Angelina Khoo is a Canadian English teacher, writer and dancer who moved to Buenos Aires to enjoy the finer things in life. She has learned to love the unpredictable nature of life in Buenos Aires, and has overcome many of the unique challenges facing expats living in the Argentinian Capital. Follow her on Twitter to keep updated on her adventures (@tango2themoon), or check out her blog Tango 2 The Moon for her insider tips and tricks on how to make the most of life in Buenos Aires.
Q: Where are you originally from?
Q: Where are you living now?
A: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Q: When did you move to Argentina?
A: May 2013
Q: Did you move to Buenos Aires alone or with a spouse/family?
Q: Why did you move; what do you do?
A: I moved to teach English, learn Spanish and dance the Argentine tango.
Living in Buenos Aires
Q: What do you enjoy most about Buenos Aires? How would you rate the quality of life compared to Canada?
A: Buenos Aires is a magical city that never sleeps. You never knew what was going to happen next; it could be anything from an impromptu rock concert or a citywide protest.
Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home?
A: Buenos Aires can be an incredibly stressful city. Lots of political turmoil. High inflation and prices changing weekly.
Q: What are the biggest adjustments you had to make when settling into expat life in Buenos Aires? Did you experience any particular elements of culture shock?
A: The biggest adjustment was that most people didn't speak any English. Also, a huge source of culture shock was that people were so lax about being on time. In Argentine culture, it's OK to be 45 mins or an hour late, or even not to show up at all.
Q: What’s the cost of living compared to Canada? What is cheap or expensive in particular?
A: It is much cheaper here. With just 30 USD you can get a great meal at a fine restaurant.
Q: How would you rate the public transport? What are the different options? Do you need to own a car?
A: A fond memory of mine was an eight-day bus strike that threw the city into chaos!
Q: How would you rate the healthcare in Buenos Aires? Have you had any particularly good/bad experiences regarding doctors and hospitals? Are there any hospitals you would recommend?
A: One of the nicest things about Buenos Aires is that whether you are a foreigner or local healthcare is covered.
Q: What are the biggest safety issues facing expats living in Buenos Aires? Are there any areas expats should avoid?
A: Serious crimes like murder aren't a problem, but robbery is. It's easy to stay safe if you take basic precautions. Don't openly show or carry an iPhone or iPad in public. If you have a backpack wear it in front of you, not on your back. If you carry a handbag, hang it around your body and not over your shoulder. Never leave your belongings unattended at a restaurant even for a second.
Q: How do you rate the standard of housing in Buenos Aires? What different options are available for expats?
A: The most popular option is renting a room in a local's house.
Q: Any areas/suburbs you’d recommend for expats to live in?
A: Some of the most popular suburbs include Palermo, San Telmo, Boedo, Abasto, and Almagro.
Meeting people and making friends
Q: How tolerant are the locals of foreigners? Is there any obvious discrimination against particular religions or women etc.?
A: Argentines have become fairly accustomed to foreigners, and you'll find people open and easy to converse with.
Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends? How did you go about meeting new people?
A: I got to know my local friends by attending a church and teaching English lessons. I also met a lot of people by attending expat events.
Q: Have you made friends with locals or do you mix mainly with other expats? What advice would you give to new expats looking to make friends? Any social/expat groups you can recommend?
A: The expat community in Buenos Aires is very strong and supportive. Going to events and supporting the businesses of new contacts will help you settle in and establish relationships.
Q: Is there any other advice you would like to offer new expat arrivals?
A: The best advice I could give is that expats should make sure they have at least some basic knowledge of Spanish before arriving.
~ Interviewed March 2018