In most people’s mind the word “expat” recalls images of luxury, shiny desks in multinational corporates and privileged lifestyles. On the other hand, when it comes about the term “immigrant”, we tend to think about dreams, hopes and cardboard suitcases. Two words, two deeply different concepts.
As someone who has been living in Asia for several years, I’ve always taken for granted that I was an. In Asia just looking Western immediately qualifies me as such from local people’s perspective.
In China most locals assume that all Westerners are beautiful, rich, smart and powerful. While in Hong Kong people are more used to foreign presence, you can still feel some respect and admiration towards the Western community. In Taiwan foreigners’ reputation is generally not that positive, as Taiwanese know that expats enjoy much better salaries and privileges than locals with fewer obligations.
In all these places though, Westerner equals expat.
Indeed in Asia the difference between expat and immigrant is purely based on race: Westerners are expats while dark-skinned people are immigrants. This mindset is very strong throughout East Asia because in countries such as China, Japan and Korea the local population is genetically very homogenous. For this reason, the concept of cultural identity corresponds to the concept of racial identity. For instance, in order to be considered Japanese you have to be born and raised in Japan in a Japanese family.
The distinction between expat and immigrant gets more blurred in the West. In countries like US, UK and Australia the local population is genetically very heterogeneous, therefore the national identity is based on shared culture rather than race. If you were born a raised in the US you are American, whether you look Caucasian, Asian or Black. For this reason living in a Western country as a foreigner is very different from moving to Asia from Europe or the US.
The elements that determine a foreigner’s social status in the West are education, money, career and social network. For instance a French banker who is employed by a big corporate and moves to London for work is an expat. On the other hand, a Spanish construction worker who moves to the US willing to take any job in order to pursue a better future is an immigrant.
Are expat and immigrant two words that simply define a rich foreigner and poor foreigner? The issue is not that easy.
Some people think that the real distinction between expat and immigrant relies on where salaries and taxes are paid. The true expat would be hired by a company in his home country and then sent to a foreign branch of the company for a limited amount of time. In this case salaries and taxes would be paid in the expat’s home country. Differently, if a person was hired directly in a foreign country with a local contract, then we could call him an immigrant.
But what about those people with high-profile jobs who decide to move to a new country autonomously and get very high paying jobs at local companies? Are they to be considered immigrants as well?
Another school of thought defines the difference between expat and immigrant according to the length of stay. For instance, if the foreigner planned to stay in the host country only for a limited amount of time, then he would be an expat. Differently, if the foreigner had in mind to stay long-term, integrate with the local community and settle down in the new country, the he would be an immigrant.
In conclusion, it looks like the difference between expat and immigrant is actually very ambiguous and everyone has his own idea about it. While in some areas of the world the distinction is purely based on racial factors, in other regions the elements that determine which category you belong to are less precise. Everyone picks for himself the definition he feels comfortable with.
As I was strolling through the streets of Palermo one day, I saw a billboard advert which made me stop and stare. This rarely happens but the difference today was that the advert in question was promoting one of Brazils’ finest musical exports, Sepultura, whose heyday in the late 80s to 90s saw them churning out thrash/death Metal. Now, Sep may not be quite so well known in Argentina but in Brazil they’re very famous. I’ve been listening to them for 16 years and for one reason or another have never been able to see them play in London, my home city. The second I saw the advert, I knew I had to go. What’s more, is that it’s their 30th year anniversary. It seems that one of the first bands that got me into metal, who happen to be south American, are also going to be the first I see live in Buenos Aires and that’s a pretty special thing. After discovering this concert’s existence, I inadvertently began to discover other musical events which were happening in the city. In the space of about a month, there will have been five or so metal concerts. Some big (Sepultura, System of a Down) and some much more underground (Arkona). I had read that south America’s metal scene was pretty strong but it’s even more encouraging when you’re there and able to see the evidence for yourself!
Photo Source: factoryworkermedia.com
Article by Claire McKeever.
When I first arrived in Buenos Aires, I have to say that my go to drink was a glass of Malbec. However, on closer inspection, I’ve been so impressed by the selection of artisan/craft beer on offer, and the inviting pubs it’s served in, that a well brewed pint has often been just as appealing (especially a honey based one).
Even after Oktoberfest has ended, you don’t need an excuse to share a few beers and enjoy some of Buenos Aires’ best locally brewed craft beer:
A new kid on the block, Otra Vuelta keeps it simple with a selection of two artisan beers on tap and a fridge full of honey, light, dark and even smoked based brews (local and international). It may be light on pint choices but its ski-lodge esque interior, friendly staff, excellent happy hour and complimentary snacks (a very important part of the craft beer experience) keeps me coming back for more.
