1 August 2016

Bryan D. Foat - Expat in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Bryan D. Foat - Expat in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Q: Where are you originally from?
A: Los Angeles Ares, California, USA

Q: In which city are you currently residing?
A: Buenos Aires since 1998

Q: What do you do in your new city?
A: I have worked in sales and sales management before and after arriving here.

Q: How is the quality of life in your new city in comparison to that of your home city?
A: I lived in the suburbs and was generally very happy with the quality of life. Living in a city took some getting used to, but now I love it. Aside for a certain level of chaos that is more country-specific than city specific, I like it very much. Traffic is an issue, but that is true in every city I have visited to some degree or another. Poor quality public transportation, too, is an issue. I find good schools for my son, but they are private and expensive. Food is generally very good but there is less variety than I would like. The biggest drawback, I think, with Buenos Aires is that it is far away from everything I like to do on the weekends whereas in LA everything was close (within 2 hours you have the beach, the mountains, the desert, downtown/cultural venues, museums, Mexico, etc.)

Q: How would you rate the healthcare system in which you are currently enrolled?
A: Until recently I had a high-end private HMO that was very good. It was better in some respects than coverage in the USA, lacking in others, but in general very acceptable.

Q: How does the cost of living compare to that of your home city?
A: Everything here is more and more expensive with each passing day due to 25% annual inflation over the last 4-5 years or so. Real estate prices in good neighbourhoods here are quite elevated, but not nearly as high as in Orange County (just south of LA) where the average home price is the highest of any county in the USA.

Q: Did you use a relocation company to help you with your move?
A: No, I relocated myself due to a marriage choice.

Q: How easy or difficult was the relocation process?
A: It was done in two steps, first to my in-laws house, then several months later after securing employment, getting our own place. Not soooo difficult but certainly not easy either.

Q: Did you move here with any family members?
A: Yes, my wife.

Q: Did your spouse and children find it difficult to adapt to their new job and schools?
A: No, she was returning home, although we came here at a difficult time for the economy and the job market and she has never returned to work since our return. We had no children at the time.

Q: How did the family, including you, do in acclimating to the new culture and surroundings?
A: Very quickly and very well. My main acculturation issue was more on the employment front trying to manage Argentine salespeople which was much more challenging than I expected and more challenging than with their US counterparts due to the “viveza criolla” type of thinking (always trying to find the shortcut, the easiest way, be “slick” instead of smart, work as little as possible instead of as hard as possible).

Q: What is your favourite mobile app which you use to aid you in your expat life?
A: Believe it or not, I don´t use mobile apps.

Q: What is one piece of advice you’d like to offer a new expat in your new city?
A: Learn the layout of the city by studying a map a little bit. It´s very easy to know where you are in relation to where you want to be once you understand the layout of the city including where and when the street names change north/south and in different neighborhoods, the numbering system (100 per block starting at 0 where the street name starts/changes and working up from there). That and that you can´t rent property here, basically, without a property guarantee. The entire rental process is quite complicated and completely unlike anything I had experienced preciously.