Life in USA vs. Argentina


Nov 29, 2008
What do you american expats find about living in Argentina that you cannot find in the US?

I'm an argentine expat living in the US for 35 years. I moved here permanently when I was 25 and my wife was 20--and she did not speak a word of english. We love it here but go back to BA and Bolivia every year for a few weeks and love it in those places too.

I find this website wonderful but intrigued by some many comments on the lifestyle advantages of BA over the US. It seems that many of you find things there that you were unable to find here and so I am puzzled. For example, many of your often talk of having many "amigos" or the social benefits of the "asado" and so on. But I have lived in the US for a long time, raised four wonderful kids and have been married forever to a gorgeous bolivian lady. We have had a wonderful life here, have mostly american friends and while we may miss the asados, we make up for it with the many friends we have made at the gym.

So, can you please tell me what you have found there that you were unable to find back in the USA? The follow up to that question is, why were you unable to find here what you found there? Finally, for those of you curious about us, we moved here in 1975 because at that time Argentina was a total mess and we saw no future for us. There was a mini civil war, economic chaos, and so on. In the US, we started at the bottom, enjoyed the struggle and the journey.

I would appreciate it if you kept your comments cordiall and non-offensive. This post is seeking enlightment. Thank you.
I want to know what stops u Argentine ppl living in the USA from having asado or whatever. For parents moved to Canada from Italy. I was raised to be an Italian. Traditions, culture, food, Language...everything. To be honest, I don't find Argentine families to be all that different from Italian.

Perhaps these ppl are just seeking a different life from the USA. I am moving to Argentina in less then a month. American culture is boring and dull. Its a fact.
Italia311 said:
American culture is boring and dull. Its a fact.
I'm sorry you believe this to be a fact. In all honestly, it's an opionion. It depends on everyone's personal experiences I suppose.

Rickulivi, thanks for posting this. I do hope you receive some enlightening responses. I have been living and working in BsAs for almost 2 years and am taking my Argentine boyfriend home for Christmas to visit, but we will be returning. I hope that he really comes away with a taste of what I love about the States. I'm not sure about my future here - although I have led a charmed 2 years, there are many things about Argentina that have me feeling weary about the long, long term. The corruption, the endless up and down of the economy, the crime, the all my life in the States, I never felt these things breathing down my neck. I never stuffed my money in a small pocket in a pile of pants in the back of the closet instead of the bank. I never walked into grocery stores one week later to see at least 5 items I buy at a higher price. I never had someone come up to me and tell me that if I didn't give him whatever I had, he would knife me. I never had bars on my windows.

To all of you that are in love with this city and are itching to say, "Then leave!" that's not the point. I also love this city. Despite all the negatives listed above, I have had a wonderful, amazing experience here. I love the people, the places, the crumbling history, my job, my apartment, my friends, speaking and learning another language, the buses (really!), my walks, the weddings, well I could go on and on...But at the end of the day, the negatives concern me when thinking about a serious future here.

So, to answer your question Rickulivi, I have found the disadvantages listed that I did not experience in the States, and I have found advantages such as cheaper medical insurance and cheaper transportation among others. The asados are great, of course, but we have our own version of bbq in Texas to make up for it.
I find the cost of living much cheaper, the quality of life higher, the people generally kinder, much less competition and the pace of life much calmer in Argentina than I did in my previous life in the USA.
I have lived there and elsewhere in South America. Every place has it pluses and minuses. It's all a matter of perspective and what you are there for. If you are young and just out for a good time then it's probably great. If your older trying to raise a family and make a living then Argentina isn't the place you want to be, unless you are happy with surviving on a much lower standard of living and having no prospect of anything better in the future. Things there are as good as they get now, with recurring periods that are much worse. Argentina has been in decline for 100 years and there are no signs that they are arresting or reversing their downward spiral. Argentina is the poster-child on how not to run a country.

Living there gave me more prospective and for me greater appreciation of other places I have lived including the USA. No place is perfect, and Argentina has it's good points but overall leaves a lot to be desired.
A lot of expats here live on dollars they brought from the US or on income that comes from the US. After the devaluation there was something of an expat invasion. Argentina suddenly became cheap and many Americans and some Europeans came here to take advantage. Though prices have increased considerably, Buenos Aires remains moderately inexpensive (at least for some items) for foreigners with incomes in dollars. For this group, Argentina is a fun place to be. Different lifestyle, different language, different experience. For those who have to make a living on the local economy, it can be quite a challenge and not nearly so much fun. I very much doubt that many of the former group of expats with dollars could cope with life entirely on the local economy - at least for more than a short period. They will not stay for the long haul. As for the comment that life in the US is boring, I can only say that the writer must have lived in a boring place. Life in New York or any number of other major cities in the US can be exciting, full of opportunities and cultural possibilities. Life in a small town might be dull but the same can be said for small town life in Argentina.
Como siempre Stan, I have to strongly disagree with you on the standard of living. For my wife and I, we live a much higher level of life than we did in California. There are places within Argentina that are very classy and high end. We could never afford to own a property outright in such an exclusive neighborhood as we currently do. We also could not go out to eat a 5 star dining options for the price we do in Argentina.

I would also repsectfully disagree that Argentina is not the place if you want to make a living. As I have posted before, many niches for "creative and outside the box thinkers" exist throughout the country.
From reading your posts, SS, I've a good opinion of your kindness and cheerfulness. But I wonder about your comment that "many niches for 'creative and outside the box thinkers' exist throughout" Argentina. Mightn't it be more accurate to write that, for those immigrants to Argentina who bring comparatively substantial wealth (say, perhaps, a hundred thousand dollars or more) to invest, more opportunity exists than for the poor Argentine who struggles to put a hundred thousand pesos together?
RWS said:
Mightn't it be more accurate to write that, for those immigrants to Argentina who bring comparatively substantial wealth (say, perhaps, a hundred thousand dollars or more) to invest, more opportunity exists than for the poor Argentine who struggles to put a hundred thousand pesos together?

More opportunity but still fraught with risk. Sergio is right: making a living in the local economy is not easy. Those who are making their living in Argentina have seen an erosion in their living standards in the last few years as their incomes have not kept pace with the cost of living. Incidentally, the same also holds true in the USA.
Or, for that matter, in most Western countries today, BBW.