- Gurrachaga 1324, Palermo.
- Happy Hour 18:00-21:30.
- Opening hours: 18:00 – 14:00.
A popular chain of artisan beer pubs, Antares has spread its wings for very good reason. With a wide selection on tap, happy hour and locations across the city (as well as across Argentina), it’s often a good choice if you’re wanting a decent beer and lively atmosphere. There have been times I’ve visited when doors have closed due to limited capacity (especially during happy hour) so make sure you make it in good time to get your order in.
- Las Canitas, Palermo (Armenia 1477) & San Telmo (Bolivar 491).
- See website for happy hour & opening hours (it differs for each location) & for other locations across Argentina (including Bariloche, Mendoza & Cordoba).
If you find yourself in Recoleta and in need of something exciting to quench your thirst after all that sightseeing then I would recommend this place. Its beer garden, very cool ¼ pint tastings and the fact it is all made in-house makes it a real treat. Rest assured you can also order a ‘proper’ pint if that’s what you’re after. There’s also a base in ‘microcentro’ but unless you want to nestle a pint amidst lots of office workers then you’re best to stick to the Recoleta version.
- Presidente Roberto M. Ortiz 1827, Recoleta / Paraguay 428, Microcentro (city centre).
- Happy Hour 6-8pm.
- Weekdays open from 12:00 / Saturday from 21:00.
This place is pretty magical. I must admit it is lacking when it comes to offering as wide a selection as other artisan beer locations across the city (at least when I’ve visited as half the menu hasn’t been available) but the fact you’re sat in the middle of trees and fairy lights makes it quite special. It’s definitely worth a visit and again, you’ll find another great happy hour if you’re wanting to grab a bargain.
- Malabia 1401, Palermo.
- Opening hours 18:00 until …
It’s no surprise that an Irish inspired pub makes it on my list. What I love about Breoghan’s is not only the selection of own-brewed beers but also the authentic surroundings; its bricked walls, wine barrels used as tables and old school seating making you feel like you’re in a ‘real’ pub. Happy hour is more unofficial and signalled with a bell so hopefully you’ll not miss on that.
- Bolivar 860, San Telmo.
- Opening hours: 18:00 until …
Don’t let the title fool you, one of the most stunning eamples of nineteenth century architecture in Buenos Aires houses one of its most quirky and unusual museums. El Palacio de Aguas Corrientes is gigantic and unmistakeable. Covered in hundreds of thousands of imported ceramic tiles and occupying an entire city block, its flamboyant style is in stark contrast to its humble orginal purpose as a water pumping station.
The yellow fever outbreaks that plagued BA in the mid-nineteenth century necessitated the building of a modern water delivery system. For this reason, the city of Buenos Aires employed Swedish-Argentine architect Carlos Nyströmer to design a building to house the tanks and plumbing necessary to carry almost 2 million gallons of water.
The heart of the building contains what appears to be a cathedral to plumbing. Enormous tanks suspended three stories above are fed by pipes big enough for a fair-sized walrus to swim through comfortably. It is an industrial pumping station with the dimensions and and style of an Viennese opera house. It is to public sanitation what Michelangelo’s David is to sculpture. Oh, and it also houses what can be safely described as the most comprehensive museum to toilets that you are likely ever to see. If you enjoy unusual museums or neo-renaissance sanitation conduit, this is the museum for you.
Riobamba 750 – 1st floor/ Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-1pm/ Tel: (54-11) 6319-1104
Photo Source : exploradorturistico.blogspot.com.ar
If you live in BA and are not lucky enough to have a pool at your apartment, it’s time to make friends with someone who does. The heat is edging into the upper thirties and it’s not getting cooler any time soon. You are not even safe if you have air conditioning due to the all-to-frequent cortes de luz. How do you stay cool when the heat is insoportable? Have a tereré.
Tereré is traditional mate infused with cold water or fruit juices instead of hot water. Originally from Paraguay, the drinking of tereré is wonderfully refreshing and a nice alternative to sugary sodas. Just find yourself a termo and fill it with your favorite iced beverage. Try fresh-squeezed lemonade with mint leaves, mango, peach, or pineapple; don’t be afraid to get creative. Even powdered juice mixes are good if you don’t have time to make it fresh. Add lots of ice, fill up your mate with yerba and a couple of ice cubes, put in your bombilla and find some shade. When the power goes out again use it as an opportunity to get to know your neighbors by sharing a tereré with them.
