Moving to South America – 5 Mistakes People Make & How to Avoid Them

moving to south america - 5 mistakes people make

Moving to South America – Things to Bear in Mind

For those of you interested in moving to South America, it’s worth bearing a few things in mind before making the big leap to make sure that you hit the ground running on arrival. After living in South America for 4 years in 4 different countries, there are certain mistakes that I’ve seen foreigners make over and over again (including myself in some cases), which prevent them from truly making the most out of their experience here or in the worst case, forcing them to give up the dream and go back home. Luckily, all of this can be avoided. Continue reading to see the 5 most common mistakes that foreigners make when first moving to Latin America

1.Wrong Financial Mindset

When it comes to moving to south america or anywhere else abroad for that matter, having the right mindset towards finance is crucial.

Us foreigners can often be too relaxed when it comes to money matters, and I’ve seen the following situation play out a few times:

You come to South America with some savings and with the expectation that things will just fall into place when you get there. Carried away by the excitement of being in a new exotic environment and beghasted with the lower prices, you make the most out of all opportunities to socialize, splash out on food, and try out as many new activities as possible. This near “Holiday Mindset” may be great fun for the first month or two, but if you’re not careful, you may find yourself penniless and jobless after the first few months, limiting your options and in the worst case scenario, causing you to have to ditch the dream of moving to South America.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are the hardcore savers, who are determined to keep their bank balance topped up at the expense of actually going out and exploring, having fun and immersing themselves in the culture.

Unsurprisingly, the key to this is balance – exploring as much as possible whilst having a sense of urgency when it comes to finding ways to support yourself financially once your savings run out.  

When it comes to actual figures, from my experience it’s worth having enough savings to survive for at least 9 months in your chosen destination. Now this may seem like a lot, but as you likely know, the cost of living in south america is lower,  meaning that you’ll likely be able to scrape by on less than $1000 per month in most parts of Latin America, and live well for less than $1500.

Having some capital behind you when first living in Latin America will not only put your mind at ease, but will also to allow you to have flexibility with testing out different locations to live in and different types of work, preventing you from being tied to some crappy job just because it’s the only option that allows you to make enough to survive.  

cost of living in south america - financial mistakes to avoid

2. Relaxed Attitude Towards Work

Another common mistake when moving to South America that I also made when living in Rio de Janeiro, is being too relaxed when it comes to looking for work. Due to the language barrier, lower pay and visa obstacles, finding a job in Latin America can be tough and requires determination and effort to find something that you actually find fulfilling. .

The two most common paths that foreigners tend to take when living in Latin America is either to work at a hostel or teach English. These are great short term options to help get you on your feet and to help resolve the issues mentioned in the section above, but from my personal experience, they aren’t particularly satisfying in the long run. Unless you’re very passionate about the prospect to teach English in Latin America or about hostel work, then it’s best to avoid working in these areas for more than a few months. Finding work in Latin America can be tough, but is fundamental for thriving medium and long term.

3. Underestimating the Visa Obstacles

Just before living in Chile a few years back, I remember my Dad asking me if I’d figured out how I would get a visa. Being used to having the right to work anywhere in the EU, I casually brushed off the question as if permanent residence would just fall into my lap as I got off the plane. I can now rightly say that this was naive and reckless thinking. Although far from impossible, getting a visa to live in any Latin American country can not only be complicated, owing to bureaucratic factors, but downright confusing and frustrating. That being said, you shouldn’t let this put you off and getting it sorted eventually makes moving to South America it all the more rewarding.

expect plenty of paper work

4. Negative Attitude towards Language Learning

The benefits of learning Spanish or Portuguese (in the case of Brazil) when moving to South America are immense, and learning languages is unfortunately another area where foreigners often make mistakes and excuses.  

Firstly, there’s the complacency mindset. Countless times I’ve heard foreigners telling me that the best way to learn Spanish quickly for them is to just go to the country of choice and pick it up “naturally” only to find themselves a year down the line unable to have a decent conversation.

Surrounding yourself with native speakers is undoubtedly a great catalyst for language learning, but it it’s not enough by itself. There are several reasons why people don’t get fluent in Spanish or Portuguese, and luckily there are enjoyable ways to do this that don’t require hours on end of sitting in a classroom whilst it’s hot and sunny outside.  

