Buenos Aires, Argentina Report of what it's like to live there

Personal Experiences from Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina 07/11/19

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

This was not my first expat experience. I've also lived in Kitakyushu, Japan; Madrid, Spain; Paris, France; and, Caracas, Venezuela.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

My home country is the United States. The home city is questionable, but usually, when we're not outside of the USA, we are in Washington, DC, or New York, NY. From Washington, DC, there is no direct flight to Buenos Aires, so you usually have to fly through Atlanta or Miami. From NYC, there is a direct flight from both JFK and Newark to EZE (the international airport in Buenos Aires).

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3. How long have you lived here?

Two years, with one more to go.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic mission.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

We live in the city, in the area called Palermo Chico. We chose to live here because we like city living (see above for previous cities lived). Most (but not all) families choose to live in the suburbs so that they are close to the international school. Out in the suburbs, most families have houses with pools and grills in their backyard. The commute in car is about 30-40 minutes from the suburban areas to the US embassy/city center, depending on traffic. In the city, we have a big three-bedroom apartment, with maid's quarters (which can be made into a small bedroom or office, if desired), right in a fantastic part of town. We have multiple doormen, a gym, a pool, and a parking garage in our building. And right outside our door, everything is walkable: the grocery store, the embassy, the movie theater, and the social club that we go to on the weekends. The walk to the US embassy is 15 minutes from door to door.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

There is a lot that you can find here, and right now, because the dollar is strong here, most food items are cheaper for us to buy here. Basically, all of your needs can be met here, however, some items are costly, like: children's toys and clothes. We buy clothes, toys, and some household items from the Internet and have them sent here because it's cheaper to do so. The household items that we buy here (like toilet paper or paper towels) are more for personal taste rather than necessity.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Paper towels, toilet paper, and blue tortilla chips.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There are TONS of restaurants available here. The go-to food-delivery services are called Rappi or Glovo--for food. One expat I know ordered beer through a delivery service; another orders pints of ice cream. There are pizza deliveries, roast chickens, sushi, and Mexican food; even toothpaste can be delivered from the pharmacy.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Not in the city housing.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

We have a postal service at the embassy where we can receive and mail packages. It's my understanding local postal facilities should be avoided.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Very available and very reasonable. There are reputable services where people can find household help, or you can find advertisements on Facebook groups or through personal (or business) networks. Our current domestic helper has been with us for two years, and we found her through her previous boss, who was a friend/colleague. We pay her about $500 USD/month; this is high compared to the legal going rate.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Very available. Gyms are all over the place as are personal trainers working with clients in the expansive parks here in the city. I'm not sure about the costs.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Credit cards are widely accepted, but it seems that VISA is still more preferred than Mastercard. ATMs are common, but they have limits to what you can withdraw, and there are always service fees for foreign ATM cards. They can be used, but with caution. There have been reports of people getting robbed after using ATMs. We usually withdraw our money in the US Embassy.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

There are a few English-language churches in the city. There are many synagogues and Jewish community centers and schools, but they are mostly Hebrew-Spanish. I'm not sure about other religions.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You need to know Spanish to get around here easily. I'm sure some people are find moving around the city without knowing a lot of Spanish, and it can be done, but knowing the language helps so much more. There are plenty of local language classes and tutors available.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Maybe. Things are not always wheelchair accessible, for example. Many of the sidewalks are broken and/or cobble-stoned. That said, I have seen blind people walking in the city, and I have seen a few wheelchairs. Buses have seating for wheelchairs, but I'm not sure if there are elevators in the subway system. Throughout the past two years, I have seen improvements in the way the city is trying to modernize and make more accommodations for people with disabilities.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

VERY. Buses and taxis and subways are safe and affordable. Taxis are super cheap and are used a lot. There is no UBER service here; it is illegal. Cabs are readily available and are also linked to an Uber-like system called Cabify.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

I'd recommend bringing a small car. We have a VW Golf, and it is great for the city. There are SUVs here, but they are harder to park in the tight city spaces. Note: your car will get knicked and sideswiped and beat up a bit.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Home Internet access is available. Ours was set up when we arrived, but I think it typically can be installed within two weeks.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

I keep my home-country plan active, for emergencies, and I have a local provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

There are many people with pets here, but we do not have one. There are good vets and kennel services available. I'm not sure about the quarantine rules.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

The expats I know either have their own businesses (English teaching, speech therapy, personal training, for example) or are telecommuting (lawyers). Some have found positions within the local economy but few. The local salaries aren't comparable to what they would be in the United States, for example, so it makes more sense, from an economic perspective, to find work that pays in US dollars.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Not sure. But I think...many?

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Most diplomats at the local embassies wear suits and professional work attire. Formal dress would only ever be required for formal receptions.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Not outside of normal personal security concerns that one would have in any major international city.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

There are no particular health concerns. The quality and availability of medical care here is high. I haven't heard of anyone needing to be medically evacuated from post.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Good. No air quality issues.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Buenos Aires is very attuned to gluten-free diets at the moment. Celiac issues seem very prominent. There are fewer concerns (or knowledge) about other food allergies. Our local school, for example, doesn't have any stipulations about peanut allergies.