Bondiola is a particular cut of pork, unique in its dimensions and presentation, that can be found at any typical restaurant in Buenos Aires. Taken from the shoulder and neck, its nearest North American equivalent would be the Boston Butt, but porteños usually don’t cook it as an entire roast like the yanquis. You can find bondiola in fiambre (lunchmeat) form or ready for the asador at your local carniceria.
The sandwich de bondiola, with luscious, thick slices of pork and salsa criolla or chimichurri or even barbacoa (if your tastes lie that way) is one of the flavors you can’t miss when you come to Buenos Aires. Head down to Costanera Sur in Puerto Madero to sample this reasonably priced delicacy made by a professional. With an array of fresh veggies and salsas to choose from, you can’t go wrong. Order it completo if you want them to add ham, cheese and a fried egg on top of all that delicious pork. Your vegetarian friends can order a provoleta sandwich if they are unfortunate enough to be trying to eat in BA.
For the gourmet experience, try the bondiola rellena at your favorite BA steakhouse. Imagine tender, exquisite pork stuffed with plums, mushrooms, or even bacon if you are a glutton for porkishment. The bondiola mechada con panceta at La Cabrera comes highly recommended, if not a little pricy. No matter how you slice it, bondiola is a savory delight you can’t pass up when you visit Buenos Aires.
It’s no secret that Argentines are big meat eaters. Not only do they eat more than their weight in meat — seriously — but they also have some of the best beef in the world. This already gives them a one up on the rest of us when it comes to food, and that’s just the beginning of it. Epic meat eating isn’t the only thing that defines (and elevates) Argentine food culture from the rest of the world. Though, their day long asados — grill outs to us — are what dreams are made of. They’re also home to the rich wine region of Mendoza, which produces some of the best bottles of Malbec you can get your hands on. And pasta. So much pasta. These few point alone already make the Argentines better at life than the rest of us when it comes to food. And then there are all these reasons too:
Grass-fed, free-range beef isn’t a privileged choice, it’s just the way it is.
Steak is their religion and they treat it with respect. Argentines eat close to 150 LBS of meat per person, per year. And we can’t really blame them because their cattle is arguably the best in the world. Though sadly, feedlots are slowly starting to make their way to Argentina.
The pasta tastes like it was made by an Italian grandmother.
Probably because it was. Argentina has a large population of Italian immigrants which means that this country is rich not only in its steak but in its pasta too.
They melt an ENTIRE BAR of chocolate into a glass of milk.
No one can make hot chocolate better than this Argentine hot chocolate — also known as a submarino — NO ONE.
When an Argentine makes you milanesa, it means they really love you.
It takes love, time and bloody knuckles to make a really good milanesa. (Traditionally, the filets are pounded thin by hand.) So when someone serves you that for dinner, you should know that you’re in good hands.
Breakfast is served with a side of awesome, also known as medialunas.
If you like croissants, you’ll love medialunas. They’re Argentina’s smaller and sweeter version of the beloved French pastry. Medialunas are most often served at breakfast with a cafe au lait. And since they’re smaller than most breakfast pastries we like to think that means you’re entitled to more than one.
They know that tea tastes best when shared with friends.
Mate, an infusion of the yerba mate plant, runs through the Argentine’s veins. They drink it all day everyday, out of a customary gourd with a metal straw. It is enjoyed with friends, sipped and passed.
Dulce. De. Leche.
We will forever respect Argentina for truly seeing how great this milky caramel is. They put it on — and in — everything. Which means that if you ever find yourself in this great country, you’ll be guaranteed to eat a kilo of dulce de leche. (And your life will never be better.)
Sausage sandwiches are an appetizer. Seriously.
Choripan, a sandwich made with sausage and sauce (typically chimichurri), is possibly the best sandwich in the world — especially because it’s usually served as an appetizer at asados. No point messing around with crudite.
They also serve handheld meat pies before asados.
Are you beginning to catch on to a theme here? MEAT. But empanadas are filled with more than just beef. You can get them with chicken, seafood and vegetarian fillings too. It’s great.
Argentine asados put every other kind of barbecue to shame.
When it comes to grilling meat, no one does it like the Argentines. A traditional asado first starts with offal (like sweet breads) and morcilla (blood sausage). Next comes the choripan (which we just talked about). Lastly they serve the serious cuts of beef, like lomo or vacio. And this doesn’t even include the salads. It’s epic in the best of ways.
