Work Abroad but earn in USD

Saturday, November 29, 2008

10 Questions for Geoff W. in Rio Gallegos, Santa Cruz

EDITORS NOTE: This is another post in our series of Expat Interviews. Let us know if you know someone who would be a good person to interview and we will try to do it. Geoff is from Alabama (US) and currently lives as an exchange student full time in Santa Cruz province with an Argentine host family, he is a full time student.

1. Where were you born, where else have you lived, and where are you living now? I was born in Huntsville, AL, I have lived in Seoul, Korea, Washington D.C., and Portland, Oregon. I now live in Rio Gallegos, the Capital of the Provincia de Santa Cruz in Southern Patagonia.

2. Who did you move to Argentina with? When? I moved to Argentina by myself as a university exchange student. I have been here since the beginning of August.

3. What made you pick Argentina? I had studied Spanish in High School for 4 years and wanted to take the leap towards fluency. I had the option of studying and living with a host family in either Panama or Argentina. I chose Argentina for its geographic and cultural diversity.

4. What is the best part about living in Argentina? The worst? The best two parts of living in Argentina are the people and the food. The people are very warm and open and asado is delicious. The worst part of living in Argentina is the unreliability of absolutely everything. Although I've learned to not take hot water for granted, I sometimes find it difficult to get things done with so many strikes.

5. How do you make your living? I am a student so I am not currently earning a living.

6. What is a typical day like for you? A typical day usually goes like this: 10 AM: Wake up, eat breakfast, 11 AM: Head to the gym, 1 PM: Eat lunch, 2 PM: Begin working on homework, 5 PM: Drink Mate with my host family, 8 PM: Go to class, 11 PM: Eat dinner, 12 AM: Go out with friends if it's Friday!

7. How has living in Argentina changed your life? Living with an Argentine family has taught me to be more patient and accepting of others. Also, I had never really realized how fortunate I was to have had been born into the life that I was born into. I guess that fits into not taking things for granted but there have been a few moments when I've thought "wow this person works just as hard as me for half of the reward, and they're still grateful for what they have."

8. How does living in Argentina differ most from living in your home country? At an orientation I attended before heading down here we discussed the iceberg cultural model where the tip of the iceberg represents the cultural differences that are immediately apparent (e.g. food, clothing, architecture). Once you get beyond the tip you start to notice true cultural values. In regards to these big differences I would have to say the biggest is the pace of life. Everything is sped up in the United States. We buy pre-prepared meals, check e-mail on our phones while we are traveling, and we speed through the grocery store line rapidly. In Argentina more time is spent with family and friends and multi-tasking is driving down the road and drinking maté at the same time. Argentines are also much louder and much more expressive than Americans (it's got to be the Italian roots).

9. What are your future plans in Argentina? When are you planning on leaving? I'll be finishing the school year up at the end November. In December my family from the United States will join me to visit El Calafate and Buenos Aires. After that I plan on spending January and February traveling with my host family through Argentina and perhaps to Santiago de Chile. I'll resume school in March and head back to the U.S. in July or August.

10. What one tip would you pass on to a future expat moving to Argentina? The best tip I can give to an expat headed down south is to come informed, yet without expectations of what your life will be like. If you come with expectations of what life will be like down here and then it doesn't turn out to be true you're bound to be disappointed. I always have a mental picture of what a place will be like before I travel there. It's never correct. However, it doesn't hurt to talk to someone that has traveled or, better yet, has lived here.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the background knowledge. I was hoping you could help me out. I am not moving to Argentina but will be visiting my family there for christmas. I have not been there since i was 14. I am now 30 and it has been brought to my attention by my Dad that wearing shorts over there is not a good idea. I'm a dj here in Canada and i dress with an urban style. I'm very unsure of what to wear in Buenos Aires as I know fashion is a big thing over there but I don't know how I will wear jeans in 40 degree centigrade heat. Any tips you could give me would be much appreciated. Is it ok to wear shorts in BA? Also, if you know of any nice places to stay in the city that are reasonable that would be great too...but the clothing question is my real concern. Thanks very much. I've enjoyed reading your blog and will continue to do so.
Andre El-Baba

12/02/2008 03:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi I am new to blogging, but this is a great site as much as I would love to move to Argentina permanently it is not in the cards for me yet. However, I do have a question regarding Argentine citizenship for my future children... My husband and I are both Americans, I lived in Argentina for a year and half while in college and my husband has also traveled in Argentina. We would like to give our children the opportunity to have dual citizenship and are entertaining the idea of birthing our children in Argentina. Is it true that if they are born in Argentina they will receive Argentine citizenship and American citizenship due to the fact that we are both Americans? Will there be any potential for them to lose this dual citizenship in the future?
Thank you for your help.

1/29/2009 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Quiet a difference living in Santa Cruz and Buenos Aires. Just like you have described in sometimes not having hot water in Santa Cruz. That will not happen in Buenos Aires.

5/24/2009 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

That was a great read! thanks for the info :)

11/27/2009 02:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Matt G said...

I am a US citizen living now in Bariloche, married to an Argentine woman.
We both want to visit the US, though she has zero interest in becoming a citizen or getting a residency -we'd both just like the option to travel there. We were denied a visa for her a year and a half ago in the US embassy of Costa Rica, and were not legally married at the time (we are now, in Argentina).
I am unclear of the process for how to get a visa for her and her daughter to travel with me to the US. We are both interested in living in Argentina now, though would like to visit my grandfather and family, etc. Her daughter wants to go to Disneyland. Etc.

I was told by my lawyer (a US citizen living in CR for 30 years) that if we are not legally married, the embassy essentially needs a reason to say YES. If we are married, they need a reason to say NO.

Any advice here? Any recommended avenues or tactics for getting this visa? I am paying my taxes in the US, even though I don't feel so enthused about supporting what it supports (a private bank more or less), and I have broken no laws, and she is legal as well... There is no bullshit, no tricks, and she is legally my wife.

Does she need to go through the rather insulting experience of the US embassy again, getting looked at like a criminal, etc? Can I apply for this for my family?


Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

5/31/2011 11:45:00 AM  

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