Introducing myself


Aug 23, 2006
My husband says we are moving to Buenos Aires. We have tickets to go, but as far as moving there, I'm not so sure. I have agreed to two months, to see if we can "make it" whatever that means. So, he's signed me up for this website, so here I am putting forth a small effort. His family is there, and he has grown up there. We have a 4 year old and a 5 and a half year old.... Any one who'd like to sell me on it, I'm all ears... here, he is a paramedic, and I teach Kindergarten. I have a bachelor's and speak Spanish okay, he's of course fluent, but lacking the Bachelor's....

The previous poster has raised some questions on your passivity. There are other troubling questions. The first is whether you really exist or are but a will o' the wisp, an ephemeral cyber-presence. Some of these ghost presences have been affecting the sanity of people here, and so there is an understandable reluctance and diffidence in replying to such posts as yours, particularly when it is your very first post. We need some reassurance that we're dealing with a flesh-and-blood entity.
The next question is where you're coming from. The Democratic Republic of Congo? Argentina is an oasis of peace and prosperity in comparison. The USA or Western Europe? And, er... what kind of lifestyle have you hitherto been accustomed to?
Two months is way too short a period. Why, I'm acquainted with people who have been here all their lives and still haven't made it.
But this discussion may be moot if your husband is giving peremptory orders that cannot be questioned.
Hello Jessica, you being a teacher and with a legal work permit (by being the spouse of an Argentine) I shouldn´t think it should be too hard for you to find a job in a a primary school . Bilingual schools pay better than normal schools also (in pesos though obviously).
Regarding your husband and his area... I don´t know, the salaries in the health market are not that great I believe...and there are many professionals. but I am not in that sector, maybe others on this site have something to add ...
Regarding life here, well there are people who love it here and others that don´t. You can have a quiet life in the suburbs where there are lots of bilingual schools, or you can live in town with all the activity and movement of a big city.
Speaking spanish is a plus, but I guess it is the culture one must adjust to. Two months might be too short a time to see if you adjust, but you can get afeel for what life might be here....
Well, if people are going to be so coy in describing the realities of life in Argentina, I'll have to do it myself. A teacher in Argentina typically makes, say, about 800 pesos a month (i.e. USD 270). For the sake of argument, let us say a paramedic makes roughly the same. So your monthly intake (assuming you find employment in the first place) is going to be around USD 540.
Argentina is a country that has become increasingly polarised between rich and poor over the last 20 years or so (I say "vultures and beggars"). A once proud and confident middle class has largely evaporated into thin air.
For some extra reading (mentioned to me by a kind American acquaintance):
BUENOS AIRES, 07/12 - Around 8 million Argentines, or some 20 percent of the population, live on less than 2.75 Argentine pesos (89 U.S. cents) a day, or around 82 pesos (26.45 dollars) a month, Argentina`s National Statistics and Census Agency (Indec) said on Tuesday.

The data, gathered across the country in a study that ended in the first quarter of the year, presented all new figures as researchers visited poor rural households which were not covered in previous surveys, the Indec said.

The data showed that some 30 percent of the population, or 4 million people, earns less than 400 pesos (129 dollars) a month.

The data showed that some 20 percent of the population spends between zero and 140 pesos (45 dollars) a month, or less than 4.60 pesos (1.48 dollars) a day.

The study defined some 60 percent of the Argentine population as paupers who were unable to afford a month`s basic shopping basket of items needed by two adults and two children, which costs 391 pesos (126 dollars) or 98 pesos (32 dollars) a person.

The poorest 10 percent of the population had an average monthly salary of 50 pesos (16.12 dollars) versus 1,823 pesos (588 dollars) for the richest 10 percent, according to the data.
Hello, there´s poverty and disparity here just like there is disparity in most of the world (and I´ve seen it in the U.S.... And in the UK even the difference of lifestyle betweeen council house dwellers packed in very shabby run-down public housing and practically millionaire neighbours just minutes away.. ) . yes Argentina is a developing country as most countries in the world are (3/4 aprox.),there is poverty but it still has a lot to offer.
Bilingual teachers in private schools would make substantially higher than the figure mentioned- I believe twice as much at least, and some schools allow you to have your kids at the school you teach at, there for free.
But all this is subject to research it would be good to do some good research before you come here....
You shouldnt let someone who i suppose has chosen the nick he has chosen for a reason and who has never lived here, but travelled briefly here scare you...
Check out other expat groups at: and see if they can be of further assistance.... Contact your husband´s relatives and friends in Argentina also, to see if they can give you pointers and such, etc..
Opinions vary. Some posters wax effusive about Argentina (almost invariably out of ignorance). But check to see whether their claims are warranted. It's not enough to say there ¡s poverty and income disparity in the US and UK. Are 60% of their populations technically paupers?
As for vague and woolly advice like "doing your reseach," other than speaking to your husband's relatives, where would you start? Much information is simply not available even in Argentina.
The problem on this forum is that anyone uttering a few realistic words is immediately pounced upon for being negative. One consequence of positive but misleading posts is that people are lured to a problem country not knowing what they've got themselves in for.
Many of the "expats" here are here for one reason only: the exchange rate of 3 to 1. That's the only allure. If you're thinking of moving here, come without rose-colored glasses. Life is problematic here, even for the affluent.
Well, I guess I should have mentioned something else about my husband's situation. His father owns a real estate company downtown, and he earns dollars. He has told him that he can work for him. We also have considering buying a small business/kiosco for one of us to work in. As far as getting to know the culture... well, my inlaws have come to visit for the minimum of a month once a year, and I've probably stayed in BA for about 3 months in total. Most of my time though was spent in a country club in Canning, so not true city life. I'm not expecting to "make it" in 2 months, but merely wanting to give ourselves that time to find jobs that would maintain our lives. And as far as a teacher only earning 800 pesos a month, well, my 18 year old brother in law deliver empanadas on a bike, and earns more than that.

As far as my husband goes, well no, it's not the way I've made it seem, but being in the US I've pretty much left me with constantly made the decision of staying with my family. My mother in law has cancer, and is dying, so the primary reason for us going there is to be with her. He is taking this opportunity to try to convince me to stay. I like the idea of a change, but not sure how much of a change we can all handle.

Basically, I want to be able to rent a nice apartment (a house would be better, but it's doubtful), have at least one car, and be able to buy food and clothes when we need them. I live in DC right now... and we make good money here, but good money here is not great money for the cost of living.

Alright, hope that clarifies things a little. Thanks for all your insights..

As I think a previous poster has pointed out, a bilingual teacher or a teacher of English should be able to make 1500-2000 pesos. But the going rate in the state sector is around 800, and a bit more for private schools (it gets really attractive if a prestigious private school hires the teacher from abroad). Some university faculty are only making 400-500 pesos. So it's common for such folk to moonlight, even perhaps to delivering empanadas on motorbikes (I don't advise doing this, incidentally: the traffic in BA is atrocious). Teachers, like quite a few other professionals, have been driven from the ranks of the middle class and have joined the proletariat. Hence the problem for the teacher is the same as that for the empanada delivery boy: how to keep body and soul together.
"nashorama" said:
This leads me to thoughts about inflation, which is a serious problem in Argentina. Salaries are basically frozen in the both the public and private sectors – so you’ll definitely need a source of income that might have a chance to follow close behind the rising costs of everything.
I recently helped a friend, (one who already has full-time professional job), finance the purchase of a closet-sized kiosko near the Belgrano subway entrance. I quickly learned how bribery, kickbacks, and “insurance” patronage are simply parts of doing business.
Just wanted to make a correction. Last year, inflation was about 12%, but wages rose on average at about close to 20% (sorry, don't remember the exact percentage). The figures this year will probably be roughly the same (maybe better because employment has been (relatively) robust). But remember that salaries are still at a low level in terms of purchasing power to where they were pre-crash. Also, the percentage of GDP that goes to salaries and wages has tended to fluctuate historically, generally varying between 27% and 45%. It's probably closer to the lower figure right now (but don't have exact figures).
With regard to bribery and corruption, it is endemic and all-pervasive, probably starting at the level of ministers and working its way down to the beat cop and building inspector. Many areas of small business are "controlled" by "mafias" that have exclusive access to the authorities. Patron-client networks seem to predominate at many levels of society here. The court system doesn't work well so contractual agreements are difficult to enforce. And the authorities are arbitrary both about what rules they enforce and whom to apply them to (this last para thanks to another long-suffering acquaintance here).
I read the original email and scanned the replies. My initial reaction is that you should come here only if there are compelling personal reasons. As a paramedic your husband will earn very little and will not be able to build up a pension as in the US. As a teacher you will only be able to get by if you are hired by one of a few private schools - and then it must be an overseas hire. If you have income that comes from outside Argentina you will be able to live comfortably; if not you are going to struggle. Keep in mind that if you have children you will have to pay for private schools as the state system is substandard. You will also need private medical insurance as state hospitals are poor. On the other hand, there is something to be said for getting to know your husband's country and having an interesting, if not easy, experience. I am aware that my comments may not be well received by some short term expats here however I am giving you my honest opinion based on years of experience. Come if you are prepared to put up with some hardships. You will have some good times along the way but if you do not have a solid external source of income, it could be challenging.