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5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

Not to my knowledge.

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6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Four seasons, just opposite the times of the Northern Hemisphere. Summer is very hot and humid in January and February. Winter is pretty mild and rainy. It doesn't really snow here in Buenos Aires.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are several international schools available, but Lincoln International School is the one that most embassy families attend. Northlands is another favorite, and there are others.
We chose to send our children to an Argentine private school so that they would be more inclined to learn Spanish. They go to Colegio Aletheia, which I would recommend!

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

I'm not sure about the other schools, but our school does not make many accommodations for special needs kids. They do not have speech-therapist on staff, for example, or any kind of behavior therapist. I don't think they do at Lincoln either.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

There are TONS of preschools available. Not very expensive. Most schools offer pre-turno or post-turno (before and after school care).

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes. Lots. Some of the after school activities tend to adhere to old-school gender lines, however: field hockey for girls; soccer for boys. However, some of this is changing. This year, for example, there was a girls soccer after school activity offered (for the first time ever!). There is also swimming, volleyball, art classes, music, gymnastic, dance, skating. LOTS!

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

There are a lot of expats here, in various forms: embassies, businesses, banking, consulting, travelers, etc. It's hard to tell, but it's a big community. Overall, I think expats really like Argentina.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

There are newcomers groups and international groups. There are various Facebook pages with people wanting to meet other friends, new mothers, enthusiasts for various activities.
There is the American Club, the Buenos Aires International Newcomers group (mostly on-line), and various embassies that host events.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

It's good for all. Buenos Aires is an amazing international city that has a great going-out scene for singles and couples. There are tons of bars and cool restaurants and trendy going-out areas. There are dance clubs and all sorts of theater, music, comedy, and food events.

For families, Buenos Aires is the greenest city I've ever seen. There are green spaces all over this city, and families are welcome everywhere: from parks and outdoor spaces to restaurants. The city is very family-friendly, and Argentines are very family-focused, so it feels wonderful to be a family in this city!

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

I think there is a vibrant LGBT scene here. Again, huge international city with all sorts of options for all sorts of people.

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5. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

Super easy to make friends with locals here. But it helps to know Spanish.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not that I have experienced.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

We've loved living here. It's amazing to just walk the streets and explore. I love finding little hidden streets in Palermo Soho or in Recoleta. I've also loved watching my girls become friends with Argentine kids in their school. The parents and families have been so welcoming to us, as well. We've made some really good friends through our girls' school.

We've also traveled quite a bit, and I'd recommend getting out of the city to see all of the beauty of this country. We went to an estancia in Junin; we went to the Salentein bodega in Mendoza; we went to the estancia El Bordo Las Lanzas in Salta, which was amazing; and I'm about to head to Bariloche in a week. All of these experiences were beautiful and stunning. Salta was one of my all-time favorite places to explore.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

There are great parks all over the city. One of our favorites is the science park next to the Science Museum in Palermo Soho. But I also like walking around the Rosedal.

We love taking walking trips around San Telmo or Recoleta or Palermo Soho.

I kind of love the Mercado de las Pulgas.

I really love the streets where I do the shopping every day: Scalabrini Ortiz, Cerviño, Ugarteche, Cabello. This is my world right now, and I love it. I know all of the merchants, and they know me, and that makes the place feel very homey.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Not really. Maybe pick up some leather items?

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Everything is accessible, and I love that. In particular, I love seeing the purple jacarandas bloom in November and cover the city with purple flowers. I love the trees that canopy virtually all of the streets. I love the crazy traffic (really, I kind of do!) I love the aggressiveness. I love the sweet kindness toward children. And I love the late hours (sometimes).

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

People don't pick up the dog poop on the sidewalks. So annoying.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

I would move to this city in a heartbeat. I don't want to leave.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Adherence to rules.

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4. But don't forget your:

Patience. Sometimes things take longer than they should. Sometimes people don't obey the rules. Sometimes people aren't on time. But...you learn to roll with it.

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Not that I can think of.

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6. Do you have any other comments?

This is an amazing city. I hope you will love it as much as I do.

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Buenos Aires, Argentina 06/09/15

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

4th.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Washington DC. There are direct flights from Miami, Houston, Atlanta and New York.

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3. How long have you lived here?

1 year

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

U.S. Government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Most people live in big apartments close to the Embassy. Most are in modern buildings with garage parking. People with kids live close to the Lincoln school in the suburbs. The biggest complaint is the length of time to commute from the suburbs it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Traffic is a huge problem here and add to that protesters are allowed to block many of the highways to get into the city.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Some things are cheaper than in the U.S. like meat and chicken but due to import restrictions by the current government, most things are made in Argentina. This just means that cheese is only provolone. Argentines don't like spicy so food tends to be bland. Make sure you bring spices with you because they are not here because there is no demand for them.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Spices and hot sauce, brown sugar, baking soda (unless you want to get from the pharmacy).