Another toxic mindset that people have  when it comes to language learning is that there’s actually no point in learning Spanish or Portuguese as English is considered the global language. Whilst you’ll undoubtedly find people who will be eager to practice their English with you, you’ll essentially be a like a child, unable to navigate through the world on a daily basis without having someone to hold your hand.

By learning Spanish or Portuguese when moving to Latin America, you’re opening the door up to a limitless opportunities.  

5. Indifference towards Integration

Integrating and adapting to a new culture can be very intimidating, and can be a tough and  alienating experience. When I first started living in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, I was terrified, as I had no idea of what to expect and was overcome with fears of not fitting in and not being able to get by socially.

In this kind of situation, the easiest thing to do is to fall into an expat bubble, as it kind of acts as a halfway house between moving to a new culture and being at home. Whilst I strongly recommend creating ties with other expats and foreigners, you’ll find that you never actually properly integrate and feel part of the culture or country if you make it your only option.

In order to push through this, it’s vital to have an open mind and a strong will to get out your comfort zone. Try out new activities, do things that intimidate you or that you never thought of doing before and always say yes to invitations to meet new contacts.

Summary

Moving to Latin America was one of the best decisions of my life, but was one that wasn’t easy by any means and it took me a good while to find my feet. Luckily, you can avoid much of what I went through by avoiding the 5 mistakes in the article above.

If you’re considering moving out here, or have already made the move, feel free to drop my an email with  any further questions or doubts.

Please let me know in the comments section which point most resonated with you or whether I missed something.

Living in Belo Horizonte – The Complete Guide 2019

Living in Belo Horizonte – Moving to Brazil

Living in Belo Horizonte

There’s fairly good chance that you’ve never heard of Belo Horizonte or even know which country it is in. BH is widely considered as Brazil’s third biggest city after Rio and São Paulo and is located in Minas Gerais, located further inland from Rio and above the state of São Paulo. Belo Horizonte is one of Brazil’s best kept secrets, precisely due to the fact that it’s off the radar for most people thinking about living in Brazil.

Thoughts of Living in Belo Horizonte

Whilst I was having a great time travelling around Latin America for months and living in Rio de Janeiro, I couldn’t help but feeling that something was missing. Living and staying in hostels and going to popular backpacking destinations was good fun, but i found myself having the same experiences over and over again and spending much less time with locals than i’d initially hoped for. In many ways it felt that i was observing and watching the culture and life in brazil as it were a part of some TV show, rather than actually being a part of it.

After coming to realise this, I decided that it was time for a new challenge – moving to a relatively unheard-of city and throwing myself in the deep-end. Belo Horizonte sounded like a good choice, but the prospect of moving there was daunting and felt deeply outside of my comfort zone. Looking back, living in Belo Horizonte was a true adventure. I was thrown into a place where i had no choice but to reach a level of fluency in the portuguese language and start my social and professional life from scratch.

The Medellin of Brazil

If there’s one place that i would compare Belo Horizonte to, it would be Medellin. With friendly people, great night life, a pleasant climate and more of a small town vibe, Belo Horizonte is in many ways Brazil’s Medellin, but with one key difference – far less foreigners.

Whilst Medellin has become one of the key destinations in Latin America for backpackers i can’t help but feeling that the city has lost much of its original charm and authenticity, whilst Belo Horizonte, on the other hand, is still right off the beaten track, allowing for a stimulating and original experience for those choosing Belo Horizonte as their city when moving to Brazil.

Where to Live

Savassi, Funcionarios/Lourdes

The best places to live are located within the confines of the Avenida de Contorno, a ring road that circles around the central area of the city. Within this area or very close by you’ll have access to the best nightlife spots and commercial areas.

Inside of Av de Contorno, Savassi and Lourdes were my favourite spots, due to their location and atmosphere. The caveat is that these areas can be more on the pricey side..

Santo Antônio/São Pedro/Cruzeiro

Located on the outside southern edge of the Avenida de Contorno, these three neighbourhoods are perfect if you’re looking for a more residential and tranquil area whilst still being right next to the central areas of Savassi and Lourdes. The tree lined and hilly streets make it a very pleasant area to live in (if you don’t mind walking uphill) and rental prices can be significantly cheaper than in Savassi.

