A big 'hullo!'!

Fernetlovva

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So I've just booked my ticket to Buenos Aires for April 8th, and I plan on being there for about 5 months. I'm a pre-med student who is taking a year off!


I've spent some time in South America - I was in Ecuador for 3 months, doing some volunteer work - and I absolutely loved it. I loved the people, the warmth (climate and personalities), I loved the language (and was getting pretty good at it, I think), the food, the cultural quirks...everything. Some of the best people I met on my trip were from Argentina, though. Incredibly friendly, even by South American standards, wonderfully relaxed and just great people. I keep in touch with a couple still.


Anywho, I had a few general questions and comments and I was hoping I could get some advice from some of the wonderful people on this board. First of all, I'm going in with about $5,000 US. That comes out to about 1,000 a month.

I've prowled the board a bit and I've seen varying comments on whether or not one can live on that, but I thought perhaps I might be able to get a more consistent answer if I spoke to my situation specifically. First of all, I want to rent a room, not an apartment. Looking on craigslist, I can see that renting a room can range from anywhere from 200-600 dollars a month. Well, that brings me to my next bit...I have no desire to live in the 'trendy' or 'upscale' part of town. I am NOT interested in living in a place in which I hear more english than spanish on the streets. Safe? Sure. But most important, to me, is that the neighborhood has an identity and a culture and a charm all it's own. I've read conflicting reports about San Telmo (sp?)...some say it's the Greenwich village of Buenos Aires, but others say it's as touristy as anywhere.

Any advice on that?

Likewise, as much as this is a holiday for me, I don't do anything extravagant except perhaps eat, and even then I don't like the upscale/high society looking places. I don't plan on doing any clothes shopping, save for necessities (and an initial investment on a mate gourde/bombilla). I DO plan on going out at night, to clubs and what not, semi frequently. So is it possible to live on 1000 a month, given these preferences, or should I budget more?

Moreover, I'd like to do some volunteering while I'm in Buenos Aires. Preferably something through one of the hospitals, as I have ample experience in the medical field, but really anything with kids or the under privileged. How easy is it to get involved in something like that once I get to Argentina? I have no desire to pay expensive program fees to do it, though.

An addition to the above is a question about teaching english/finding odd jobs around Buenos Aires...how easy is it? If I wanted to pick up some extra cash working for, say, 10-20 hours a week (for Fernet money or something) is that feasible, being a fluent english speaker, an intermediate spanish speaker, and having two (undergraduate) degrees, one in English?

Thanks all for your time, and I look forward to talking to you more soon!
 

jp

Registered
Hi Kate

1000 USD a month is fine, if you're young and looking for an experience. It won't get you luxury, the best food or plush apartments in trendy barrios but thats doesn't sound like what you're looking for.

Going out can be cheap or very expensive depending on your tastes. You can eat well for not much money if you know which restaurants to head for. If you choose fernet over 25 peso cocktails thats makes bars and clubs much more affordable, likewise if you'll consider getting subte's and collectivos instead of defaulting for a taxi each time (although appreciate you have to consider your safety at night).

San telmo isn't for everyone, I love it for a day or night out but wouldn't live there. Its also a bit overpriced, although you could probably find other people in similar positions there who could let you a room.

The peso is also currently falling against the dollar - so your 1000 a month is getting steadily more valuable. A few months back it would have worked out as 3000 pesos a month. Now its 3700 - makes a big difference!

If you live like a local, eat in local restaurants, cook for yourself, drink local drinks etc you shouldn't have any problems with money so long as you keep an eye on things.

There are odd jobs that crop up on here and on craigs list, lots of competition generally for very few places although if you've can teach english thats always a possibility.

Suerte
 

Fernetlovva

Registered
Kate, thanks so much! I've responded!

jp - Thanks for the great information as well. I definitely love the more 'real' stuff like Fernet (which I tried while I was in Ecuador) and chorizopan, etc though I do plan on splurging on an all you can eat bbq place at some point. You only live once, right? :)

You say you wouldn't want to live in San Telmo...can I ask you why that is? Just too dirty?

I guess what is important to me is that 1. There is a sense of community 2. The people are friendly 3. It's close to cafes/bars/restaurants/clubs

Cheers for the last bit as well. I'll keep an eye out for the odd craigslist job, but I won't let the need for money stop me from doing volunteer work and having fun! Perhaps I'll look for something that can be done over the internet...

Thanks again jp.
 

Fernetlovva

Registered
Another question I had...

What is the best way to go about getting access to your money while in Buenos Aires? I have a credit union account here in the states, but they only allow 4 non-Credit Union ATM withdrawals before they start charging, and I'm not sure what the deal is with currency conversion, etc.

So how does everyone get access to their money while minimizing the loss of it through various fees and charges?
 

jp

Registered
San telmo can be nice during the day, there are some great restaurants and ars and the market is good fun but at the same time its dirty, particularly at night and whilst its not overly dodgy its less secure than other areas. Prefer going out in palermo myself, and the quieter barrios surrounding it are nice, peaceful safe places to live.

San telmo might be exactly what you are looking for, its got a sense of community, nightlife and friendly people. I'd get a short term rent - maybe a few weeks in a flat or even a hostel and have an explore and see where suits you best. Hostels are also a great way to meet lots of people when you arrive

You can get amazing great value parrilla all over the city, so if thats what you want to splurge on you'll have no probs. Fernet.... first time I got given it I thought it was a wind-up. Couldn't understand how anyone could voluntarily drink anything that vile. But it does grow on you, and now I tend to choose it over everything else. Very odd...
 

Macanudo

Registered
Hello,
I'm renting a room in San Telmo for $350. US a month which I found on Craigslist Argentina, and love it here. I rarely hear English on the streets. I am here to dance Tango and haven't met many Americans in classes or at Milongas either. There is a great cheap Chinese restaurant on the corner of Pietras and Carlos Calvos. I have a bowl of tufu & Chicken soup and fideos Chow mien with chicken and it costs around 24 pesos. Hitano restaurant on Chili near Defensa charges less for food to go, try the Wok natural. I take the collectivo everywhere day and night.
good luck,
Patrick :)
 

Fernetlovva

Registered
criswkh said:
That's criswkh!

So from reading all that (and getting quite confused!), it seems the end result is to open up one of these Schwab checking accounts?
 

Fernetlovva

Registered
jp said:
San telmo can be nice during the day, there are some great restaurants and ars and the market is good fun but at the same time its dirty, particularly at night and whilst its not overly dodgy its less secure than other areas. Prefer going out in palermo myself, and the quieter barrios surrounding it are nice, peaceful safe places to live.

San telmo might be exactly what you are looking for, its got a sense of community, nightlife and friendly people. I'd get a short term rent - maybe a few weeks in a flat or even a hostel and have an explore and see where suits you best. Hostels are also a great way to meet lots of people when you arrive
Yeah, I plan on doing a hostel for about a week (it seems that you can get some for pretty cheap). I really don't want to commit to any place without first seeing it, the neighborhood, etc. I'm just, right now, trying to get a feel for what areas would be best to focus my attention.

You can get amazing great value parrilla all over the city, so if thats what you want to splurge on you'll have no probs. Fernet.... first time I got given it I thought it was a wind-up. Couldn't understand how anyone could voluntarily drink anything that vile. But it does grow on you, and now I tend to choose it over everything else. Very odd...
Heh, I enjoyed it (with coke, of course) when I had it once in Ecuador, so I think I'll be a fan. Plus I can convince myself it's me being health conscious! :)

Happy to hear about the Parilla...I'm sure I'll get tired of it eventually, but it's hard to imagine at this point!

Thanks for the response!
 
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