Conversation Nights with LV Studio

The very first week that I arrived here in Buenos Aires, about 7 months ago, I attended a conversation night at LV Studio. I was a little nervous and hesitant about going, but I figured that I needed to take a chance and try some new things in order to meet more people and P1000839really practice my Spanish.

    When I arrived there were two other people there, one young woman from Germany and another young man from Australia. The three of us had a great class with a very helpful teacher who had been born and raised in Buenos Aires and after we all went to dinner and to have some drinks. The three of us hit it off right away. Months later the guy from Australia returned to his home country and the woman from Germany and I continue to grab coffee occasionally or meet each other for a Saturday night drink. She has become one of my closest friends.

After a couple of months working for LV Studio as an English teacher, I was asked to teach the conversation nights. Now, I try to alternate. Some Friday nights I am the teacher for the English students and other nights, I participate as a student practicing her Spanish. However, I have found that no matter what role I find myself playing, I always enjoy myself. I find myself meeting some pretty awesome people from all over the world, enjoying a beer and learning a million new things (whether they be in English or Spanish).

There is always a friendly face to welcome any and all newcomers to Buenos Aires and always a good time waiting to be had.

If you haven’t ever tried a conversation night with LV Studio or if you’ve gone maybe once, but haven’t returned, I highly suggest that you try it. You never know who you’ll end up meeting.

See you there!



Friday Conversation Night 4/10: Language Practice, Empanadas, and Salsa Dancing!

Empanada and salsa dancing Conversation Night was great! After the Spanish and English conversation classes, which were held at LV Studio Palermo, we headed across the street to our favorite local empanada shop for a bite to eat. We had an interesting mix of people – from the United States, Sweden, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Holland! 

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 After a few beers and some empanadas, and lots of great conversation in English and Spanish, a few of us made our way to meet up with Kiwan, an lvstudio Spanish student from Korea and advanced salsa dancer, at La Salsera for a night of salsa dancing.  We had a blast, so a huge thanks to everyone that came out with us!

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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.


Où voyager en Argentine ?

Dans sa longueur, l’Argentine s’étire sur 3 700 km !
Le pays est tres vaste, et les paysages y sont differents a chaque regions. Tout les coins de l’Argentine sont grandiose, et meritent d’etre visites.

Pour ceux qui doivent faire un choix de destination dans leur voyage, on vous detail les cinq grandes regions naturelles du territoire:


 Les Andes du Nord-Ouest, appelées NOA, s’opposent en tout point à la Pampa. Comprenant environ 15 % de la population, cette région, véritable choc culturel, marque la fin de l’Argentine européenne et des grandes plaines. Une population métissée et indienne, des petites villes coloniales, la grandiose Quebrada (vallée encaissée) de Humahuaca située à plus de 2 000 m d’altitude, des champs de cactus, des lamas, des montagnes aux camaïeux de rouge…

 La Patagonie est la plus vaste région du pays (30 % du territoire) mais aussi la moins peuplée (moins d’un habitant au kilomètre carré). Le détroit de Magellan sépare la Terre de Feu du continent. Paysages d’immensités, de plateaux battus par des vents secs et froids. On y trouve une faune d’une incroyable richesse (sans compter les moutons que l’on compte par milliers !) et Ushuaïa, la ville la plus australe du monde.


 La Pampa, immense plaine monotone de 600 000 km², soit plus de 20 % du territoire, est le centre économique du pays. C’est la région des bifes etchurrascos, ces succulentes viandes de bœuf cuites au gril ou au feu de bois. Dans la région de Córdoba, ces immenses plaines laissent place à une chaîne de montagnes (las Sierras de Córdoba).

 Les Andes centrales (Cuyo) sont la région qui possède les plus hauts sommets (Aconcagua), dont certains sont des volcans, et le plus de vignobles. Les grandes villes de cette zone sont Mendoza, San Juan et San Luis.





Les plaines du Nord-Est se caractérisent par de vastes zones de marécages et de savanes à l’ouest, et par la région humide et forestière des grands fleuves, Rio Parana et Rio Uruguay à l’est, que les Argentins appellent la Mésopotamie. La province de Misiones est connue pour ses ruines jésuites (notamment San Ignacio) et ses spectaculaires chutes d’Iguazú (voir photo). La forêt tropicale atlantique que l’on y trouvait a été réduite à une peau de chagrin.