Pampulha

Due to its distance from the rest of the city (around 30 minutes driving) i only ended up going to Pampulha only once during my stay in the city, but regret doing so. The area’s natural beauty makes up for its distance and is home to the “Lagoa da Pampulha” a giant lake surrounded by colonial houses and forest, which makes it a nice change from the dense areas of high rises in the central area. Pampulha also has its own nightlife scene on Avenida Fleming and is right next to the UFMG, one of the main universities in the city.

Life in Brazil - Pampulha, Belo Horizonte
Life in Brazil – Pampulha, Belo Horizonte

Safety & Security

Compared to Rio de janeiro, Belo Horizonte is relatively safe and is comparable to São Paulo in the sense that violence tends to be focused in the favelas and the periphery of the city. Whilst it’s wise to be streetwise and to exercise caution (as in any Latin American city), the safety and security should definitely not put you off from coming here. As in most Brazilian cities, “Centro” can also be sketchy, and is worth avoiding after commercial hours.

Weather

Compared to Northern Europe, the weather is fantastic in Belo Horizonte, with around 2500 sunshine hours per year. Cloudy days are a fairly regular occurrence, but you’ll never have to wait too long to see the sun. As in the rest of south-eastern Brazil, rainfall is also abundant, particularly between October and March. The temperature never really gets above 33 degrees or below 10, making Belo Horizonte very pleasant in terms of climate when living in Brazil.

Cost of Living

Living in Belo Horizonte is a fair amount cheaper than living in São Paulo or Rio, and therefore makes a good spot to have a decent life in brazil at a low price. To get an idea of everyday costs, check out this article.  

Praça do Papa - Living in Brazil

The 4 Key Ways to Thriving in Belo Horizonte

Economically

As in the rest of Brazil, finding a job in Brazil is no easy task, primarily due to Visa Restrictions,  whilst longer hours and lower wages than Europe can be disheartening. That being said, finding work is possible (if you speak Portuguese), and outside of São Paulo, Belo Horizonte is one of your best bets for getting a job. The city also has a thriving Start-Up scene called São Pedro valley, and as foreigner who speaks both Portuguese and English, you should have a competitive advantage due to the fact that there are few expats living in Belo Horizonte. As in the rest of Latin America, Networking is vital, meaning that your best bet is inserting yourself into the community and building contacts.

As a Brit, Australian or american living in Belo Horizonte, working in a hostel and teaching english are always options, but in my opinion aren’t really long term solutions to thriving when living in Belo Horizonte. In you’re interesting in hearing about other ways to thrive economically in Brazil, feel free to drop me an email.

Bureaucratically

To cut to the point, dealing with Visas or opening a bank account in Brazil is a nightmare, and Belo Horizonte is no exception.

Socially

If you’ve wondered where the city in the world is with the friendliest people is, then look no further, as Belo Horizonte is a serious contender. People will break their backs here to help you out and make you feel at home, and a lot of the time all it takes is striking up a basic small-talk conversation to become friends with someone. As a bonus, you’ll likely spark curiosity amongst the locals due to the lack of foreigners in the city. Despite its size of 5 million people, living in Belo Horizonte has more of small-town feel, meaning that most people tend to have well-established and close knitted social circles. Despite this, you’ll find that a lot of people will happily let you join in.

As a European or American living in Belo Horizonte, It goes without saying that one of the keys of establishing a strong social circle is through the Portuguese Language, which brings us up to our next point.

Moving to Brazil - Belo Horizonte at Night

Linguistically

If you are think about living in Belo Horizonte and don’t have any plans to learn Portuguese, then exit this page right now and don’t even bother thinking about living in Brazil. Whilst you’ll find some people who speak english well (although you’ll have to look hard) I would compare coming to Belo Horizonte and learning Portuguese to seeing someone else having a trip of their lifetime via their instagram story as oppose to experiencing this for yourself.

However, learning Portuguese is easier said than done, and it’s no secret that some people struggle with language learning more than others. Whilst most people will be afraid to admit it to others, learning a language is often an extremely daunting process and getting over mental blockages is a large part of the process (something they don’t teach you at most language schools.) However, with the right mindset, you’ll not only be able to speak Portuguese fluently in a relatively short amount of time but will massively stand out from most expats living in Belo Horizonte or elsewhere in Latin America. For more guides on Tips for Learning Portuguese, check out these posts.

