From my own perspective, an American that has been living in Buenos Aires for the past 6 years, as well as the opinions of the 27 Americans I interviewed for my master’s thesis on Americans living in Buenos Aires. P.S. Check out my top 10 worst things here
According to the 27 Americans living in Buenos Aires that I interviewed, it’s hard making porteño friends. In fact, most have very few (if any!). Read more about why that is here: BA expat predicament: I have no porteño friends.
The grand majority of the Americans interviewed admitted to having more foreign friends than local ones, and they believe that a large contributing factor to this situation is that there are simply more ways to meet “expats” than there are to meet locals. If you compare this post on meeting locals to my post on the top 5 ways to meet expats in Buenos Aires you’ll notice one glaring factor that makes all the difference: the internet. While this is the preferred method of many for meeting other foreigners in Buenos Aires, very few mentioned this as the way they met their local friends.
So how did they meet their few precious porteño friends? Here are the top 5 ways these Americans made local amigos in Buenos Aires.
Living in Buenos Aires as a “TOURIST”
First of all, a lot (more than half based on my research) of Americans living in Buenos Aires do so under the “tourist” category, meaning that upon entering the country they get a stamp in their passport that allows them to stay in the country for 90 days of “tourism”. However, I discovered that many Americans have been living in Buenos Aires for years as “tourists”. Some of them leave the country every 90 days and then get a new stamp when they re-enter, but most of them tend to “overstay” their 90 days, and pay the $300 peso fine when they do eventually leave the country (many claim it’s cheaper than taking a trip every 3 months).
Why don’t I have any porteño friends? You’re not alone.
During the interviews I conducted for my research on Americans living in Buenos Aires, I asked the participants about their social lives in BA. First of all, while the majority have an Argentine partner, the majority also claimed to have more foreign friends (primarily English-speaking) than local ones.
The Revolving Door of Expat Friends
The good, the bad and the ugly of the transience of the expat communities in global cities.
Most of the participants in my case study of Americans living in Buenos Aires claimed to have more foreign friends than local ones, and in many cases, those friends are English-speaking or American friends. In this context, many commented on the “revolving door” of expat friends in Buenos Aires due to the typically temporary nature of American expatriation to Buenos Aires.
Here are the top ways to meet other expats in Buenos Aires according to 27 Americans living in the city.
The majority of the Americans I interviewed claimed that one of the main ways they meet other foreigners or “expats” in BA is online. Here are just a few of the web links they mentioned:
Detailed instructions for Americans (and those from any other “extra Mercosur” countries) on how to get residency in Argentina. Temporary or permanent.
STEPS: APPLYING FOR RESIDENCY IN ARGENTINA