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Montevideo, May 19th 2024 - 09:14 UTC



South America as an expat destination

Wednesday, May 1st 2024 - 14:25 UTC
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Photo: Unsplash / Mike Swigunski Photo: Unsplash / Mike Swigunski

South America is rising as an expat destination, and for good reason. It’s a part of the world where modern cities coexist with vast rural areas under varied climates, all while having a lower cost of living than what you’ll find in major North American and European cities. In addition to these reasons, let’s take a closer look at exactly why an expat might choose South America as their preferred destination.

Embracing a Fresh Start in South America

There are many reasons why someone might be looking for a fresh start. Consider the example of someone dealing with a broken-down marriage. Not only is there a big emotional component, but they now have to go through a divorce process while potentially selling their house at the same time. This process could drag on for some time and result in a judge handing out Mesher Orders, financial remedy orders, or other things the person likely wasn’t familiar with already. Who could blame someone seeking out a fresh start after going through a stressful situation like that?

For someone facing this kind of scenario or any other life-changing situation, choosing South America as your new home offers many advantages. Unlike more conventional expat destinations, this continent offers a different pace of life, fewer bureaucratic hurdles, and a blend of ancient traditions and modern living that are very different from the typical expat experience.

Countries in this region have a growing amount of opportunities for career advancement and personal growth, too. Chile has a burgeoning FinTech startup scene that’s creating many job openings, while Brazil’s massive agricultural export sector continues to grow. At the same time, Colombia’s tourism industry shows no signs of slowing down, while Argentina’s new president has his sights set on bringing much more foreign investment into the country. It’s a promising time for the region.

Lifestyle and Cultural Integration for Expats

One significant aspect to consider when moving to South America is cultural adaptation. It's not uncommon for Western expats to experience culture shock due to differences in time perception. For example, many South American cultures view time more fluidly than Western societies do. An event that’s scheduled for 7:00 PM might not actually start until much later, so it’s a good idea not to be too rigid when planning things.

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Photo: Unsplash

If you’ve already been an expat, you may have experienced language barriers already, but this is something else to think about. Depending on the country, there might be only 5-15% of the population who speak English, so trying to master your Spanish-speaking skills should be one of your top priorities. Consider joining language exchange events and networking with other expats, as these are both good ways to speed up the cultural integration process.

Many people considering an expat life overlook South America, but there’s no doubt that this will change. As awareness grows about the quality and variety of life that can be had in the region, expats will start to understand that they have more options than they thought.

Tags: lifestyle.

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