Nightlife

The nightlife in Belo Horizonte is one of the best in Brazil, and there are several different Spots

Savassi/Lourdes

A great spot to go for a bottle of Original and to have an espetinho after work, Savassi is home to hundreds of botecos where people will sit outside until the wee hours of the morning. Lourdes takes it a step further, with its more upscale vibe. Top picks – Cipriano and Laicos.

Cruzeiro

Centered around the Street Rua Pium-í, Cruzeiro is a great spot on a Friday or Saturday if you’re living in Belo Horizonte, with Bars lining the hilly street right until the bottom. Top pick – Muu Bar

Buritis

Located around 15 mins drive to the south of Avenida Contorno, Buritis is a middle class neighbourhood located on nearer to the outskirts of the city. It’s also home to some of the best bars and clubs. Top picks – Like bar, Bebs Raja and Chalezinho.

The Verdict

Living in Belo Horizonte is a true adventure and could be a great spot for you if you’re looking for something different from the status quo or wanting to completely immerse yourself in Brazilian Culture. However, making a big move to such a far-flung destination isn’t exactly easy, so feel free to get in touch with me with any tips or further questions if you’re thinking of moving to Brazil.


Living in Chile – The Ultimate Guide to Santiago – 2019

Living in Chile – Santiago

Living in Chile – Santiago is an intriguing destination for many of us from Europe or North America and Europe for several reasons. Firstly, its isolation from the rest of the world and position between the towering Andes and the pacific coast make it for a spectacular setting. Moreover, when compared to its neighbours, Chile stands out due its economic stability, job opportunities, high level of development and security. When taking these factors into account, it comes as no surprise that moving to Chile may seem like a sensible choice if you’re thinking of the best places to live in south america.

Santiago – Thoughts of Living in Chile

If there was one thing that shocked me about moving to Chile, it was how different the country is compared to the rest of Latin America. It’s hard to describe in words, but Chile seems to lack that “Latin Feel” in countries such as Colombia, Brazil and Mexico and even feels surprisingly different to Argentina, a country with which it shares a border of 3,000 miles.

Living in Chile could be a great option if you’re looking for more of a Western European lifestyle in Latin America. Public services are better, job opportunities are more plentiful, and problems such as crime and corruption are much less of an issue than on the rest of the continent. Add to this Santiago’s proximity to spectacular nature (some of the best in the world), beaches and ski-resorts then you’re looking at a solid destination.

I, on the other hand, decided that life in chile wasn’t for me. Whilst there were things that i liked, i found the city slightly soulless and lacking that spontaneous, care-free latin feel that i fell in love with when I first moved to Mexico. Whilst Mexico and countries such as Brazil and Colombia clearly aren’t perfect, they exude exoticness, colour, a casual vibe and a sense of freedom that can’t be found in many places in the West. Whilst Chile isn’t devoid of these characteristic by any means, i found to be more organized, orderly and its people to be more reserved, meaning that i personally felt out of place. That being said, each man to their own, and moving to chile might just be the right place for you to move to.

Moving to Chile – Where to Live in Santiago

Bellavista

Bellavista is wedged between the centre of Santiago and the more upscale neighbourhoods of Providencia, Las Condes and Vitacura to the East. Its central location means that it has become the main tourist hub and is home to one of the city’s main nightlife areas (similar to Lapa in Rio de Janeiro or Rua Augusta in São Paulo.) Bella Vista is a fun spot where things are happening at night, and is surprisingly tranquil during the daytime.

Providencia/Barrio Italia

To the the east of Bellavista on the other side of the Mapocho River, Providencia is a great area to base yourself. It’s a pleasant residential are with tree lined streets and a calmer vibe whilst still being close to the action, making it a great spot for first timers and for those who want a balance of everything.

Vitacura/Las Condes

Las Condes is a clean, safe spot in the financial district of the city with more of an americanized feel and home to several upscale restaurants and nightlife options. Vitacura is similar but with more of a residential vibe. Downsides are further distances from the centre of Santiago.

Living in Chile – Safety & Security

How Safe is Chile? This is a question that many of you are probably wondering due to the notorious reputation Latin America has for Crime and Corruption. Compared to cities such as Rio de Janeiro, La Paz or Lima, Santiago is very safe, and i even felt more at ease here than in European cities such as Paris or Berlin. That being said, it’s worth having some common sense and avoiding certain areas of the city. Plaza de Armas is worth avoiding after commercial hours, and Bellavista can be a bit sketchy during the early hours of the morning, especially towards the Recoleta Area.

