Welcome to Argentina, the “land of silver.” Famous for its gauchos, tango, and steak, the country’s capital Buenos Aires, is unsurprisingly the most visited city in South America.
Like the United States, Argentina is also considered a country of immigrants, and is referred to by Argentines as crisol de razas, meaning crucible of races, the Argentine equivalent of ‘melting pot.’ While being a highly multicultural country, significant European influences are still seen in architecture, fashion, and design.
Argentina is a federal constitutional republic and representative democracy. The country’s official and most spoken language is Spanish. English is taught since Elementary school, and a little less than half of Argentines claim to speak it.
The country guarantees freedom of religion, although Roman Catholicism is the most practiced religion in the country.
In Argentina, the nuclear family is the most common household unit. However, family is traditionally the center of Argentine life, and extended families still have prominence. Partly for economic reasons and partly because of tradition, sons and daughters often stay with their parents until they are well into their twenties or until they marry. Honor is highly valued and routinely affects day-to-day life at home, in the community, and in business.
Argentines are very fond of beef and pasta. Vegetarians will have a very challenging time in Argentina. Spanish and Italian cuisine inspire everyday cooking, while French-influenced cuisine is reserved for special occasions. Cafes are popular spots for Argentines to meet to discuss politics and soccer, to flirt and make new friends, to study and socialize, and are considered the heart and soul of urban culture in Argentina.
Argentines are warm people and their unreservedness makes apparent their passion and sentimentality. Social physical distance in everyday encounters is much closer than it is in the United States.
Argentina has one of the highest levels of literacy among all Latin American countries, at around 98%. Its education system is considered one of the most advanced and progressive in Latin America.
Education in state institutions is free at the initial, primary, secondary and tertiary levels and in the undergraduate university level. Education is compulsory from the last year of kindergarten to the last year of high school.
Teens in Argentina have very active social lives. They love to hang out with family and friends, especially over mate tea. Mate, a Paraguayan tea made from holly leaves, is more than a simple drink like tea or coffee to Argentines. It is a ritual, shared among family, friends, and colleagues. Every year, Argentines consume an average of 5 kg of mate per person.
Argentine teens also love playing sports, four of the most popular sports being its national sport pato (combination of polo and basketball played on horseback), soccer, polo, and tennis.
Argentines have family gatherings that last long into the night and especially for celebrations like weddings or holidays, allow their children to stay up far later than their American counterparts would ever be allowed to. To them, dinner is a sacred family bonding time and they also believe that taking children along to parents’ social gatherings can be beneficial in preparing children to develop interpersonal skills in the future.