So, You Just Bought a 1-Way Ticket to Buenos Aires?

Posted on August 26, 2013 by Vivi in EXPAT

Hi Vivi,

I am a 22 year old, recent college-grad who just booked a one way ticket to Buenos Aires.  I am reaching out to anyone and everyone I can find who may have some advice for me as far as making a living in the city.  I have poured over the articles in your blog as well as the many websites devoted to moving abroad, and while I understand that you are busy, I would greatly appreciate any advice or information you could give me about living and working in Argentina.

Thank you!

– T

Hey T,

You are about to embark on an epic adventure.  I was in your shoes 4 years ago.

Congratulations on your life-changing purchase.

Here’s my advice:

1. Bring as much money as you can get together, bring 1/2 of it in cash (USD).  Exchange it for black dollar rates.  Don’t blow it in the first month.  MOST people who get to BA run out of cash much faster than anticipated, and either have to get home, or get totally stuck in South America.  It is not a cheap city, although it is surprisingly possible to live there on a small budget.

2. Wait out the struggle.  You’ll probably get a peso paying job teaching English for a bit, and you’ll be poor, and you’ll work really hard.  It’s worth it.  Great career experience.  After you pay your one year “derecho de piso”, you’ll have a great chance at getting a position working for an expat company.  Work for an expat company …. if you find the right one, it has the possibility to be a gratifying career that many professionals would kill for.

3.  Don’t pay rent in dollars.  Insist in paying rent in pesos.  If they give you hell – threaten to get authorities involved.  Do NOT sign a contract priced in USD.

4. Take care of yourself.  Care for your mental health.  That city is completely insane, and it’s hard to not go crazy sometimes.  Health insurance is cheap and worth researching.  (swiss medical).  Be aware of your surroundings at all times.  Don’t carry anything with you that you aren’t ok with someone stealing.  Don’t use your cell phone on the street.  You’ll probably get robbed at least once – it will suck, but you’ll live.  Wash your hands all the time.  Do not wait to go to the doctor when you feel sick. 

5.  Make friends with Argentines.  Make friends with expats.  Expats are so cool.  The psychology of an Argentine is fascinating.  Try to figure them out.  Read Neil Strauss’ The Game before you go, but don’t tell anyone you know about it.  Observe what happens.

6. Eat steak.  Drink wine.  Dance tango.  Stay out all night.  Get your heart broken by an Argentine. Talk with cab drivers.  Try everything that scares you.  Find out what you’re running away from.  Try everything once.  Go to the Lujan zoo and pet a tiger.  Learn to flirt, negotiate, and lie in Spanish.  Go to every asado you’re invited to.  Don’t let your tourist visa run over more than twice.  Find out what you love to do, and do it.

7.  Come home at the right time.  That’s the hardest part.  For me it was at the 3 year mark.

 You’re lucky T- Buenos Aires is unfathomably complex and alive.  Living there will not be easy – but if you play your cards right, you’ll have the best (and hardest!) years of your life, completely lose yourself, find yourself again, and will be able to die satisfied, knowing you at least had one big adventure in your life.

Happy to help you with anything during your journey.  (seriously – just ask.)

Besos y suerte!

Vivi

PS —

Drink mate.

15 Comments

  1. So well said Vivi! I didn´t meet you while you were here but know of you as we have friends in common. I guess you aren´t here any longer, but looks like you acheieved your goal of having an amazing adventure. This place really is so wonderful for that! Best of luck to you! beso grande, Meg

  2. The expat community is kind of amazing on the job search front, especially as there is a high demand for bilingual employees with native-level English. My company (www.lemon.com) may be hiring in the coming weeks/months, feel free to send me a message: julia (dot) bloch (at) gmail (dot) com

  3. Apparently, I’m not the only recent college grad that flocks to you for potential expat advice! All fantastic tips. I got the chills thinking back on doing some of those things. Best of luck to T! It’ll be a crazy beautiful adventure, seguro.

  4. Wow. I set off on 19th September for BA (to learn, to work, meet people, cook, travel, see what happens) and these last 2 weeks have been the hardest. Why am I doing this? Is it the right thing to do? But your advice seems true and it clicks with me. It’s reassuring to read about other people planning a similar adventure and those that have come through on the other side. Thanks alot. I’m going to go drink some late night tea now and let it sink in. 🙂

    Danielle

    • Danielle,

      I am headed to Buenos Aires on the 27th to live, learn spanish, travel and so on. Sounds like you are doing a similar thing. It might be cool to get a meet-up group together of other like minded individuals. Let me know if you would be interested and anyone else respond if interested 🙂

      Best,
      Genevieve

      • Hey Genevieve,

        I’ve arrived now. It feels great to be here, all good so far. Absolutley, that would be really cool. I’m living around palermo zoo/gardens area. Perhaps when you get into BA and know where your staying we can arrange to hang out somewhere nice, there are lots of nice cafes and bars in palermo viejo area. Let me know 🙂

        Danielle xx

        • Hey guys!

          I got to BA about a month ago to study! Would love to meet up for a coffee/drink! 🙂

          Gabriella

          • Aw this is really cool! Well I am pretty free at the moment (while searching for a job and getting settled) so anytimes good for me – what about Sunday afternoon for coffee and pastries? There are so many amazing patisseries and I’ve got a total soft spot for those lovely little half moon croissants. Any suggestions Gabriella?

            Danielle

            xxx

  5. I’d be really surprised if an airline sold her a one-way ticket, especially since she isn’t Argentine. I hope she’s prepared to face questions with immigration.

  6. Hey Danielle!
    I haven’t been in BA for a few days so forgot to get back to you! Do you have an email or facebook where we can talk instead? 🙂

  7. Hola Viv,

    Your response to T was interesting. I have been in BA for 6 days and I am not feeling it.

    The people seem disinterested, it is expensive, and frankly I’m tired of people taking advantage of me because I’m a gringo.

    I hope if I heed your advice I will like or at least tolerate BA.

    Thanks

    B

    • I empathize! BA is not always a nice city, and can be especially hard when you’re new! I hope that things turn around and you find something there that you like. Let me know if I can help.

  8. Hi everyone ! i´m from Argentina but i live in the north of the country , i have been living in Switzerland for the past year and now i am heading to Buenos Aires to live.
    If you are feeling lonely or left behind for been ¨gringo¨ let my know and i´ll introduce to people or the real argentinean life style.

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