Argentina is losing its expat allure. At least if you believe the latest survey by InterNations, an organization that seeks to help expats around the world adjust to living abroad, that ranked Argentina 54th out of a total of 67 countries. That marks an 11-point drop from last year. Let that sink in for a moment. It means that, according to the InterNations survey, in which 14,272 expatriates took part, Argentina is among THE WORST countries to be a foreigner — worse than Peru and almost as bad as Kazakhstan.
On the bright side, Argentina placed high on the list of friendliest countries, and at #7 for the easiest places to make friends, according to the full profile of the country. (As someone who has gone into the restroom to emerge a half hour later with three new Facebook friends, who in turn have gone on to introduce me to their Argentine friends who are all named Santiago I must agree with this).
The indices where Argentina does worst in are the Working Abroad Index and the Personal Finance Index, where it ranks 62nd and 63rd, respectively, out of 67 countries.
Argentina also fared quite poorly in categories such as safety and political stability, with one in three expats saying that they did not feel safe and were not happy with the country’s “unstable political climate”. (What, you don’t enjoy waking up to a news headline about some ex-government official trying to bury US$9 million in a convent that wasn’t actually a convent, assisted by some nuns who weren’t actually nuns and who then told the media that the voices in his head made him do it? How boring.)
The study also features several subcategories with Argentina popping up all over the rankings. As an expat in Buenos Aires, I couldn’t help but look at each of the different subcategories to see if I agreed with the overall diagnosis.
There were five subcategories. Argentina landed in the top 10 for leisure opportunities (no surprise there, as in a regular week I am usually invited to a minimum of 3-4 carbonara dinner parties/mate circles/church raves/ art openings). Having a plethora of leisure options never seems to be an issue at least here in the City of Buenos Aires.
Argentina landed at a mediocre 25th in the rankings of “Personal Happiness”. (Guess all the visits to the shrink’s couch are no match to the frustrations of bureaucracy?)
Argentina got clobbered in at 39th for “transport and travel.” Sure, the subte gets packed and the buses are a bit old, but is it really so much worse than so many other countries? We also placed #22 in Health and Well-Being (Hey, don’t blame others if you can’t contain yourself from scarfing down the empanadas and medialunas! And, hey, if you want to be healthy there’s tons of green spaces to get your running on plus the City of Buenos Aires government lends you bikes.)
We fell in at a miserable 58 in the category of “safety and security.” Yes, I’ve been robbed in my three months here. No, I don’t know that many people (foreign or local) who haven’t also been robbed, and as a five-foot tall female, I would say I’m more vulnerable than the average person. But do I feel daily that my safety is being challenged or that I’m living in an especially violent country? No, but apparently most expats disagree.
That’s fine, we won’t get offended. Go ahead, expats, go to Taiwan instead of Argentina. Maybe we’ve been brainwashed by secretly vile porteños, and overdosed on steak and mate a few too many times, but we humbly submit that this study is nothing short of a chantada.