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

McDonald's, Wendys, KFC and Burger King are here. There are many dining options from cafes to fine dining. Eating out is cheaper than the U.S. for sure. You can get anything delivered here - Burger King even delivers. You can also order over the internet if your Spanish isn't great.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

None. Very few mosquitoes in the city.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

It is less then in the U.S. but more than other Latin American countries.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes but gyms here are very expensive. Most apartment buildings have pools and gyms.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Widely used and accepted. Cashiers don't like to make change so sometimes it is easier to use a credit card.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

None that I know of.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Some. Many Argetines speak some level of English. One thing is that Argentine Spanish is much different. So even if you know Spanish it will take some adjusting.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes and no. There are many elevators and the sidewalks have ramps for wheelchairs. However the sidewalks are made from paving stones that are often loose, missing or bulging upward. I would imagine that this would make travel difficult but not impossible for someone in a wheelchair.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Yes trains and buses are very affordable and taxis are pretty cheap as well.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Small is better for parking but if you plan on driving outside the city a lot then a high clearance will make the trip easier. Small cars can make the trip though, it is just a little rough.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

We have cable/internet combined and it is less than in the U.S. We don't have the biggest package. If you want more bandwidth you can pay a lot more.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

If you don't have a DNI you can't get a monthly plan at most providers. This is changing however. If you want to use an iphone bring it with you, they are not available here unless you want to pay a lot for them.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

I am not sure of quarantine but Argentina has more dogs than I have seen anywhere else. I have seen dogwalkers with as many as 20 dogs. There are a lot of vets and many even make house calls.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

I don't know of anyone who works on the local economy.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Most volunteer opportunities I have come across involve paying a service to find you volunteer opportunites.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Casual, similar to the U.S.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Typical of a city of this size. Violent crime is on the rise though.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Health care is good, prompt ambulances are not. You would be better off taking a taxi to the hospital.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Good. We are next to Rio de la Plata so there are a lot of breezes. It can get very humid in the summer though.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

I have found that people who normally don't have seasonal allergies will have them here.

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Four seasons with a mild winter.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Most people have nannies, the cost is less then the U.S. but more then other Latin America countries from what I understand.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes. Although soccer reigns supreme, tennis is also very popular.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

It is big but also isolated due to the fact that there is a lot to see and do.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Cafe culture. One thing to keep in mind is that Argentines eat really late 10pm or 11pm is the usual time to get to the restaurant so eating isn't usually done until 1am or 2 am which means most clubs don't open until at least that late.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Yes. The city has something for everyone.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes. Gay Marriage has been legal here for a few years now and I have seen many same-sex couples holding hands in public.

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5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Weekend trips to the ranches just outside of town. Trips around the country. It is beautifully diverse.

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6. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

There is something for anyone. Tons of recreational activities throughout the city. The city is also very walkable and has bike lanes on many big roads.

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7. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Provoleteras, chimichurri, closed door restaurants.

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8. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The weather here is similar to Atlanta. There are 4 seasons but winter is not too cold. Also being in the southern hemisphere means that the seasons are inverted. So summer is from December to March. There is a lot to explore in Argentina. Wines in Mendoza and Salta. The lake district in Bariloche. Whale and penguin watching in Puerto Madryn. You can also take a cruise to Antartica. Buenos Aires is a very cosmopolitan city with a lot of restaurants and cafes.

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9. Can you save money?

Yes if you don't leave Buenos Aires.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

That the Italian food was so good. It is better than at some of the places I have eaten in Italy.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Need for being on time. Your desire for spicy or even spices, Argentines like things bland. Expectations for Latin America. This is more of a European then Latin American country.

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4. But don't forget your:

Spices.

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Buenos Aires, Argentina 01/25/15

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

I studied abroad in Santiago, Chile in the past.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

North Carolina. I took the cheapest option, which, for me, was CLT to Miami, to Bogota, to Buenos Aires. Overall I think the whole journey was about 24 hours. There are direct flights to here from a few U.S. cities though, Dallas and Miami to name two.

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3. How long have you lived here?

I got here in August, so five months ago now. I'm here until August 2015.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

I teach English.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

I can't speak about government housing. I live in one of the nicest neighborhoods in the city (Las Canitas) for a very reasonable price.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

I usually shop at specific stores rather than going to the supermarket (because this is cheaper). For example, for vegetables I go to a vegetable stand, for meats I go to "carnecerias" (butchers) and for chicken I go to "granjas", and for spices and other stuff I go to spice/diet shops. Jumbo is the best quality supermarket here but it's really pricey and anything imported is laughably expensive (like US$9 for a bag of Goldfish, for example).