Weather

I wasn’t impressed in the slightest with the weather in Santiago when first moving to Chile. It was 5 degrees celsius (at night) and the skies were overcast during the daytime, not exactly being what i was hoping for after just having left northern England. Luckily, the clouds gave away to abundant sunshine and it probably only rained around 5 times during the whole 4 months that i was there. Besides this colder, greyer spell in the winter months of June-August, you’ll find that sunshine is plentiful. On the downside, smog levels can get pretty bad, often limiting visibility and may sometimes get to levels where they have an impact on breathing.

Nnightlife in Bellavista

Cost of Living in Santiago

Compared to the rest of Latin America, living in Chile is very expensive, with prices nearly being on a par with many areas of Europe, and is slightly more expensive than living in Buenos Aires. To get a clearer idea of day to day costs – take a look at this article. That being said, salaries are much higher than in other Latin American countries

Meeting People/Nightlife – Life in Chile

One of the 4 keys to thriving in Latin America is being able to succeed socially and although this is undoubtedly possible in Santiago, I found that people weren’t as open when compared to other Latin America cities that i’ve lived in, such as São Paulo and Buenos Aires. From my experience, Chileans were shyer and harder to engage in conversation than Argentines or Brazilians and on they surface, they may not seem as open to foreigners on surfn the surface they might not seem as curious about foreigners However, this was from my personally experience, and would be interested to see in the comments section if anyone else has a different opinion.

Another barrier when it comes to meeting people is the language, as Chilean Spanish is surprisingly difficult to understand compared to other South American Dialects. To put this into context, one night i was out with an Argentine friend who was nearly as confused as i was when it came to understanding a group of locals from Santiago. This may sound disheartening, but it shouldn’t deter you from moving to Chile if you think that it could be the right fit for you, as learning Chilean Spanish is 100% possible.

In terms of the Nightlife, Santiago is a pretty good spot with the main areas being Bellavista, Las Condes and Vitacura. This article should point you in the right direction if you’re new to the scene.

Finding Work

When it comes to finding work in Latin America, Chile is one of your best options. Pay is much better than in rest of the continent and you’ll find that Visa requirements don’t tend to be as stringent. If you’re interested in finding out more about finding work in chile, then take a look at this article.

Along with building your social circle, forging a fulfilling professional life is one of the keys to making the most out of living in Chile, and it’s important to dig deep into potential options for your situation. If you’re looking for some guidance on this, feel free to shoot me an email at linguistlifestyle@gmail.com

The Verdict

Whilst i enjoyed my stay in Santiago, i decided that it wasn’t one of the best places to live in South America in my case, primarily due to the lack of that “Latin Feel” that i fell in love with when i first arrived in this part of the world. That being said, it’s a city that i would definitely like to go back and visit, and I found Chile to be spectacular in terms of adventure travel and nature.

But you never know, Chile could be the perfect place for you and the only way to really find this out is by getting yourself out there. Most likely, you’re not in a position where you can just drop everything and do this, so if you’re to know more about living in Santiago and have any further questions or doubts, then please send me an email at linguistlifestyle@gmail.com

Living in Buenos Aires as a Westerner – The Ultimate 2019 Guide

Living in Buenos Aires – 2019

Living in Buenos Aires 2018

Living in Buenos Aires 2018

For people who are interested in moving to somewhere in South America, you’ve likely considered living in Buenos Aires as a top choice, and there’s good reason for it. Buenos Aires is well up there on my favourite cities to live in Latin America but as with everywhere, you have to figure out if moving to argentina is right for you.

Why i Like Living in Buenos Aires.

When it comes to moving to Argentina, Buenos Aires is a top choice for several reasons. Incredible meat, friendly people and great climate are just a few of the reasons. One of the things i love about this city is that whilst its not as chaotic as living in Rio de Janeiro or Mexico City, it still manages to retain a spontaneous & carefree vibe whilst giving you a sense of freedom that doesn’t seem to be in the air of Western cities such as London. It’s a bustling metropolis with a European appearance but with a heavy dose of Latin Culture splashed in, making it a city no like any other.