The alfajor is a national hero.
Even more so than Evita. Not officially of course, but this cookie — stuffed with dulce de leche of course — is so good it can make anyone’s bad day, week or even year better. You want this.
They found Coke’s best friend.
Rum doesn’t belong when there’s Fernet to mix Coke with. This classic Italian amaro is so loved in Argentina they produce 25 million liters of the stuff a year. We thank them for figuring out this perfect pairing.
In Argentina, meals are even better on Sunday
Most often enjoyed with family. And it’s usually an asado, obviously. The perfect end to the week if you ask us.
My father complains all the time. His back aches, the supermarket seems to be further and further away every day, computers… oh, don’t get him started. He was very active when he was younger and all of a sudden his years are weighing heavily on him. “It is tough being old”, he says. But some old people are tough. They are as tough as old boots.
Take three elderly men in the headlines recently. Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the great British explorer, has pulled out of an expedition across Antarctica because of severe frostbite. Some people were disappointed. I wasn’t. He is 68 years old and had the stamina to ski in temperatures close to -30C. No matter that he had to give up now. For me he is even a greater hero than when he was younger.
Pope Benedict XVI took a lot of flak because he resigned. I praise his courage to stay in the post till the ripe old age of 85.
But the person I would give a gold medal to is Fauja Singh from India. He has finally given up his career as a marathon runner. Singh is 101 years old! That’s resilience for you!
I think we should celebrate old people more. We should tell them every week how brave they are. It is tough being old, but we should be grateful for it. There is a quote attributed to French actor and singer Maurice Auguste Chevalier: “Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.”
Go and give a kiss to your old relatives!
don’t get him started – don’t encourage him to discuss the subject because he will never stop complaining about it.
his years are weighing heavily on him – he is very old and feels weak and vulnerable.
as tough as old boots – very strong and does not get injured easily.
frostbite – injury to the fingers, toes, ears or nose caused by very low temperatures.
stamina – the ability to do physical activity for a long time.
took a lot of flak – was heavily criticised.
ripe old age – very old.
resilience – ability to recover quickly from problems and difficulties.
Let’s be honest, it’s obvious. To drastically improve your quality of life while living in Buenos Aires, you need to learn the local castellano. Why? Read on for just a few of the reasons.
Author: Emily, American, BA Expat since 2008
Dealing with the logistics of BA life
Whether you need help with public transportation, getting directions, talking to your building’s super or doorman, renting an apartment, dealing with the immigration office, or dealing with local businesses or services (internet, telephone, etc.)…it’s a fact that being able to speak well, and understand well, is absolutely essential.
If you ask around, almost all expats in Buenos Aires will agree that speaking fluent Spanish is necessary for most jobs, unless you work online, teach English, or have your own business. Speaking Spanish will definitely open professional doors during your time in Buenos Aires.
Furthering your education
UBA (Universidad de Buenos Aires) is an excellent public university, with many affordable postgraduate programs open to foreigners. Also, these programs are generally in the evening, so you can keep your day job while you’re in school. However, I have yet to hear of a single program that is in any language other than Spanish!
Learning new things
Buenos Aires has a world of opportunity when it comes to learning new things: art classes, dances classes, business conferences, educational seminars, bartending courses, political protests, clubs, organizations, events, workshops and more. However, the large majority of these opportunities are in Spanish, so if you want to take advantage, you’ll need to learn the language. Last year I started attending a Filetado course, and I’m planning to sign up for a wine course and singing lessons this year, all opportunities that wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t speak Spanish.
Enjoying local culture
Buenos Aires has a wonderful theater district, with a variety of plays and productions to enjoy, and even great stand-up comedy. Argentina also has a well-known and vibrant film industry. However, if you want to enjoy BA’s local film and theater productions, you need to be fluent in the local language! Obviously there won’t be any English subtitles at the movie theater…
Understanding the Argentine personality
There are many things about Argentines that can be learned from their language. Their strong Italian roots, for example, are reflected in the sheer volume of Italian words they use and their many body gestures. You begin to understand the dichotomy of their interest / lack of interest in politics by listening to them debating with each other, and their somewhat ironic sense of humor also explains a lot about who they are.
Integrating and making local friends
There are definitely Argentines that speak English, so I’m not saying that not speaking Spanish means you can’t make local friends, but it will isolate you from integrating into a social group or family. Keeping up with the conversation, understanding jokes, showing your personality and sharing your opinions are all fundamental parts of integrating into any social group, so doing so here would certainly improve your quality of life.