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Buenos Aires, Argentina

Program Description

Tango is one of the most recognizable dances in the world, but could you identify tango if you heard it--without seeing the dancers? Join "Music and Culture in Buenos Aires, 1880s-1980s" and spend three weeks in Buenos Aires exploring the city and its music and examining what makes them unique. We'll trace the origins of tango from the La Boca neighborhood to the concert stage; visit the Teatro Colón and learn about the Western art music presented there; discover unfamiliar musical instruments such as the pre-Columbian siku, the bandoneón, and the charango; experience different styles of folk music; and delve into Argentine history, politics, la nueva canción (protest songs) of the 1960s and 70s, and the emergence of Argentine Rock in the 1980s.  

Through performances, tours, museum visits, guest lectures, classroom discussions, listening assignments, films, and readings, this course, which fulfills a Cluster Two General Education requirement (HUM 251), will introduce various types of music that shaped Buenos Aires from the 1880s through 1980s. Particular attention will be paid to the cultural, historical and political events that surrounded the creation, coexistence and fusion of these diverse musics. Program highlights will include a tango lesson and show, performances at a peña and milonga, 25 de mayo national holiday celebrations, and a day trip to a gaucho ranch in the countryside, including a typical asado (BBQ) and folkloric dance and music performances. 

Location Description

Buenos Aires or CABA, the autonomous capital city of Argentina, is a bustling cosmopolitan metropolis known for its architecture, dance, music, and night-life. Located on the western shore of Rio de la Plata, this important port city is a melting pot of cultures and traditions. Often called the Paris of South America, European influences can be seen in its wide avenues, 19th-century buildings, cafes, and cuisine.

In addition to an abundance of museums and bookstores, Buenos Aires is home to over 300 theaters, including the internationally acclaimed Teatro Colón. There are also many parks, gardens, and open spaces, and the weather in May/June (Autumn in the Southern hemisphere) is pleasant with temperatures averaging between 55-65 degrees F.


Jeanette Zyko | | School of Music


Housing accommodations will either be homestays or shared apartments in the Palermo District.

Most meals will be provided as part of the program fee.

Additional Items to Consider

Entry/Exit Requirements for U.S. citizens: U.S. citizens need a valid passport to enter Argentina. Private U.S. citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days for tourism or business.

Spanish is the official language of Argentina. Although this program does not have a language requirement and many people in Buenos Aires speak English, students may find a basic knowledge of the Spanish language helpful.

Prior musical background or experience is not required for this course, and students from all majors, including music, are encouraged to participate in this program.

COVID-19 Location Information:

Each country has different requirements upon entry with regard to COVID-19. Please check this website for the most up-to-date information on what is required for the country (or countries) that are part of this program. Please note that this changes often, so we encourage you to check back frequently.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

All majors and academic levels welcome

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($40 fee)
  • Short essay 
  • Resume
  • Academic References
  • Meeting with Program Director may be required
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


HUM 251: Modern Perspectives: Music and Culture in Buenos Aires, 1880s-1980s (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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