Porteños are extremely friendly and will greet friends with a kiss on the cheek. On first meeting a friend will introduce you to another friend, who will probably greet you with a kiss on the cheek. You will naturally start greeting your new friend with a kiss every time you see him or her, but that first introduction is needed before you start greeting others with a kiss. It is up to you to adopt this custom; if you don't feel comfortable, Argentines are pretty easygoing and likely to understand.
Another custom of the Argentines is to drink mate, traditional beverage made of strong herbal tea, with their close friends. If you are invited to join this affectionate custom be prepared to share the same mate cup with others while engaging in some interesting conversation.
Once you arrive in Buenos Aires, you'll be surprised by the amiability and openness of the Argentines. This makes it easy to meet Argentines and make Argentine friends. Argentines enjoy conversing with people from abroad, exchanging ideas and sharing views. Making local friends will help you practice your Spanish and learn more about everyday life in Buenos Aires.
Tipping is not included in the bill. The customary amount for tips is lower than in the US, about 10%, but can't be included in the credit card part of the bill at a restaurant. In most cases, if you are paying with a credit card you will be asked to give the waiter a separate cash tip, so it is wise to always have a bit of cash on you when eating out.
Spanish is the official language in Buenos Aires. English is widely spoken, with some French and German, too. The first week you are in Buenos Aires there is an intensive language class at the NYU Center. The class will help you get more comfortable finding your way around the city, grocery stores, restaurants, and bars!
These are some useful phrases for getting around the city!
Yes - Sí
No - No
Hello - Hola
Goodbye - Chau
Please - Por favor
Thank you - Gracias
My name is ... - Me llamo ...
How are you? - ¿Cómo estás?
I'm very well - Estoy muy bien
I feel ill - Me siento mal
How much does it cost? - ¿Cuánto cuesta?
Do you speak English? - ¿Hablás inglés?
I don't understand - No entiendo
Where is ...? - ¿Dónde está ...?