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Maple syrup (non-existent), spicy food, peanut butter, some specific US candies. Oh, and more English books. They're really hard to find here and are usually expensive.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

I've never eaten at any of the Argentinian fast food chains nor the American ones (McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, a few more in the Alto Palermo Mall). In general, eating good fast food here is pretty hard. You can go to most bakeries and buy some ready-made items like "miga" sandwiches but you can make a better sandwich yourself. I do highly recommend the restaurant La Cresta if you ever find yourself in Almagro - fantastic wraps. Baking BA downtown has really solid takeaway salads.

I don't eat out too much because I can't afford it but there are a lot of really good sit down restaurants here, as you'd expect in a big city. But there's a lot of mediocre ones too. Have an idea of how good a restaurant is before you go because eating out here is way more expensive than cooking your own food.

I also recommend trying all the top "parrilla" joints and deciding which one you like best. Some of the more famous ones are: Parrilla Pena, La Cabrera (really good place to go with people who are visiting the city), Lo de Paka, El Pobre Luis, and La Brigada. However you can get a good steak from most parrillas.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Mosquitoes in the summer, but I don't get bitten up too badly. Obviously cockroaches and ants if you aren't careful

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

I have only had one package sent here and it was a nightmare. I had to go to customs and wait almost three hours just to pick up a package. It really wasn't worth it.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, as another post said, physical appearance is a big deal here. Because of this, there seems to be a gym on every other corner. Quality can vary, as well as cost. The best "typical" gym here is Megatlon, but for me, it's out of my budget. I do crossfit here and only pay about US$35 a month.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Don't use credit cards. This is a cash society and the unofficial exchange rate is much higher than the official one, so you save a lot of money using cash. HOWEVER getting U.S. dollars IN Argentina may be pretty difficult. There is a service called xoom.com that transfers money from your U.S. bank account for a small fee and at a rate slightly lower than unofficial "blue" rate but still much better than the official rate. If you go to Uruguay, withdraw lots of U.S. dollars from their ATMs.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

I speak fluent Spanish and do use it all the time. You probably need to know some basics but I think people speak more English here than most Latin American cities. Most of the young people speak English quite well.

Keep in mind the Spanish here is very different than any other dialect of Spanish.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

It would be difficult. Most of the sidewalks are horrible and only a few subte (subway) stations have handicap elevators.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

The subte (subway) is definitely the quickest and best way to get around the city; do try and live close to a station. However, it's hard to get north to south by subway since there's only one line that completely goes from north to south and it's closer to downtown. The buses are reliable and cheap but avoid taking them during rush hour. Taxis are plentiful and safe, and very cheap for taxi standards. I've had no problem with safety in all of these forms of transportation.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Anything small and compact. Argentinians are horrible drivers so I wouldn't bring a nice car.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Internet is pretty good and not too expensive.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

A lot of people bring their smart phones here to get unlocked. Otherwise, you will pay a premium for a good phone. Service is pretty good and cheap (I do pay as you go).

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Well if you teach English you'll be in great demand! There are probably a lot of companies looking for native English speakers as well.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

People's everyday clothes tend to be nicer than in America. Business attire is professional in some jobs, and quite casual in others.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes. Major ones. It's such a shame that this country is going downhill fast because there are so many wonderful aspects about this city. But I don't feel particularly safe in any area of the city. I know a few people who have gotten robbed in pretty normal areas of the city and more violent robberies are prevalent even to other Argentinians in the poorer neighborhoods. As a general safety precaution, be vigilant in neighborhoods south of Avenida de Mayo, and avoid them at night.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

I've had a few friends get pretty bad food poisoning so be careful. Medical care is free to everyone. I can't speak of any personal experience though.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

I think the air quality here is quite good. Most of the pollution blows into the province.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

I got allergies here in the Spring but they weren't as bad as they were back home (allergies in North Carolina are particularly bad though...)

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

I was only here for a short time in winter so I can't speak a lot about it. It was mostly pretty reasonable although it could get pretty cold a few days. Spring was fantastic - picture cloudless sunny days around 65-75F degrees. Summer can get really hot but it's not as hot as a lot of people warned me about. It's pretty pleasant 3 out of 4 days, and the fourth day can be pretty uncomfortably hot and humid.

Anyone who is familiar with the Southeast of the U.S. will probably agree that the climate here is pretty similar. I think NC was hotter than Buenos Aires though.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

It's huge with a generally mixed morale. There are a lot of positives about this city but also a lot of negatives.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Cinemas here are pretty cheap, bars/clubs, going out to eat, going to an all day Argentinian asado (cookout), going to a show (even if you don't understand the language they're still entertaining), learn tango, etc. There's so much to do here. If you're bored, you're just a boring person.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

It's great for singles. I think dating here is quite challenging because Argentinian women require a lot of courting but luckily there is a lot of beautiful, interesting people to choose from. Families will probably enjoy their time too.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yeah, Buenos Aires is probably more gay-friendly than where I'm from in North Carolina.

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5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

I get some stares because I'm tall and blonde / clearly look American. If you're black you may receive some unwanted attention because there are not too many who live here. But I've never really seen any clear issues of racism.

