual ones.” This was the outcome of a research lead by Dr Thomas Bak. It also concluded that “bilingual switching between different sounds, words, concepts, grammatical structures and social norms constituted a form of natural brain training, which was likely to be more effective than any artificial brain training programme”. For further details, read BBC’s article Speaking a second language may delay dementia. The full research paper can be bought here.Bilingualism has also been found to enhance a child’s working memory as shown by a research conducted at the University of Granada under the supervision of Ellen Bialystok.  The “working memory includes the structures and processes associated with the storage and processing of information over short periods of time.” You can read more about this in the article Bilingual children have a better “working memory” than monolingual childrenIn their article Being Bilingual Makes You Smarter The social network Verbalisti  write that “the bilingual experience improves the brain’s so-called executive function — a command system that directs the attention processes that we use for planning, solving problems and performing various other mentally demanding tasks.”Bilinguals are better at multi-tasking. “Children who grow up learning to speak two languages are better at switching between tasks than are children who learn to speak only one language” as explained in Bilingual Children Switch Tasks Faster than Speakers of a Single Language

Bilingualism makes you more open-minded and sensitive to others:  “bilinguals have an enhanced awareness of other people’s points of view, born from their deeper understanding, from an early age, that some people have a different perspective.” This probably makes bilinguals better managers as well as stated in the Financial Times article The Multilingual Dividend

Another study found that bilingualism enhances your listening ability. It showed that in a noisy environment bilinguals are “better at detecting the different sounds, therefore enhancing attention.” Read more in the article Study Indicates Bilinguals are Better Listeners (Literally).

Bilingual children are less easily distractedJudy Willis MD, a neurologist, teacher and author states that “compared to monolinguals, the bilingual children develop greater attention focus, distraction resistance, decision-making judgment and responsiveness to feedback”  and that “research supports encouraging parents to retain use of their native language in the home” in her article Neuroscience and the Bilingual Brain.

If you grow up as a bilingual you are often also bicultural. In his article Advantages of Being Bicultural  Prof François Grosjean lists the benefits as “having a greater number of social networks, being aware of cultural differences, taking part in the life of two or more cultures, being an intermediary between cultures” as well as having “greater creativity and professional success”.


How-the-brain-benefits-from-being-bilingual

 

ARTICLE SOURCE: http://multilingualparenting.com/2014/01/22/bilingual-is-better-the-advantages-of-speaking-more-than-one-language/

ARTICLE AUTHOR: © Rita Rosenback 2014

INFOGRAPHIC SOURCE: www.BHLingual.com

An Englishman’s struggles with language abroad


I started travelling late in 2009 and like a lot of Englishmen I had had very little experience with foreign languages, especially when compared to other Europeans. There isn’t an emphasis on learning languages in the UK like in other countries. Also, I would be lying if I said I didn´t have a slightly bullish attitude to foreign languages, in that I expected everyone else to speak enough English for me to get by. Travelling throughout India I found communication to be a mixed bag. Most people spoke good English in the southern states (it is the official language) but up north it was either very broken or nonexistent. Getting about wasn’t too hard but it was a shame that due to my lack of Hindi I couldn’t form proper friendships with a lot of the great Indians I met. taj

Last March my wife and I holidayed in Japan and it was the first time I came across such a definitive language barrier. The Japanese were wonderfully polite and you could see that they wanted to help when we asked or enquired, but such distinct and different cultures and languages really did stop any true connection through speaking to one another. As you can imagine there was plenty of body language and pointing from our end and plenty of awkward, polite smiles and bowing from theirs!

taj 2 An impression I got from experiencing India and Japan, to some degree, was that they didn’t expect foreign travelers to understand their languages. That didn’t make it any easier getting around, but there was an: “Ok, so I can’t understand you, you can’t understand me, let’s work this out the best we can” attitude that helped.

Coming to Argentina has been by far the biggest eye opener in the language stakes. My wife is Argentine but we never talk in Spanish and so I came to Argentina with very little Spanish vocabulary. I have been fortunate because my wife’s family all speak English well enough, but of course tend to talk Spanish when we are together socially. My bullish attitude of expecting everyone to speak English around me has been well and truly shot down!

