Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Expat life in…Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, is one of the largest and most diverse cities in the world. Famed for its theatre and music scene, the city’s passion for artistry is commonly revered as unprecedented. Argentina is the birthplace of tango after all.

As Europe and North America have suffered from one of the most turbulent economic downturns of all time, expats have been attracted to the enhanced quality of life which cities such as Buenos Aires can offer.  Argentina is renowned for its high quality of life, particularly compared to other countries in the region.

Buenos Aires conjures up images of Paris, Madrid and Barcelona—an eclectic mix of colonial architecture and modern renovation saturated with timeless art. In fact, the city is known as the ‘Paris of South America’. Expats are attracted to Buenos Aires to fully experience South America’s passion, culture and opportunity. A love affair is often ignited, causing expats who leave to return time and time again whether to live, work or stop by on holiday.

Image source: Wikimedia

Expats need to learn Spanish to some degree if going to Buenos Aires for an extended period of time. To truly immerse yourself in this exotic culture—command over the Spanish language will be a resourceful tool.
The version of Spanish spoken here is Rioplatense Spanish and if you have studied the traditional Castilian Spanish from Spain, you could find this newer version difficult to understand. For example, ll (e.g. me llamo …) creates the y sound in Castilian but it sounds like sh in Rioplatense. In Buenos Aires avoid the form of verbs; rather you should use the voseo form. To confuse things further, vocabulary can also be very different to what they use in Spain and even the rest of South America.

When a city is so large, choosing the right neighbourhood to live in can be problematic. The great news is that the city is peppered with anything you would ever need; such as parks, supermarkets, theatres, schools, squares, restaurants and of course tango saloons. The centre however will be noisier than any of the leafier residential areas and expats should be aware that certain districts are still home to some impoverished communities.

Young professionals may enjoy Puerto Madero as it’s the redeveloped old docklands area. It is part of the central business district with fine-dining restaurants and high-rise accommodation. Recoleta and Palermo are also two popular areas among expats. Recoleta’s streets are lined with Parisian architecture and Palermo has many different subdivisions but Palermo Soho/Viejo is known for its chic shops and trendy residents.

Image Source: flickr

If you are about to expatriate to Buenos Aires, ensure that you pack your imagination and willingness. You’ll need them as the city will most certainly ensnare all of your senses; the meat, the wine, the bohemian attitudes and the sensuality of tango. Buenos Aires is the perfect answer to where will expats find adventure and a desire for life? 

Have you ever been an expat in Buenos Aires? Share tips here:  

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