Thinking about expat...ing

#1
Hey everyone,
I'm Peter Hans from San Diego by way of Chicago, 24, Scorpio. I've been working for an internet based business that has people all over the US collaborating online and on the phone in order to communicate...So I got to thinking, why spend another frigid winter in Chicago or live the same life in San Diego when I could check out BA. I'm thinking the months of Oct 08-Mar 09 are looking good. Now here come the questions for anyone with answers..
1. Is it difficult to find a 6 month lease/sublease without a 2 year contract for under $600 USD/month.
2. Is there any way to avoid financial crippling phone service about 2 hours of US talktime daily (VoIP, Skype, etc.)?
3. How tough would it be to pick up the language with only Southern California casual experience and high school classes I can't really recall?
4. Can someone please tip my scales in convincing me to make this decision?
Any respones would be helpful.
hrschbck
 
#2
I don't live in Buenos Aires at present but have visited for long periods over several years. I like the city and think that others would, too, but many don't: so I think that, if you can afford to do so, you'd do best to visit for a few weeks (during winter or the height of summer, as Bs.As. -- as anyplace -- looks best in springtime) before committing to a longer stay.
Though I don't know (as I've not done too much looking yet), I don't think you'd have much problem finding an affordable, sufficiently furnished, small apartment in a decent neighborhood for a half-year's rental. If you want to live in the nicest areas or require a large apartment, the story's different.
I occasionally use VoIP through Yahoo "Messenger" to talk with the Far South; it's not bad for me (and it's free!), but one of my Argentine friends has said that she finds it difficult to hear me clearly. I've also used "virtual calling cards" (Pingo, etc.), with great clarity for two cents or so a minute; those services aren't available in calling from Argentina, but other companies offer contracts allowing calls from Bs.As. to the States for less than thirty dollars a month, I think.
Spanish may be the easiest to learn and to speak, read, write, or understand of the great (large literature, widely spoken) languages. You'd likely want to study a bit before going South and certainly to study there formally (language institutes help many; I found my private tutor superb); by American standards, the costs are not high. Do note that Argentine Spanish is not the same as Californian Mexican Spanish by any means.
"Can . . . tip [your] scales in convincing [you] to make this decision?" No. I do urge you to visit; if you've lived -- not merely visited or studied for a few months --abroad, a few weeks in and around Buenos Aires should suffice to show you whether you'd like living here. If you remain unsure, you may wish either to scrap the idea or, recognizing that six months go by quickly, to go ahead anyway. But the choice is yours.
 
#3
Read all the comments on my 2 posts "American Expats in BA - look at the Bright Side" and "US Citizens - Why did you move to BA?" - a lot of strong, solid opinions on there. Just go ahead and do it NOW, the dollar is way too weak to go all over Europe so your other choice would be BALI, SINGAPORE, and THAILAND in South East Asia (which you should also do). I would also recommend INDIA and NEPAL - surround yourself with the new and exotic. Soon INDIA will be full of Middle Class Wal Mart shoppers and all the individuality will be gone. Another great trip (might be my next one) is Athens to Dubai/Abu Dhabi -UAE, OMAN, YEMEN, ZANZIBAR, TANZ, KENYA, EGYPT (up the Nile from Aswan to Luxor with a detour to the RED SEA), Back to Athens or Istanbul from CAIRO) Plenty to see - all over PERU and BRAZIL is very interesting also. Sorry, went a bit OT, at 24 you should be on the move. stay in one place when you get older IMHO (I had my first passport at 17 - nothin' better) Dudester