Living in Buenos Aires – Where to Base Yourself

Palermo – Being the go-to place for westerners both travelling and living in Buenos Aires, Palermo is a great spot. With lots of parks, hip cafes, bars and night clubs, Palermo is a cracking spot if you’re looking to be in heart of the nightlife and want to be in a place where it’s not too difficult to meet other expats in argentina. On the downside, it’s further than the centre of Buenos Aires than you’d like it to be and expect “gringo” prices.

Recoleta – Similar to Palermo but with a more elegant vibe, Recoleta is a great spot. Whilst not as lively as Palermo, you’ll still be spoiled for options when it comes to restaurants, parks and cafes and are perfectly placed between the central areas of Puerto Madero/Avenida de Mayo and Palermo.

Belgrano – An area often overlooked by foreigners, Belgrano is an upscale neighbourhood on the other side of Palermo, with a slightly more residential and modern vibe than Palermo. Belgrano is a perfect place for those wanting to get away from “touristy” areas and who want to be in a place where things are happening but where you can also unplug from the hustle and bustle.

Avenida de Mayo/Microcentro – Being right in the middle of the action, Microcentro is great for those who embrace chaos and want to be near the main cultural attractions of the city. However, i found that can get a little overbearing after a while, especially due to the constant protests.

Belgrano, Buenos Aires - Moving to Argentina

Safety and Security

Despite crime getting slightly worse over the last few years, Buenos Aires is a safe city on Latin American standards and it isn’t something that should dissuade you from moving to Argentina. That being said, it’s important to keep your wits about as there are plenty of opportunists around looking for naive gringos to rip off or rob. Avoid the “villas”, do your best to blend into the culture, learn the language and follow the locals’ advice and you shouldn’t have any problems.

Meeting People

Making friends who speak an entirely different language to you may seem like a daunting prospect when moving to Argentina, but it shouldn’t be. Despite having a reputation as being arrogant and snobbish, I found Porteños (residents of Buenos Aires) to be friendly, chatty and curious about foreigners, meaning that if you put the effort in, making friends shouldn’t be a challenge. That be said, don’t expect people to be pining for you just because you’re foreign.

Although it couldn’t be any more obvious, learning Spanish is by far the most important factor when it comes to thriving in Buenos Aires on all levels.

Weather

Although Buenos Aires does experience seasonality, it isn’t as far South as people may think (34 degrees South) which would be the equivalent to California on Northern Hemisphere terms meaning that the weather doesn’t get too extreme. Winter’s aren’t freezing, but nighttime temperatures can get below 5 degrees celsius at times and may feel colder due to not being as geared up for the cold as many parts of Europe and North America. Spring and Autumn are a mixture of sunshine and rain with daytime temperatures typically between 18 and 25 degrees, and Summer’s are usually hot, sunny and muggy. There are plenty of sunny days in Buenos Aires, although good weather isn’t guaranteed outside of Summertime.

Life in Argentina - Summer in Plaza de Mayo

Cost of Living in Buenos Aires

This is a tricky one to measure, due to the fact that the Argentine Peso is up and down like a yo-yo, and reached its weakest ever value in 2018. This might seem like good news for those of you whose savings are in euros, pounds or dollars, but prices tend to match adjust to the currency fluctuations and inflation, meaning that life in argentina isn’t as cheap as you expect.

That being said, living in Buenos Aires is quite a bit cheaper than the USA or Western Europe but isn’t as cheap as many countries further north such as Colombia and Mexico, and is slightly more than living in brazilian cities such as São Paulo or Belo Horizonte. It is, however, cheaper than living in Santiago, Chile.

Finding Work in Buenos Aires

Argentina had one of the world’s worst performing economies in 2018, which has culminated in the IMF having to bail the country out (again.) As you can expect, landing a job when living in Buenos Aires is no easy task, and will 10 times harder if you don’t speak Spanish. Visas are problematic, although not as much in countries such as Brazil. Working in a hostel or as an English Teacher are good options for those of you finding your feet, but aren’t really the best long term careers prospects if you’re looking to make the best out of life in argentina (in my opinion.)

Nightlife

Nightlife in Buenos Aires is world class, especially if you’re a fan of house music (like me.) During the week it’s quite steady, although you’ll find parties that cater to backpackers, and international students. Weekends are booming. For more information on a guide to Nightlife, take a look at this guide.

