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Study in Cordoba, Argentina

Study in Cordoba, Argentina

Cordoba, situated near the geographical center of Argentina, is the second largest city in the country after Buenos Aires—Argentina’s federal capital, which is located approximately 400 miles to the south.  Cordoba is the capital of the Cordoba Province, and its 222 square miles of land area is nestled in the foothills of the Sierras Chicas on the banks of the Suquia River.  As of the 2010 census, the ethnically diverse population of Cordoba totaled 1.3 million, with the most common ethnic groups in the city being Italian and Spanish, the latter of two come from the Galicia and Basque regions.  Spanish is the official language of Cordoba and throughout Argentina, but within the various neighborhoods of the city it’s not odd to hear other languages spoken, including Italian and English.  The city’s diversity can be traced back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when massive waves of European immigrants, encouraged by agricultural prospects, arrived in Cordoba, particularly from counties such as Spain, Italy, France, Germany and Ireland, but also from many Eastern European nations such as Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Romania and Ukraine.  By 1920, nearly 45 percent of the city’s population was made up of non-native Argentines.

Cordoba was founded in 1573 by Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera, an explorer/settler who named the city after Cordoba, Spain.  It was one of the first Spanish colonial capitals in the region that is now Argentina, second only to Santiago del Estero, which was founded 20 years earlier in 1553.  In the years following Argentina’s independence from Spanish colonial rule in 1816, the city of Cordoba has undergone many changes, but perhaps most notable is the process of natural industrialization that began to occur towards the end of the 19th century.  This period saw the introduction of the economic agro-exporting model, particularly of meats and grains, and is directly tied to the wave of European immigrants who possessed the education, experience and enterprising spirit for developing such a model.  Today the city of Cordoba, which rivals Buenos Aires in political and economic significance, has a very brisk economy, one that revolves around several key industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, local and international commerce, and the service industry.

If you’re planning to visit or take up residence in Cordoba, perhaps while attending a university or one of the country’s full-immersion Spanish language courses, you’ll be happy to hear the prices for accommodations are very reasonable.  Apartments, which are located in both the downtown areas and the suburbs, vary in terms of monthly rates, but on average you can expect to pay $400-$500 a month—much less than the North American average.  Like in Buenos Aires, nearly 70 percent of residents in Cordoba live in an apartment or rental unit of some kind, with the remainder (usually the upper class to wealthy) living in detached single homes. 

Most everything you will need to live a balanced and fulfilling life can be found in and around Cordoba, including banks, schools, shopping centers (retail and grocery), restaurants, parks, museums, galleries, beauty services, movie theaters and sports and fitness complexes.  Many of these goods and services are within walking distance from Cordoba’s universities, homes and apartments, but if not, the public transportation system, which includes trolley buses, taxis and remis, can conveniently take you to your destination for a small fee.  Long distance passenger trains are available for those who want to explore cities outside of Cordoba, including the Ferrocentral, an overnight train that travels twice weekly to the Buenos Aires train station.  The government has also proposed a high speed rail between Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Rosario, with construction expected later this year.

Cordoba has a humid subtropical climate that is fairly mild and moderated by the Pampas winds.  In the summer months, November through early March, the average temperature is 87 degrees Fahrenheit, with nighttime lows in the 60s.  Summers can occasionally produce heat waves, with some days topping the 100 degree mark, but the cool Pampas winds and afternoon thunderstorms do a great job at reducing the heat intensity.  Winter months, late May through early September, bring average high temperatures of 64 degrees, and lows ranging in the upper 30s to lower 40s.

The beautiful weather in Cordoba will afford you plenty of opportunities to familiarize yourself with the rich Argentine culture, its literature, food, music, monuments and festivals.  The Paseo del Buen Pastor, for example, is a cultural center/shopping gallery in Cordoba that enables you to explore the city’s literary and artistic history and watch vintners, cheese makers and other artisans perform their craft.  Other opportunities for cultural enrichment and fun include the pubs and nightclubs, where people dance to live cuartero music—the typical music heard throughout Cordoba; La Cañada, a fascinating architectural wonder and the most emblematic building in all of Cordoba; and Spring Day, a traditional Cordoba /holiday/festival that includes concerts, traditional Argentine food such as asado and hours upon hours of dancing. 

Every day in Cordoba will produce new opportunities to learn and plenty of exciting diversions, all of which will make your visit well worth the effort and impossible to forget.