Tigre – relax your pace away from the city

Tigre – A Popular Destination for Locals & Tourists

Tigre, a long time favorite with Lvstudio, has been a popular destination for many of our Spanish-Only-Weekend-Trips over the years. While big cities like Buenos Aires are great places to spend a few weeks, sometimes there is a desire to escape to somewhere a little quieter and more peaceful to re-charge the batteries. This favored hiding place of the Porteños (people from Buenos Aires) is only a 50 min train ride from the Retiro train station. Tigre is divided in two by the Rio Tigre and the waters stream in from the inland jungles of Argentina.

Tigre lies on the Paraná delta, in the 16th century it was just a small port town until the wealthy elite of Buenos Aires discovered it at the beginning of the 20th century and transformed it with the now many colonial mansions and beautiful houses that we see today.

This is a huge water recreation area, and you will see everything that floats from canoes, kayaks, rowboats, racing shells, jet skis, rubber rafts, and power boats. There is no speed limit and everything is done by boat albeit buses, taxis, and hauling services, there are even supermarket boats! Tigre, in addition has many rowing clubs, and Argentina’s first “regatta” was held in here.

Tigre is not all about boat trips however, visit some of the many museums including the Mate Museum (dedicated to the popular tea drinking beverage in Argentina) the Navel Museum and Tigre’s Art Museum. Furthermore the iconic high ferris wheel and the many rollercoaster’s of the Tigre’s theme park provide endless hours of entertainment for the younger generation. Finally the Mercado de Frutos is a must see. This daily crafts market is great for picking up some local bargains and trinkets.

A Spanish & English Cultural Trip to Tigre with Lvstudio
Why not start your new year off by joining us at Lvstudio for our next A Spanish & English Cultural Trip to the Tigre Delta on March 1-2nd 2013? We will be partaking in numerous activities such as boat trips, swimming, sporting activities, sightseeing, and relaxing at the river side. Enjoy a typical Argentine asado with us and partake in numerous games all whilst practicing and building on your English/Spanish skills! Our goal is for you to use Spanish/English in all activities carried out throughout the day as we believe you don’t just learn a language, you experience it! Get in touch to reserve your place:


The Wines Of Argentina

The Argentine wine industry is fast becoming one of the largest contenders in the global wine industry. In fact, it is now the fifth largest producer of wine in the world, and the Argentine government has recently even declared wine its national liquor. Argentina has an abundance of the natural elements in place for perfect wine producing conditions. Its high altitudes, generous sunshine, large temperature differential, limited pests and disease, low rainfall, controlled irrigation, geographic location from the ocean, and pure, alluvial soil create a perfect environment that is unparalleled elsewhere. The sizable spans of Argentina’s vineyards are located along the country’s western border. They extend for over 2,000 kilometres, from the Cafayate Valley, high up in Salta, in the north, through Mendoza, in the center, right down to the lower-level and down to the protected Rio Negro Valley, to the south east, in Patagonia.

Northwest Region – Catamara & Salta
The vineyards of the northwestern provinces of Catamarca, Jujuy and Salta are located between the 24th parallel and 26th parallel south and include some of the highest elevated vineyards in the world with many vineyards planted more than 4,900 feet (1,500 meters) above sea level. The soils and climate of the regions are very similar to Mendoza but the unique mesoclimate and high elevation of the vineyards typically produces grapes with higher levels of total acidity which contribute to the wines balance and depth. Of the three regions, Catamarca is the most widely planted with more than 5,800 acres (2,300 hectares) under vine as of 2003. In recent years the Salta region, and particularly its sub-region of Cafayate, have been gaining the most worldwide attention the quality of its full bodied whites made from Torrontés Riojano as well as its fruity reds made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat.

Central Region – Mendoza, San Juan & La Rioja
The most notable wine regions of Argentina are Mendoza, where nearly all the major wineries are concentrated. With its continental climate favoring grape growing, the Mendoza region is responsible for producing over 80% of total wine production in Argentina. Spend a few terrific days and nights in Mendoza, savouring, sipping, walking and biking this region where the majority of Argentina’s wines are produced, including Argentina’s signature wine, the rich, deep-garnet malbec.
The San Juan and La Rioja regions are long-standing regions that continue to produce a wealth of wine created from simple grapes for local consumption. Though a relatively small region, with only 20,000 acres (8,000 hectares) planted as of 2003, the region is known for aromatic Moscatel de Alexandrias and Torrontés made from a local sub-variety known as Torrontés Riojano. Lack of water however has curtailed much vineyard expansion in his area.