Verdict

Writing this article brings up many feelings of nostalgia for this incredible city, and is definitely somewhere I plan to spend a lot more time in. For those of you looking for a crazy latin experience, then maybe living in Buenos Aires or moving to argentina isn’t the best option for you, but if you’re searching for a place that allows the best of both Latin America and Europe, then Buenos Aires might just be the place for you.

If you still have some doubts or would like to get personal advice on your situation or about life in argentina as an expat, feel free to drop me an email at linguistlifestyle@gmail.com

Living in Brazil – The Complete Guide to São Paulo – 2019

Living in Brazil – São Paulo

900px-São_Paulo_city_(Bela_Vista)

Living in Brazil – Is São Paulo a good option? Upon first glance, São Paulo is an eyesore, and from what you’ve heard back home, it seems like it’s got nothing going for it. Images of violent crime, pollution, high-rise buildings as far as the eye can see as well as lack of nature and beaches don’t make it a top candidate on many expats list of best places to live in brazil. So is it just a concrete jungle where people go to experience the “rat race” lifestyle or is it worth considering when moving to Brazil? 

Life in Brazil –  São Paulo – My Experience after 1 Year

After getting set on moving to Brazil, there was one place where I vowed that i would never move to – São Paulo. It just seemed so unattractive, dull and unexotic. However, after living in Brazil for nearly 2 years, there’s honestly no other place i would rather live.

São Paulo – Best Places to Live in Brazil

Most likely to its perceived “ugliness”, São Paulo isn’t a city that receives many foreigners for its size, meaning that it has still managed to maintain a very authentic vibe and hasn’t become “internationalized.” Whilst I feel that some European Cities such as Prague, Berlin and Barcelona have become so international that they have lost much of their authenticity, you’ll find that São Paulo is 100% Brazil, but just ramped up on steroids.

Living in São Paulo is the perfect choice if you have a “work hard, play hard” mentality, and if you’re looking to set up a business and surround yourself with entrepreneurs, then São Paulo is the go to place. But it’s not all about business – the nightlife is arguably the best in Latin America (only that of Buenos Aires can rival it), the food is phenomenal and the people are great fun. Something indescribable about the city is the raw energy and intensity that you feel when you come here, and because of it you’ll find the city surprisingly addictive, as you know that they’ll always be some new experience just waiting around the corner. If you don’t believe me, come and stay here for a month and see for yourself.

Here is your guide to everything you need to know to about São Paulo if you if you’re trying to figure out the best place for you when it comes to living in brazil.

Living in Sao Paulo – Where?

Jardins – A nice, upscale and leafy neighbourhood located right next to the central hub of Avenida Paulista, Jardins is a great choice for anyone moving to São Paulo and is looking to be right next to where things are happening, whilst not feelings overwhelmed by noise, traffic and chaos.

jardins-sao-paulo-LFSAOPAULO0817

Bela Vista – Similar to Jardins but with an edgier vibe, Bela Vista offers many nice apartments at a lower price than Jardins, and is just on the other side of Avenida Paulista.

Vila Madalena/Pinheiros – Vila Madalena and Pinheiros are two trendy neighbourhoods around 15 mins away from Avenida Paulista by bus or metro and are right in the centre of two of São Paulo’s best nightlife spots.

Vila Olímpia/Moema/Itaim Bibi – These areas have a similar feel to Barra da Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro with a more “americanized” vibe. Here you’re right in the centre of the best night clubs, bars and shopping centres.

Vila Mariana/Aclimação – Nice and chilled out residential neighbourhood located south-east of Avenida Paulista with lots of trees and greenspace.

Higienópolis – Similar to Vila Mariana but located just north of Avenida Paulista

Centro – Expect cheaper prices and a more rough and ready vibe (if that’s your kind of thing)

Life in Brazil – Meeting People in São Paulo

Despite what other Brazilians say (especially Cariocas) about Paulistas being cold and always in a rush, I’ve found that the people here are extremely friendly (even more so than in Rio from my experience), easy to talk to and are curious about foreigners. As São Paulo is an immigrant hub for people from all corners of Brazil as a place to work and study, you’ll find less cliques and that people will tend to be open towards making friends with you.

However, as in the case of anywhere when living in brazil, having a strong command of the Portuguese Language is absolutely essential if you’re wanting to have choice and freedom when it comes to your social life when living in sao paulo and is the key to making the most out of life in brazil on a whole.

