Don Williams said…
Ferfal, this is a question so you may not want to post it.
(By the way, do you ever have a Open Thread? I.e,,where you ask for questions and people submit them as comments? It seems rude to insert a question about an unrelated subject into the middle of an ongoing discussion like this. I wasn’t sure how you wanted questions to be submitted.)
Anyway, some friends of mine have talked about people they know relocating to Costa Rica as expatriates for retirement . Seems relatively safe, nice scenery and money goes farther.
If someone ever considered relocating to Argentina from the USA , what would you advise? Is it very important to learn Spanish well before moving or can one get by with tourist Spanish phrases and English until one learns the language?
Are there unconscious personal habits or manners which Americans have that offend people in Argentina? Taboos or customs we unwitting violate?
There are bad-mannered people everywhere, but I’m taking about offenses that even a well-intentioned expatriate is likely to make.
I understand that the Catholic Church is far more widespread in Argentina than here in America — so American Protestants should, I assume, avoid religious discussions.
Argentine people are usually very friendly towards tourists.
There’s a growing anti-American propaganda being spread by our petty government since we felt to unquestionable 3rd would status with the K regime (“K”, that’s the way the Kirchenr family refers to itself, as surreal as it may sound we even have “K Youth” …. Yes… comparisons with other extremist “xx youths”.. lets better talk about something else)
Anyway, as I was saying, the K regime is pretty close to Castro, Chaves, Evo Morales and some other wonderful human beings, so they outspokenly promote hatred towards Americans and the American culture in general.
But remember what I said about the slow slide, and about Argentina once being a rather prosperous nation? Well, it’s true.
And there’s still some of that cosmopolite attitude left. The hatred hasn’t settled yet. Maybe the next generation will be brainwashed by the K, if they manage to stay in power that long.
But for now the people of Argentina openly welcome tourists, specially those from 1st world countries.
People coming here from other 3rd world countries are sometimes less welcomed, given the already high unemployment rate.
There’s not much you should worry about, other than the things I often talk about regarding security.
If you make the mistake of going into a wrong part of town, understand its different from American bad neighborhood. Go into Villa 31 by mistake for example and they’ll swarm like rats from the building to rob you. You have to be more careful generally speaking, for obvious reasons.
If you come here I’d make sure to research very well the location you plan to live in.
If you choose well, you’ll have a good time. It’s common for people to come live here for a while and end up getting married.
There’s no weird cultural difference that may sound offensive. Pretty ordinary people, Catholic but not in any way extreme regarding religion.
Most of us are baptized, and when old enough get basic catholic education and “communion”, which is a religious ceremony where you willingly adopt the Catholic religion.
Just being polite and nice like you’d do in USA is good enough.
The only thing I can think of that is kind of different is the way people say hello and greet one another.
Handshakes are ok for people you really don’t know at all, but among people you trust or show a bit of appreciation for you kiss them on the cheek. Not really kiss, but like brush the cheeks and kind of kiss the air. Sounds complicated to explain, but its the most common way of greeting around here.
Even among guys, refusing to kiss someone that you pretend to be friends with or even just get along, that’s the way you should greet one another.
Handshakes are mostly considered very formal, reserved for business encounters.
Most of the time if it someone you don’t know and don’t want to know either, a simple “hi” (hola) with no contact of any kind if preferred.
I can’t think of anything that might be considered taboo.
Maybe other Argentines or people that have been here can think of something else.
But first come visit and take a look.
I’ll show you around a bit if you want, serious.