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6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Trips to Iguazu, Uruguay (Punta del Este is a must in January). I like the simpler things too. Spending a few hours at a nice cafe and reading a book or meeting with a friend is a completely normal thing to do here. The parrillas (steakhouses) are awesome - I've had the best steak of my life here. Lots of great bars and nightclubs.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Take a day trip to Tigre, walk or bike through Constanera Sur (in Puerto Madero), go over to Uruguay or an Argentinian beach (Pinamar is one a lot of people like), eat good steak, etc.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Mate, wine, a lot of high quality artisan products, good art work, chimichurri, etc.

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9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

AMAZING and affordable steak and wine, really great weather, fantastic nightlife, beautiful people, unique culture in terms of Latin America. Also, if you earn in U.S. dollars, you will live very comfortably.

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10. Can you save money?

Yes I think it would be extremely easy to save money here if you are earning in dollars. It's very hard to save money in pesos though.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

The extent of the mess that is Argentina's economy and current political situation. It's very fragile and I do fear for the future of this country. You can feel the effect on everyday life (e.g. inflation). I think the people here are probably the least warm/friendly out of all Latin American people that I've met; I still have no Argentinian friends.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

I'm not sure. It's a fantastic city on the surface but after five months here my love for this city is decreasing. I would definitely visit the city again though.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Wine (trust me there's better wine here), expectations that this is the "Paris of South America."

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4. But don't forget your:

SPICY food (chili powder, Sriacha, hot sauce), maple syrup, any particular American snacks you can't live without.

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Not a book, but if you're a foodie I recommend following the "Pick Up The Fork" blog. Lots of solid restaurant reviews and general food knowledge in Buenos Aires.

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6. Do you have any other comments?

Buenos Aires has the potential to be one of the world's greatest cities but continuously horrid politics, a downward spiraling economy, increasing crime, and occasionally very unfriendly people hold it back.

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Buenos Aires, Argentina 08/13/14

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, I have lived in another Central American country.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Southeastern United States, 12+ hours.

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3. How long have you lived here?

1 year, 2 more to go.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

In the city, high-rise buildings with views of the city and water. Suburbs, beautiful large houses with yards and pools.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

We are at 40% inflation right now with it rising every day. There are very few imports here, so the cost of the few that make it through are very high. Think US$8 for a regular size jar of spaghetti sauce or US$5 for a bad of goldfish crackers. This a DPO post (currently), so most embassy employees patronize amazon and sites like that vey heavily! I thought it was crazy to order toilet paper and Lysol wipes and basic items via DPO but the lack of variety and the quality of Argentine products make it necessary. I caveat this to say that we did not move overseas to try and recreate the American experience. However, some things are necessary for the health and mental well-being of your home and its members-- and we cannot find those items on the local market.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Tons of cleaning supplies, saran wrap, and aluminum foil.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Tons of restaurants, some variety. Fast food is okay but not the same taste or offerings as the States so we avoid most of them. The cost is also astronomical!

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Mosquitoes in the summer can be bad.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Through the Embassy.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Labor laws here are very protective of domestic help and make it difficult and tricky, though not impossible to have a nanny or housekeeper. Make sure you understand the labor laws and manage your own and the employee's expectations. This a "sue happy" culture in which the man, i.e. the employer, never wins!

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Everywhere! This is the place if you want to work out. Because of the saturation of facilities, prices are reasonable. I enjoy pilates and am able to take reformer classes 3 times per week for less than US$40 per month.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

We never use ATMs and limit our use of credit card due to the inflation rate and difference between the official exchange rate and the blue dollar exchange rate.

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5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Most Argentines speak English, but will not speak it with you; you need Spanish to conduct daily life activities.

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6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Possibly, depending on the disability. While I have seen some wheelchair ramps and handicap accessibility accommodations, that is not the norm or the law here.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Taxis are safe and affordable and plentiful as long as it's not raining,

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Small cars, small SUVs. Research the cars that are here and try to bring a car of that make. There are a lot of local restrictions on the type of car you can bring in, age , color, etc. If you live in the city, you can do without a car.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes. But our bill has increased several times due to inflation. It's something to consider when choosing packages.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Cell phone packages are relatively inexpensive. However, due to inflation your bill can and will rise unexpectedly.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

They love pets here, especially dogs. There is a pet store and vet on every corner!

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes! Crime is escalating here due to the economic woes. The suburbs are especially dangerous and there have been a plethora of issues reported. Living in the city isn't any less dangerous per say but living in an apartment building with 24-hour doormen add an extra layer of security that living in stand-alone suburb housing cannot provide. That being said, if I had school aged children I would think twice about living in the city because I would not want my child in traffic for 45 minutes each way. My concern is not the time on the bus but the risk of car jacking or the bus being forced off the road so that a robbery may be committed. It's happened to families and individuals, but no school buses--yet.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Hmmm. This a difficult question. The kids under the age of 6 are constantly sick here. They say that's normal, I've been to several doctors, but it doesn't seem right to me. We lived in another post and my daughter had the normal colds but nothing like this. The doctor who seemed most competent to me said I should expect 10 days of increased cold, allergy like symptoms, 10 days where the symptoms decrease, and 10 days of little to no symptoms. Then the cycle would begin again. I've talked to others who have experienced the same.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Excellent.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

4 seasons with winter lasting from June to September. Lots of expats avoid winter weather by returning to the States during this time with their school-age kids.