Safety and Security

Generally speaking, São Paulo is quite a bit safer than Rio de Janeiro and cities in the North-East of Brazil, and violence tends to be concentrated in the “periferia” (near the favelas located on the edges of the city). That being said, you’ll need to have common sense to avoid being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Areas that are generally safe 24 hours are Jardins & Vila Olimpia, whilst it’s worth paying particular attention at night in places such as Centro, Republica, Luz and Sé, as these areas can attract a few odd characters.

Weather

Don’t expect wall to wall sun when living in São Paulo, it rains a lot and there is cloud cover a significant amount of the time. However, you’ll also see a decent about of Sunshine, and the seasons aren’t very pronounced at all meaning that it never really gets cold (Anything below 15 degrees is considered as freezing). It also doesn’t get too hot, with temperatures typically maxing at around 31 degrees on your typical summer’s day. A typical day in São Paulo will consist of sunshine for a few hours, followed by the sky clouding over and a downpour around 4-5 pm (in summertime).

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Cost of Living in Brazil – São Paulo

Prices in São Paulo are similar to Rio, with the cost of rent being anywhere between R1300 to R$1700 for a room in a shared apartment, and around R $3000 for your own place. Prices tend to be higher in places close to Avenida Paulista, especially in Jardins, and in neighbourhoods such as Vila Olímpia and Moema.

In terms of food, fresh produce in supermarkets is cheap, and expect anything between R20 – 50 when it comes to eating out. Surprisingly, nightlife can be more expensive than in Europe with entrance fees being typically between R$60-100 per entry to a club (but from my experience this is often worth the fee.)

Finding Work when Moving to Brazil

Just like in the case of Rio, finding work in Brazil is no easy task, not only due to the current political and economical crisis, but also due to visa restrictions and the language barrier. However, as the business hub of Brazil, your chances of finding something in São Paulo are higher than in other cities. I’ll write a detailed article regarding the different options you have when it comes to finding work here, so drop me an email in the meantime if you have any questions.

Nightlife

In terms of Nightlife, São Paulo is a far better than Rio de Janeiro, and there’s hundreds of bars and clubs scattered around the city meaning that it’s almost impossible to get bored.

The main centres of nightlife are in 3 areas:

Rua Augusta – Similar to the Lapa Area in Rio de Janeiro, I personally find Rua Augusta to be overrated and a little bit sketchy, although it can be a fun night out occasionally. Most of the clubs here play “Funk” and Electronic music, and tend to attract a more alternative/LGBT community. Rua Augusta is also the main Red Light District Area of São Paulo.

Vila Madalena/Pinheiros – Having a trendy and slightly hipster vibe, Vila Madalena and Pinheiros are great areas when it comes to nightlife. The area is full of botecos, bars, small nightclubs and is full of people drinking in the street, meaning that you can still enjoy this area on a budget.  Areas that i particularly like are Rua Aspicuelta and Rua Guaicui (Pitico)

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Vila Olimpia – Vila Olímpia is the are home to higher end bars and clubs, and attracts more of “playboy” crowd, meaning that prices tend to be higher. Most of the clubs play Sertanejo and often require a better dress code, but the nights out here are first rate. Great bars/clubs at the point of writing this blog post are Toco do Tatu, Tatubola, Vila Mix, Galleria and Dukke

The Verdict

São Paulo is undoubtedly my favourite city when it comes to living in Brazil. Although it took me a while for the city to grow on me, I wouldn’t even consider living anywhere else in the country these days. The city’s ”work hard play hard” vibe and a pulsing rhythm make it the perfect place to work on business/personal growth whilst also having a plethora of options when it comes to nightlife and socialising. Whereas the novelty of the beaches of Rio de Janeiro or the small time vibe of living in Belo Horizonte may wear off after a few months, you’ll find that you’ll get more and more hooked on São Paulo with each day that you spend here.

Living in Rio de Janeiro in 2019 – The Ultimate Guide for Westerners

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Living in Rio de Janeiro

Living in Rio de Janeiro – So you’ve decided that living in Brazil could be right for you but have no idea what city to go to? Whether you’re tempted by the beach lifestyle of Rio de Janeiro, the big city and hustler vibe of São Paulo, or the small town and provincial feel of living in Belo Horizonte, it’s worth doing as much research to figure out exactly the best place to live in brazil in your specific case. