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