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Schools & Children:

1. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

They love children here. There are lots of options for daycare/preschools covering all price ranges. Of course if you want English-speaking teachers and administration, it's going to cost more. All schools have uniforms, which is an additional cost.

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2. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes. There are specialized clubs (think country clubs or very exclusive YMCA) for kids. Club de Amigos is a popular one in the city but there are others. There are also family type clubs with programs for kids.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Large expat community with okay morale. I think that several things affect the morale including the nagging feeling that you should love this place because it's Argentina--but most have some gripe about the place and people. I think the morale would be greatly improved with adjusted expectations and goals. This country offers the opportunity to travel and see some amazing terrain and wildlife. You should come with a focus of what you want to get out of the post and make that your focus. It's too easy to get bogged down by the day to day issues here that are a part of the culture and will not change, which can make for an unpleasant experience.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

There is a vibrant restaurant community here that make eating and drinking wine a sport.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

All!

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes. Because of the size of the city, there is a community for all.

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5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Yes.. Despite the size of the city and country there is a lack of diversity. Thus, as a person of color you will stand out and draw attention wherever you go. People actually reach out and rub my child's head as a norm here. At first I thought they were being friendly and affectionate, but on more than one occasion I have caught people actually feeling the texture of my child's hair and that is creepy and not okay. There is a large Asian population here, but still relatively small in the grand scheme of the population.

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6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Getting out of the city and traveling within the country.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Too many to count. Check the usual tourist books and websites.

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8. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Big city living with lots of museums and unique culture. Very dog friendly.

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9. Can you save money?

No.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Maybe, with adjusted expectations and more research. I think I focused my research on touristy things and not on the hardship of life. However due to politics here, there is not a lot of information. For example there are no government produced stats on crime or inflation for that matter.

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2. Do you have any other comments?

I hope my comments were balanced and not overly negative. I don't feel we, or many people I talk to, had an accurate depiction of the city and its living conditions. As an expat brought here by the government or a company, you are going to live better than the average person, and it's not bad living. I suggest you speak with someone who has no interest in convincing you about moving and ask the lots of questions!

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Buenos Aires, Argentina 08/08/11

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Paris, Rome, Tel Aviv, Moscow.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Washington D.C. about 10 hours, plus/minus depending on airlines.

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3. How long have you lived here?

been here 2 + years

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

government

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

We live in the suburbs to be close to the school. The commute into the city is nasty.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Expensive.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Everything is available, but it is expensive and going up all the time...25% inflation.

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5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

Gluten-free products are easily available. However this is a meat-eating country and the vegetables and fruits are an after thought.

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6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Lots of mosquitoes in the warm weather.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Embassy.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Easily available and used to be quite inexpensive, but everything is going up.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, physical appearance is VERY important here.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

We use cc only.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Catholic and Christian both available.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

It definitely helps to know Spanish, but basic level proficiency is easily acquired.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Sidewalks are broken, few ramps, bathrooms not suitable to wheelchairs.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Can't say in general they're all safe. One has to be really careful. Buses and trains are very cheap, taxis are expensive. In the city one has to be very careful where to go and petty theft is common.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

I wouldn't bring a big car because of limited parking and a big minivan shouts "I'M AMERICAN."

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Available, but not dependable.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Get one.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Lots of vets - people here LOVE dogs.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

No.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Less casual than in the US.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Many. Crime has increased dramatically and at least once a week some crime is reported among the embassy community or the neighborhood in general.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care is fine.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

OK.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Very mild, never freezes.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Lincoln School - high school and middle school are OK, the elementary academic level is sub-par. However, I have the attitude that it will all work out.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Lincoln definitely works with kids with special needs, but you need to check with the school in advance to make sure that your particular need can be accommodated.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

You can find everything.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes, but we only patronize the school's programs because my kids are somewhat shy.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

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2. Morale among expats:

Some love it here. Some hate it here.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

People go out very late here.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Good for everyone.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not that I know of. That said, it is a Latin American Catholic society.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Love Spanish and the steak is great.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Walking, having coffee, playing tennis, not too many museums.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Leather goods.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Weather is gorgeous.

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11. Can you save money?

Not if you're a government employee.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

American standards and expectations. Bring $ to bribe policemen.

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3. But don't forget your:

Patience. Very important.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

You can always find things to complain about wherever you go. But most places in the world are not like America or Western Europe. So accept it, don't compare to home and you'll be fine.

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Buenos Aires, Argentina 05/14/11

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

yes

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Florida- 9 hours

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3. How long have you lived here?