Southern Region – Río Negro, Neuquén & Patagonia
Southern Patagonia region includes the fruit producing regions of Río Negro and Neuquén which has a considerably cooler climate than the major regions to the north. The Rio Negro region lies at the southern end of wine production. It is known by many as an upcoming wine region, not only for cool-climate varietals like Chardonnay and Pinot noir but as well as Malbec, Semillon and Torrontés Riojano. Many of the grapes for the Argentine sparkling wine industry are sourced from this area.

Wine Tasting Buenos Aires

Wine Tasting Buenos Aires

Wine Tasting with Lvstudio
Warm weather arrives and wonder: What is your favourite Argentine wine for this summer? Here at Lvstudio we are also passionate about our wines! Join us every 3rd Thursday of the month for a wine Spanish vocabulary class followed by a visit to a favourite wine tasting venue of ours for a tasting experience through Spanish. Learn the provenance of your favourite wines and where to buy them at the best prices. All Spanish levels welcome – please contact us for further information or to RSVP attendance:

10 Free Things to do in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires has many treasures to be seen, and barrios to be explored. Short on pesos? No worries, so much of this beautiful city can be experienced for free- or at least for a cheap ride on the Subte or Colectivos.

1. BA Free Tours
11am and 5pm daily, BA Free Tours will take you around key tourist points in Buenos Aires- For Free! The tours are done in small groups, and are so casual you will feel as though are strolling around with your friend.

2. Caminito
Walk around to view the brightly colored buildings on cobble stone pedestrian streets. On the weekends the area is packed with vendors, street performers, tango dancers, and alluring smells from the many cafes.

3. Barrio Chino
Didn’t realize Buenos Aires had a Chinatown? Well it is an alive and flourishing Asian community with markets and Chinese restaurants. Also, you can visit one of the few Buddhist temples in the city, and watch the fishmongers work.

4. Recoleta Cemetery
Walking through the 15 acres of elaborate marble mausoleums, you feel like you’ve stepped into another world. The beautiful structures house the remains of former presidents, Nobel Prize winners, and even Eva Perón rest here.

5. Free Conversation Course
Speak like a local and meet others learning the porteño lifestyle. LV Studio offers free Conversation Class every Wednesday.

6. Markets
Buenos Aires is bustling with marketplaces full of art and must-have souvenirs. The most highly recommended markets are on Sundays in San Telmo and Feria de Matadores.

7. El Ateneo
A classically beautiful theater built in 1919 has been renovated to show off its splendor, and become a largely stocked bookstore. Sift through the shelves while viewing the marvelously painted ceiling. Find a book and settle down in a cozy seat in a balcony looking over the entire theater.

8. Plaza de Mayo
View the beauty of the Argentine government buildings, including the Casa Rosada and the famous balcony from which Eva Perón made her famous speech on May Day 1952. The Plaza also contains the Pirámide de Mayo, a nine-meter obelisk built in 1811 to mark the first anniversary of Argentina’s revolution against Spanish colonial rule.

9. Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur
This 865-acre park is a lovely escape to stroll, bike, or picnic while taking in the scenic view of the city’s skyline.

10. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Always free, and full of modern masters such as Degas, Klee, Kandinsky, and Van Gogh. Also a stunning collection of Argentinean and South American artists.

Language learning may increase brain development!


New studies have been done on the brains of students enrolled in intensive language courses. MRI’s were taken of the students brains over a 3 month span. The images have been analyzed and show growth in the cerebral cortex, the area of the brain responsible for language, attention, and memory. More specifically the hippocampus which consolidates information from the short-term to the long-term memory. The hippocampus is the first part of the brain that suffers damage on the onslaught of Alzheimer’s disease. This connects studies finding benefits of learning a new language to ward off Alzheimer’s disease, and to keep the brain young.

So keep learning language and keep your brain in shape!