Arriving in 30 days...need help


Sep 28, 2008
Assuming I know nothing about BA can you give me top three neighborhoods in the city. Single female moving for at least six months.

(2) As expats do you organize events

(3) Are any of you able to work?

(4) Is english spoken widely? I speak some Italian

(5) Does the dollar go far or is it very expensive to live there?

Thanks so much

There are lots of good posts on this website that will answer your questions in detail.
About the dollar going far, no not anymore, it is quite expensive here compared to what it used to be.
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I am a native Argentine, naturalized American, who lived in the US for 26 years.
I studied languages at the University of Rosario, 300 Km. from Buenos Aires. In 1980 I moved to California. There I took English as a Second Language, Spanish Literature and Simultaneous Interpretation at the UCLA. I have been working as an Interpreter and as a Language Professor for a good part of my life. In the US, I taught Spanish to English speakers, and English to Spanish speakers. I have taken training courses on Teaching Techniques. I teach with the same system that the US uses to teach their Foreingn Services (FSI)
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Looking forward to hearing from you soon,
If you're only doing 6 months I go for palermo, either las canitas or somewhere nice in palermo viejo/palermo hollywood. Easy access to everywhere, safe, clean, green spaces and all the bars, restaurants etc. Palermo is a safe base to explore the city and has everything you'll need.

San telmo is nice, but run down and shabby and maybe not the safest place for a single female. Wouldn't recommend going further out than palermo.

Lots of expats events about, check the forum

Everyone I know works, either freelancers getting paid from jobs they got back home, or work locally as language teachers, or in recruitment etc. Lots of jobs needing english speakers/expats, check here and craigslist. Bar work / restaurant work is terribly paid, so wouldn't really consider it.

English is spoken in tourist places, and there's a good general knowledge, but if you already speak some italian you should be able to pick up basics pretty quickly. A little conversation goes a long way. Michel Thomas' audio books are good fun and very quick to get the basics.

BA isn't that cheap. Lots of things here are more expensive than US/Europe, especially consumer goods but restaurants, services, bars and taxis are relatively cheap. Bring everything you'll need with you and get the best value out of your dollars.

Note that for 6 months, your best (and only, really) option is short-term furnished housing (otherwise you have to sign a 2 year contract), which there is an abundance of here in Buenos Aires. If you want to live alone, plan to spend between $500-$700 a month with everything included (utilities, phone, cable, internet, and usually weekly maid service).

Large, short-term rental option that doesn't charge commission is Buenos Aires apartments for rent, Buenos Aires hotels, host families, travel Argentina they also have English speakers. If you want to spend less you need to find shared housing; use Habitaciones en Alquiler & Departamentos en Alquiler. Craig's list is not a good place to look since it's all in gringo prices. Otherwise, I wrote an extensive housing post that is now in the articles section.

Palermo is definitely a nice neighborhood and I personally recommend it over Recoleta/Barrio Norte, which is lovely but not very accessible by metro (subte) and also overrun with international students (mostly US and British) who are here 'learning' Spanish; for me it's a tiresome crowd. I live in Congreso and love it; cheaper than Palermo, very central, and much safer than people give it credit for, not to be confused with nearby Once which isn't the greatest. Also, the microcentro is filled with offices and upscale hotels, and therefore crowded by day but abandoned at night and on weekends, so I don't recommend that area either.

Bring all the electronics you'll want and plan to power them using adaptors. I bought a small hair dryer here, it was the cheapest I could find at $35 US and it is made of a questionably safe material - nicer onces are closer to $60, just to give you one example. Otherwise, food, movies/theater, transportation, and clothes/accessories are all cheaper than in the U.S., though not exorbitantly so.

This particular website does not organize events, but Democrats Abroad and Expat Connection both do; however, if your mission in coming here is to learn the language, I recommend avoiding organized English-speaking affairs and throwing yourself headfirst into the culture - there are tons of free and cheap cultural events such as plays, concerts, musicals, dances, tango lessons, and so on. The more English you speak, the less Spanish you'll learn.

If you have other questions feel free to contact me privately. I too am a single female living in BsAs. Good luck with your preparations!
Whoa, what's up with the links I posted turning into the website descriptions? Random. At any rate, they still work.
Make sure to bring adapter plugs, because you won't be able to find them here.
It seems like most people like Palermo areas. The cost of living is increasing, so just be aware. In Capital Federal, you can find most places that speak English. Expat connections organize trips. Good Luck.
criswkh said:
Make sure to bring adapter plugs, because you won't be able to find them here.
Just about every electricity store sells 'adaptor multinorma', expect to be set back around AR$ 4-5 /each.

Addition: This idiot :p (i.e. me) bought six (or seven?) before I had the idea to buy an 'extendedor' with 5 outlets, then drill the holes slightly larger to accept the European standard plug - won't work with US double-flat.
Agreed, I buy adapters in my local hardware store - usually about $4 pesos each.

Re the rest of your questions:

(1) Three neighborhoods - Palermo, Las Canitas, Belgrano are all very popular

(2) As expats do you organize events - As mentioned, lots of events

(3) Are any of you able to work? Lots of people work remotely (for companies back in the US). If you want a corp job, you need a visa & sponsorship. If you want to teach English "under the table", you can do it but it doesn't pay super well and there's lots of competition for jobs

(4) Is english spoken widely? I speak some Italian: Maso - lots of people understand it but you are better served to pick up Spanish as quickly as possible

(5) Does the dollar go far or is it very expensive to live there? It's not cheap. Depends on your frame of reference. I would say on average, it's more expensive than living in a mid-sized American city. YMMV.

(And whomever said clothes & bars are cheap - I would 100% disagree. Drinks are $25 pesos a drink - that's more expensive than most US cities. Ditto on clothes, the quality is a lot lower here and prices are a lot higher than in the US).
You pay 25 pesos a drink? You have expensive tastes!

Thats pretty much the price of the most expensive cocktail on the menu in most bars I've been to.

Can't beat the humble bottle of beer...