Living in Buenos Aires: In Conversation with Sarah Dunn
Interested in living in Buenos Aires? Sarah Dunn shares the highlights and challenges, as well as her tips for an amazing experience abroad.
Tell us about yourself! What do you do when you’re not traveling the world? Where are you from? Where do you currently live?
When I’m not traveling the world, I’m planning my next escape or viewing my hometown through a traveler’s eyes. I currently live just outside one of the most beautiful cities in the world: San Francisco. On my days off, you’ll find me hiking Mt. Tamalpais, romping through Golden Gate Park, or sun bathing at Muir Beach. I like staying active, reading and meeting new people.
What made you decide to move abroad? How long did you live there for? Tell us about how you spent your time in your new destination — whether you worked, studied, traveled, or did something else.
I moved abroad right after graduating college because it seemed like the best idea at the time. Why not? I asked myself. Many of my friends were still in college and I wasn’t ready for the “real world” just yet, so it seemed like the perfect transitionary experience. I spent six months in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I studied Spanish at a local language school and volunteered in a hospice.
What were some of the biggest challenges you experienced while living abroad? What were some of the greatest highlights?
The biggest initial challenge I experienced in moving abroad was getting over a breakup. Looking back I recognize that my new environment probably helped me get over the heartbreak faster, so I’m thankful for that.
I also had to put myself out there and make friends. Many of the people I was in language school with were with were on university-organized study abroad programs, so they had built in friends from the start.
I was there alone so I didn’t have that advantage. I remember hearing that one guy was in the same boat, so we naturally gravitated towards each other and he asked me if I wanted to go on adventures. We walked about ten miles across the city the first day and have been friends ever since.
The two biggest highlights of the trip were the friends that I made and volunteering at the hospice. Those friends will be in my life forever. The bond you have with someone from traveling and living in a new city will never be broken.
Working at the hospice was super depressing, but it also made me appreciate my life much more. It feels great to contribute to your new community too. You get so much from living abroad, and it’s rewarding to be able to share something with the country that welcomed you in.
What do you wish you knew before you moved?
That you shouldn’t buy a return ticket until you get to the country. You will have more fun than you think, you will make lifelong best friends and you won’t want to leave. Saying goodbye is harder than you might think.
Any favorite restaurants/events/sites that you’d like to recommend? Tell us what made them great!
One of our favorite things to do was visit the sandwich shops behind Puerto Madero. I believe it was called Parilla de Mis Sueños, or Grill of My Dreams. We’d grab sandwiches, swing by the corner store to buy beer, and go sit by the dock to people watch. I felt like I could’ve spent every afternoon doing that.
I made sure to visit as many local street fairs as possible. I loved admiring the work by local artists, eating delicious street food, and sitting in the sun. Take a day trip to the town of Tigre and take a boat tour when you get there!
Visit Iguazu Falls. Listen to your favorite soundtrack though your headphones and just take in how amazing this world is.
Go to Carnival. Seriously. Don’t miss it. It will be the best weekend of your life.
Living in Buenos Aires: The Real Deal with Sarah Dunn
Are there any tips you’d give someone else considering a similar move?
Be as open to new experiences as possible. Say “yes” to new people, places, and adventures. You will regret the chances you didn’t take!
Is there anything that women specifically should know before they move to your destination?
Men will catcall at you. It can be annoying and feel intrusive at first, but it’s their way of saying hi to a beautiful woman. When you return home to the US, you might feel like you’re no longer beautiful because men are no longer catcalling at you. But don’t worry– you are beautiful!
Check out Sarah’s podcast, We Live Limitless here. Living in Buenos Aires: The Real Deal with Sarah Dunn by Unsplash.