1 year

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

US Embassy

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Singles and couples tend to live in the city in beautiful apartments. Families are in the suberbs in single family homes with a pool, but have an hour commute to work.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Local meats, and fruits/veggies are good quality. Prices are similar to US. Imported goods are hard to come by, so if you have a favorite brand (mac&cheese, cereals, snacks) you may want to bring it with you.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Paper products, spices, clothes.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

McDonald's and Burger King are here. A combo is a bit more than US standards (current price is $8 for a combo meal) but the 30% inflation may make this even more expensive.

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5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

There are several Vegetarian restaurants, but steak is king here.

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6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

I haven't had any problems.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

We use the embassy; it takes 1 week to get packages from the US.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Help is available, we pay about $5 an hour.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The U.S. Embassy has one, but for the monthly fee you could also chose another. Many apartments also have their own gym.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

We use our debit card all over.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Two Christian churches in the suberbs have English services. I'm not sure of other denominations.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

One local newspaper, but there are often complaints that the govt censors the news.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Spanish is needed. Don't count on anyone speaking English to you. Even if the locals know English, they get annoyed with foreigners who don't speak the local language.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Sidewalks are horrible, so getting around in a wheel chair would be nearly impossible.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

All available, all inexpensive. The trains and subways can get crowded and stinky, but for 40 cents, you can't beat it!

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Any car is suitable, but getting it here depends on customs' rule of the day. It took us 7 months to get our car. A few years back, some waited for 1 year. Others never got their car. Cars are very expensive here though, so its best to ship one if you can.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

We have high-speed wireless and pay just under $50 a month.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

You need to have legal residency to get a cell phone, so it may take a little while to get one. There are a few companies, we used Movistar which was reasonable priced.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No, but the customs process is a full day event. Very challenging, so be patient.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Vets are great, reasonable costs.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Not unless you are a teacher. Also, wages are much lower here, so if you do find a local job with an NGO, don't expect a great salary. Avg salary for a professional is $1200 USD month.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

business

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Home invasions happen in the suberbs, but I'm not aware of it actually happen to Embassy staff. We have bars on the windows, gates, alarms and roving security. More often, people are victims of circumstance. Pick pockets and car break ins for electronics.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Great medical care. Many chose to stay any have their baby here.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Overall good. Exhaust in traffic can be a problem if you are behind a bus, but nothing worse than any other large city.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Reverse seasons. Summer Dec-March with highs in the mid 80s. Mild winters June-Aug. Spring and fall are wonderful.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

My daughter goes to Lincoln- the international school. It has a great reputation from K-12, with many students getting into great US Universities after graduation. The school offers many after school activities, has a pool and track and field for sports. The teachers and Admin staff are great as well.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Not sure, many families have nannies, so I haven't heard about the daycares.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes, its all here. Many kids particpate in the school sports, but others are taking gymnastics and karate through local programs.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Large, especially out in the suberbs.

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2. Morale among expats:

Mixed. The biggest problem is that many come here with high expectations and then are disappointed when faced with the challenges of living in a developing country. Expectations and reality seem to be off kilter a bit. The driving sucks, locals are not warm towards foreigners, and the country is experiencing 30% inflation so prices keep rising.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Plenty to do and see. Polo games, dance clubs, restaurants, concerts, tango shows.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Yes, its great for everyone! Great nightlife, loads of restaurants, many activities to meet all interests. The only downside is that there is so many options, the expat community is not very cohesive.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes, the city is liberal compared to most of Latin America. There are specific gay night clubs for those who are interested. Still, you may not see much PDA among gay couples.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Some.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

My favorite moments have been when I left the city. Day trips to Tigre, weekends to the beaches.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

There are lots of parks where the locals like to hang out and picnic. Many boutique shops, sidewalk cafes, casinos, polo fields, cultural activities, etc...

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

leather goods are popular, the wines are fantastic.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Great steak and wine. Plenty of activities within the city such as concerts and art programs

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11. Can you save money?

No, it's pretty expensive living here.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes, but a few years is enough for me.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

driving habits of staying in your own lane, and your expectations that this is Europe. You can also leave wine.

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3. But don't forget your:

peanut butter, maple syrup, kraft macaroni and cheese.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

Evita- you need to know the story of Eva Peron

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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Buenos Aires, Argentina 07/10/08

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, I lived in Paris for a year as a child.

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2. How long have you lived here?

Traveled there multiple times in '05, '06 and early '07. Moved to Buenos Aires in Aug '07 from NYC. Returned to the U.S. June '08 for 3 months for work, will be returning Sept '08 for the long-term.

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3. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

NYC to Buenos Aires is direct flight on American, about 11 hours. Also you can fly directly from Miami (but then you have to deal with Customs in Miami - my definition of hell on earth). It's fairly easy to fly there from any major city in the U.S. although generally you will connect through Miami or Dallas.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Moved to start a business with a friend.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

I rented an apartment in Las Canitas - it was approximately 15 minutes in a taxi to Puerto Madero, Retiro, Palermo, etc (except at rush hour). When going to Pilar, it took 30 minutes without traffic, up to 80 minutes with traffic at rush hour.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries are definitely getting more expensive. Again, if you have dollars, the city still remains a relative bargain. Supply is good in the larger chain supermarkets (Jumbo & Disco & Cotco)

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Hot sauce (they don't have anything spicy here), electronics (they are EXPENSIVE here).

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Fast Food - yes but why would you want it? There is a huge amount of good restaurants from very inexpensive parillas to high end gourmet restaurants.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

It's a problem - shipping is *very* expensive & things have a tendency to get lost in transit.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Very available & very inexpensive.

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3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

No problem using ATMs or Credit Cards. Be aware however that if you are using an ATM from a U.S. bank, they have started imposing withdrawal limits of $300 pesos at a time. Also, ATMS are usually closed in banks every afternoon (from 1-2 or 2-3) to restock cash. You also will be charged a transaction fee for using your credit card or ATM by your U.S. company usually.

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4. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes.

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5. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Yes.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

In Buenos Aires, most people speak some degree of English. If you are out in the provinces, that percentage drops precipitously. Obviously you will want to have some rudimentary Spanish to get around.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

A lot of difficulties - sidewalks tend to be broken up & difficult to traverse.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Yes - trains, subways, buses and taxis are affordable and safe. If taking the train, bus, subway - watch your wallet & try not to advertise that you are an expat. Taxis are fine as well - if you have any concerns, you can take a remise.

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2. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?

Same as the U.S.

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3. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

As noted before, car theft is on the rise. If you do have a car, it is worth making sure you have garage parking. Otherwise, you are obviously at higher risk, especially if driving a luxury car.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Easily available & very inexpensive.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Buy one there. If you don't have a DNI, you won't be able to sign a contract but you can do a pay per use phone & just refill it by buying cards at any kiosko or locuturio.

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3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?

Get Skype. Otherwise, you can use Vonage, etc.

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Pets:

1. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Dog walkers are everywhere, vets are easily found (but it behoves you to speak Spanish if you need to talk with your vet)

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Not really. If you want to work here, it is best if you are starting your own business or are tranfered here by your company. There are some teaching English jobs but they are competitive and don't pay enough. If you are bi-lingual & have specialized skills (IT, advanced degrees, etc) there are more options.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Stylishly casual. They love their jeans here but they are worn with great shoes & a cute shirt (men and women). You don't see many women out in dresses at night. Business varies from business casual to suits but again, people always look sharp even when they are casually dressed (aka - NO sweatpants, torn jeans, sneakers, stained tshirts, etc).

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Moderate. There is a great deal of auto pollution in the city. There were also extensive fires this year.

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2. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Not really. It generally is a bad idea to wear an expensive watch - I have had 3 friends mugged for their Rolexes. In general, the same precautions as any large city, don't carry large amounts of cash on you, don't flash expensive jewelry, don't carry a lot of credit cards, be aware of pickpockets in tourist areas. The other note is auto theft is fairly common, be sure to park in a garage.

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3. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care is inexpensive (I was paying $350 pesos a month, so a little over US$100) for premium health care.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Winter tends to be rainy and grey, especially July & August but not that cold (average in the high 40s). Spring/Fall are beautiful, summers are usually in the high 80s and humid. Most people try to leave the city in January for the beach or countryside.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Large.

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2. Morale among expats:

It varies, some are thrilled, others frustrated by the inefficiencies of life here.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Yes - incredible! Entertaining and going out is a way of life here. But be prepared, the party starts late. Dinner at a restaurant isn't before 10, bars don't get crowded until 1 & clubs won't be empty until after 3:30 or 4 in the morning.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Yes to all of the above. Buenos Aires has options for singles, couples and families. It is a very energetic city with a never-ending list of activities available (especially if you are earning in dollars). It is also easy to meet people.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes. There is a strong and thriving gay community in Buenos Aires. Caution should be taken when out of major metropolitan areas, however.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Buenos Aires is VERY white and very non-diverse. Also be aware that Argentines are *not* PC.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

There is a never-ending list of things to do from plays to art exhibits to restaurants to days in the campo to boating to..well, really your imagination is the limit.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Anything you want - lots of great silver, leather goods, handmade belts, shoes, etc.

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9. Can you save money?

If you're earning dollars or euros, absolutely. If you're earning in pesos, no. Inflation is a factor here, the official inflation rate is 10% but that is due to price controls on meat, etc.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Absolutely, I wish I had made the decision to move earlier.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Leather goods, expectations of things starting on time or getting done efficiently and type A personality. And definitely leave behind your thin skin & political correctness - men will make comments to you if you are a women.

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3. But don't forget your:

Sense of humor, spices if you like spicy food, your laptop, your open-mindedness and your desire to learn a new language, culture, etc.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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7. Do you have any other comments?

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