General Questions from a Prospective Expat


Yes, there is more than just Tango, actually there is pretty much anything artsy you could imagine. Internet is not a problem (most of the time) and I'd suggest you just come here and take a hotel and then explore which part of the city best caters to your taste and budget. I find it extremely easy to mingle with locals, I have found them to be extremely friendly and helpful towards foreigners.


Places to live…many people talk about San Telmo as being the “bohemian” place to hang out although many still seem to feel uncomfortable about security there after dark. The heart of Palermo is a very busy, ever changing and vibrant place with lots of youth, both local and international – it certainly seems to be a young and hip place to be. You can get decent apartments there for around US$800-1000 per month (although I’ve met people paying considerably less than this, I can’t vouch for the standard of apartment). Palermo Chico and Recoletta are considered “the best” places to live and expect to pay anything from US$1200-3000 per month depending on the standard and exact location.
Expats – they come in all ages and persuasions…and despite the impression that some posts on this site might give, 99.9% of those that I’ve met are very happy to be here (after all, everyone is free to leave if they don’t like it). Some are working for international companies, some have come to set-up their own businesses and some have simply come here to chill out, to learn Spanish or get away from whatever it is that they don’t like about where they come from.
Most of the Expats that I have met have been Americans and all are enjoying their time here. People will take you for who you are and those that are disposed to “dislike” Americans or rip you off are most likely to feel the same about every other nationality. If you want to integrate fully, there are plenty of opportunities to do so and the younger you are, the easier it is. If you want to stay within the Expat community or keep a foot in both camps, equally that’s possible too. BA is not paradise (but where is?). However (and this is a personal opinion), I can’t think of many cities in the world where the cost of living is still relatively cheap by most developed countries standards, combined with such a vibrant cultural scene, good and varied places to go out, and supported (for the time being) with strong economic growth. Issues with bureaucracy and services such as cell phones etc. are simply inconveniences that with a bit of patience, can usually be overcome.
It’s all about personal preferences and I’m sure that plenty of people have come here, hated it and left. However, until you come here and walk the streets, you’ll never know! All of the major travel magazines have got BA right up there as the place to be at the moment so there certainly won’t be a shortage of articles to refer to on the net (if you can access them from Beijing that is). In summary, I would recommend BA to anyone.
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Chris, You posted this about 3 years ago. I hope somehow this message catches you.

I'm in a similar situation as you were in - 24 yrs old, moving from the states in Jan, planning to spend time doing light freelance work and learn Spanish.

How was your experience? Was it worth it? What did you learn? Would you do it again? Any tips you would give yourself if you were to go back in time?

I'd greatly appreciate a response from you.




If you click on Chris' user name you will see Chris' last visit here was 2-15-2008.

I doubt you will receive a response, but if you use the search engine of the forum you will find many threads and hundreds of relevant posts. You can also just browse the newcomers' forum.


I have been living in Buenos Aires for some time and I have a couple of observations that you might consider.

I am a well traveled American. I enjoy Buenos Aires for what's it worth but I do have to say that many of the people that I have encountered have something against foreigners. It is my opinion that if you have lived in a foreign city, met the people then and only then you are qualified to base an accurate opinion. When I speak with the local people here they seem very opinionated when it comes to Americans. My reply is have you ever been to the US? 99.9% of the time the answer is NO. How can you be so opinionated if you don't know what you are talking about?

I feel that the people of Buenos Aires are out for themselves. If something is good for them then it is the way it will be. So many people can say whatever they want about Americans but you do not encounter so many arrogant, pushy people as you do here. People will literally dash in front of you on a crowded street only to be 2 steps ahead. Or they will run into you on the street and not acknowledge with an apology. It makes no sense to me. Is it something to do with upbringing and the issue of what is right and what is wrong? I have lived in NYC for years and have never encountered anything like this.

I do understand that Argentina has had many problems for the past decades with leadership but it is NOT our fault. Someone must have told them as they were growing up that all Americans are imperialist capitalist pigs and that we are stupid and should be avoided. Reminds me when I used to live in Germany I met a Brit that called Germany his home for many years. He avoided me like the plague so one day I asked him why. His reply was he doesn’t like Americans because of what he has seen on TV. To this date he has never visited the US. Again I have to say before one becomes so opinionated please visit the US, good and bad (and we have alot of bad) and then you will see more clearly that everybody is an individual and should not be grouped together just because they come from another country or because their leaders have brainwashed them since birth.

