As an expatriate living in Paraguay, you should be aware that healthcare is not up to the standard of many European and North American countries. Although the capital city, Asunción, has basic equipment and facilities in a number of hospitals, you will be hard pressed to find a similar quality of care in other cities, towns, and rural areas.
There is a state funded healthcare system in the country, but many expatriates living in Paraguay prefer to take out private health insurance, as the standard of the facilities and the quality of care is far higher in private institutions.
Additionally, many expats choose to travel to Brazil or other nearby countries with better developed healthcare systems for more delicate or serious treatments and operations. Therefore, it is vital that you make sure you and your family have adequate health insurance to cover any eventualities for your life in Paraguay.
Paraguay has a state funded, compulsory education system for children between the ages of 7 and 13, during which children attend an Elementary School (Educación Primaria). Beyond this, the country offers schooling up to the age of 18, with the final three years spent in High School (Educación Secundaria). Although the education system has improved significantly in recent years, the dropout rate remains high amongst those native to the country.
For expatriate parents living in Paraguay, there are a number of international schools suitable for their children, like the Pan American International School and the American School of Asuncion, which both teach in English. International schools with another language or country focus also exist and include, for example, the Deutsche Schule Asunción. As this selection already shows, the majority of international schools are found in the capital city, Asunción. However, there are also some outside of the capital, e.g. the British School Ciudad del Este.
Paraguay also has a number of universities, including the National University of Asunción and the National University of Itapúa, as well as international universities Columbia University of Paraguay, the German University Paraguay, and the Three Frontiers International University.
Expatriates living in Paraguay need to be aware of the potential issues surrounding safety and security. Although the crime rate has dropped and the country has become safer in recent years, Paraguay still has higher levels of violent crime, mainly kidnapping, than most European or North American countries.
Pickpocketing and petty theft are very common in urban areas, so ensure that you keep your important belongings safe on your person. Car theft and burglary are also common in cities, especially in those with a high number of expatriates. Paraguay also has an issue with corruption and money laundering, with organized crime also major concern.
The main emergency number in Paraguay is 911, but there are also specialist tourist police departments in major cities with their own contact numbers: