BAIS Argentina: helping international students in Buenos Aires
What are you doing on your year abroad?
I am currently studying Economics and Hispanic Studies and I chose to spend my year abroad in Buenos Aires where I am currently interning at an NGO, BAIS Argentina, which helps the social integration of international students here in the city. I decided Buenos Aires would be perfect for me because it is a huge cosmopolitan city but there is still a strong South American and ‘Porteña’ culture, and after travelling round parts of Latin America two years ago I knew it was the place I wanted to be.
Can you tell us more about BAIS Argentina?
BAIS Argentina began as a hobby for Diego Larre in 2005: he wanted to meet people from all over the world, and knew that many people from all corners of the globe choose to study in Buenos Aires every semester. So with this in mind, he started to organise things to do in his university, events that gave people the opportunity to meet each other whilst getting to know Buenos Aires, inviting all of his international friends who then in turn invited theirs. This then formed the basis for what is now BAIS (Buenos Aires International Students) Argentina, the success lead Diego to team together with a friend who started to organise nights out in the city. Together they realised that foreign students here have many needs which seemed to have slipped under the universities’ radar. After working together for two years they decided to set up the NGO to give international students a support network here in Argentina.
Now each semester more than 8,000 students from across the globe entrust their time and experiences in us, participating in our weekly cultural and recreational activities, most of them free of charge. We organise huge fiestas, take for example our welcome party this year which for us is one of our most important events; where people can first get to know each other, over 2,000 people came to the event and it was a great success all round!
We also organise cultural activities, sports and trips to Brazil and places all over Argentina like Iguazú Falls and Patagonia. See below for our latest trip:
1. Our main aim is to act as a support network for the students who come here and show them the best of what Argentina has to offer, whilst opening up opportunities to meet people. We want to treat students just as that, students, and not like tourists, enriching their exchange experience, whilst keeping in mind what foreign students enjoy and need during their stay especially activities and trips that suit their budgets.
2. To act like the students’ family here in the country, offering them support, sharing unforgettable moments and experiences.
What can students get out of it?
You can make the absolute most of your year abroad experience! Branching out meeting people in a similar situation but from all corners of the globe also you get to see and experience a huge variety of things throughout Argentina and beyond. As well as all this you can get involved in the local community as BAIS Solidarity links students to social projects in and around the city.