Dave: Discover Buenos Aires
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Buenos Aires, etc.
My name is Dave and I moved to Buenos Aires in 2008 from NYC. I was burnt out of the NYC lifestyle and 100 hour work weeks and needed a change. BA at the time was a big change and quite cheap, so it made some sense to me to come and check it out. I figured I could live on savings for a year and then move back if I had to. That was 4 years, an Argentine wife and a daughter ago…
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
Blogging started as a way to take notes of my experiences and keep everything organized in one spot. I figured, “Hey, I’m doing a lot of work and research planning for this move. Maybe that would be useful to someone else.” The fact that it took off and became popular was a bit surprising to me.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I have quite a few. My April Fools joke got a ton of traffic and tricked a lot of people. My posts about using Xoom to get a better exchange rate on your money in Argentina are also incredibly popular and save people a ton! Of money!
Tell us about the ways your new life in Buenos Aires differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
BA is a great city, but the language barrier was something I was not that prepared for. I took a lot of Spanish classes when I first got here, but to be honest I didn’t keep up with it like I should have. I still have most of my friends and business dealings in English, but my day-to-day life in Spanish. This has been the hardest adjustment to make and I keep telling myself to go back to Spanish classes but it has not yet happened.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Buenos Aires? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I think I was fairly well prepared for the actual move and living here. I came and visited for a week before I came. I read a lot of other blogs and forums about life here. I initially planned on a 1 year trip here but it’s now going on 4 years. I’m not sure I would have changed anything.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
One of my wildest experiences was going to a Boca Juniors soccer game. We thought we could buy tickets at the gate and found out that it was a little more complicated than that.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Buenos Aires?
- BA is not as cheap as it once was. Do not expect to come here and teach English and have a good lifestyle. There is a lot of outdated information on the web about the actual cost of living. Be sure to do your research first.
- Learn Spanish as soon as you can. Not knowing the language can be very frustrating.
- Bring US dollars. The difference between the official exchange rate and the blue market rate can mean a lot in terms of your lifestyle.
How is the expat community in Buenos Aires? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
There is a large expat community in Buenos Aires. It was very easy to find a lot of outgoing and interesting people here. Many expats open businesses, work in technology, teach English, etc. People are very receptive to helping other expats here and there’s a lot of groups as well.
How would you summarize your expat life in Buenos Aires in a single, catchy sentence?
Married with kids in a city on the other side of the world.