I have so far struggled to pick up Spanish which has made it difficult at times. I get the impression that there is an expectation to know Spanish when you want to engage with Argentines (and rightly so!) and so understanding conversational Spanish is all the more important.taj 3

What I’ve learnt when on the road is that if you want to travel and just do the tourist traps then a limited understanding of that country’s language will get you by, just barely. But, just doing the tourist traps means that you are missing a big part of travelling. Going off the beaten track is how to experience a country’s true culture and people, and this requires you to put effort into learning their language.

Adam

Crowdsourcing New Language Skills with Memrise


Looking for a unique and fun way to learn new vocabulary? Memrise is an online learning tool that uses flashcards augmented with mnemonics partly gathered through crowdsourcing and the spacing effect to boost the speed and ease of learning.   memrise

It was founded by Ed Cooke, a Grand Master of Memory, and Greg Detre, a Princeton neuroscientist specializing in the science of memory and forgetting. It works like planting a seed and watering the plant until it has grown into a plant with flowers. After certain periods of time (working alongside the science of how our short, medium and long term memories work) you must water and harvest new seeds to keep learning new vocabulary. You can follow friends and see how they are getting on with their flowers and you gain points which puts you onto a leader board.

It is a great and fun way of learning a new language as well as learning
other things too!

 

 

 

¡Ojo con los gestos! – Dictionary of Porteños’ Gestures


Cuando nos comunicamos, no sólo usamos las palabras; también hacemos gestos que pueden tener tanto significado como lo que decimos. Algunos son universales (como por ejemplo el pulgar para arriba), otros significan diferentes cosas en diferentes lugares. Acá, te enseñamos algunos gestos muy útiles para entender a los porteños.

When we talk, we use more than just words. We also do gestures that can be as meaningful as the words we say. Some of them are universal (such us “thumbs up”), some others mean different things in different places.
People from Buenos Aires are known for “speaking with their hands”. You might feel that we are making senseless chaotic movements but many of them are very meaningful and clear among locals.
Here, some of them.

 

 

¡Ojo! – Be careful!/Watch out!
[Pull down your lower eyelid with your index finger.]

 

 

¡Ni la más pálida idea! – I don’t know./I have no clue.[The chin flick: tilt your head back a bit and sweep the back of your fingers forward from under your chin.]

 


¡Ma sí, andá (a cagar)! – Get outta here!
[Throw your arm back toward your head.]

 

 

Montoncito – What the hell are you talking about?!/Just who do you think you are? [Bring all of your fingers and your thumb together with your hand pointing upward. Move your hand up and down at the wrist.]

 

 

¡Hambre! – You’re totally in the dark, out of it. You don’t know what time it is. [Bite your lower lip with your upper teeth and say: “mmmh!”]

 

 

Fuente: http://www.eniedespaniol.com.ar/blog/44/ojo-con-los-gestos-dictionary-of-portenos-gestures

20 de enero: 5º aniversario de lvstudio palermo, nuestra segunda oficina!!


20 de enero: 5º aniversario de lvstudio palermo, nuestra segunda oficina!! (ENGLISH VERSION BELOW)
Gracias comunidad LV por apoyarnos. Ya pasaron 5 años de nuestra segunda oficina en Palermo y diez desde que comenzamos en Buenos Aires y vamos creciendo de a poquito, con paso firme. Ojalá que las metas de cada uno de uds. también se hayan cumplido, y que hayan logrado comunicarse en inglés, español, francés, o portugués en sus viajes de placer, de trabajo o exámenes!
Esperamos verlos nuevamente en algún evento de lvstudio o en clase! Até mais! Hasta pronto! See you soon! A bientôt!

(IN ENGLISH)
January 20, 2013: 5th anniversary of lvstudio palermo, our second office!!
Thank you LV community for supporting us. It has been 5 years now since we opened our second office in Palermo, and 10 since we started, and we’ve grown little by little, at a steady pace. We sincerely wish that each of you have also fulfilled your goals, and have succeeded in communicating in English, Spanish, French, or Portuguese on your trips for pleasure, business, or on your exams!
We look forward to seeing you again soon at lvstudio or in class!
Até mais! Hasta pronto! See you soon! A bientôt!

lvstudio palermo, buenos aires: clases de inglés, clases de portugués, clases de francés con profesores nativos. Spanish lessons in Argentina

lvstudio palermo, buenos aires: clases de inglés, clases de portugués, clases de francés con profesores nativos. Spanish lessons in ARgentina