Many expats will not agree with me and that is fine. I will not go through life worrying about. Everybody has their opinion. So many expats that I have met here are here to find their version of Utopia. As we all know it does not exist. I think that if the people of Buenos Aires would learn to respect their own people around them and them respect the beautiful city in which they live that would be a start. It should not be a ME ME world.


cruizes said:
It is my opinion that if you have lived in a foreign city, met the people then and only then you are qualified to base an accurate opinion.
FWIW I don't think a handful of personal encounters qualify as "an accurate opinion" either.

Takes years to get to know a place, and even then you're only ever going to achieve a deeply personal, subjective viewpoint.


danc said:
I lived in Beijing for several years and I totally agree with fishface, BA is heaven compared to Beijing. Beijing sucks.
Never felt safer in any town of the world than in Beijing. I was just annoyed to be watched as a curiosity in the subway.

Regarding the distaste of Portenos for US Americans, this has something to do with national pride. Both countries people are made out of immigrants from all over the world, even tho the US are more diverse. Both countries had to develop a strong sense of national pride to bring a cohesion in this diversity and demean comunautarism. This certainly has also something to do with history, the anglo saxon views on Argentina and the 'America for Americans' Monroe doctrine :

I travelled around the US and found out individuals to be generally empathetic and enthusiast people. I was not always impressed by the education (politeness), I got sometimes annoyed by the rigidity of the police, but as a tourist, i found travelling extremely easy and confy. And when i needed help, i ALWAYS found good willed people.

So as you said, being opiniated is not an evidence of intelligence, but nor is any kind of chauvinist behaviour.

Anyways, to the starter of the thread, you ll easily find young foreign or local people to hang out in Buenos Aires, since this is an active student destination. A bit less foreigners than when life was cheap a few years ago but try to make yourself an argentine group of friends, you ll see the reality totally differently and you ll make yourself life time friends. This is perticular to this country, the emotional links you make tend to last longer. This has to do with the structure of the country, which very much depends on social networks, almost mafias...the latin organisation.


FWIW - I've lived here 3 years and have rarely encountered overt anti-US bias towards me (i'm from the US). I've certainly had some spirited discussions about US foreign policy decisions;), some of which I've agreed with, some of which I haven't. But the vast majority of people I know are more than able to separate the country from the individual.

In response to your other questions (my answers in blue)

chrisfromthestates said:
Hello all,

How old is the bulk of the ex-pat community? I'm only just turning 24. If you had to give a mean age to the ex-pats, specifically the English speaking ex-pats, what do you think it would be? Which leads to. . .
It's all over the place but there is certainly a thriving 20-something expat community.

What are the predominant nationalities of the expats?
Again, there are people from all over the world. But in my circles at least, the majority seem to be from the UK and US.

How do the Argentines mingle with the ex-pats, specifically Americans, even more specifically; Americans who speak fairly poor Spanish. . .even more specifically; young American males who speak fairly poor Spanish?
Depends on your age & social circle. If you're young, into going out to bars, play sports, etc, you'll have lots of chances to connect with porteños, especially as a guy.

I mean no offense by any of this, but I've noticed a fair amount of complaining from some people. This is addressed solely to people who are ex-pats (not natives): does anyone kind of regret the trip? Does anyone feel it was the best decision of their lives? How old are you if you do? What advice do you have about it that would benefit my arrival?
That's really impossible to answer. It all depends on what you're looking for and what your intentions are. It's a big city, everyone has different experiences here. My only advice is come down with an open-mind and enjoy it and take advantage of everything that it is and if you don't want to drive yourself crazy, don't focus on the things it isn't.

Is anyone down there not explicitly to dive head-first into the culture but really just to relax? Is it a city where one could do that? I would love to improve my Spanish, and I'd also love to experience the culture, but my primary goal is to have time to relax, write (I worked as a Features writer for a newspaper before my quarter-life crisis), and meet some other Relaxers.
Sure there are. Although I wouldn't call BsAs a relaxing city. I mean, it's a huge city with the normal stress that comes with living in a big city. Would you go to NYC or London to relax? If you would (and there are people that feel that way), you will be fine here. But if you're looking for a chill, laid-back, happy-go-lucky environment, this probably isn't the place for you.

What's the best bohemian but still nice area to live? What's the flat out best area to live? What's the best area for ex-pats? How much should I expect to pay monthly? Is internet an issue?
I don't know what qualifies as bohemian for you. The traditional "bohemian" area is San Telmo although its gotten fairly popular. There are still lots of lesser-known neighborhoods that probably qualify as more authentic. Most expats can be found in Palermo, Recoleta and San Telmo - they're the most popular. As far as what you will pay, depends on what you need but if you're looking for a decent furnished 1 BR, 800-1000 USD per month is a safe estimate. Internet is not really an issue although high-speed is more an idea than a reality here..
Hope that was helpful!