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 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. Use this as an opportunity 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 at restaurants can be a bit complicated in Buenos Aires. In most restaurants, the tip is not included in the bill and you are expected to give a 10% tip separately (and most often in cash) to the waiter. 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 - Adiós
Please - Por favor
Thank you - Gracias
My name is ... - Me llamo ...
How are you? - ¿Qué tal estás?
I'm very well - Estoy muy bien
I feel ill - Me encuentro mal
How much does it cost? - ¿Cuánto es?
Do you speak English? - ¿Habla inglés?
I don't understand - No entiendo
Where is ...? - ¿Dónde está?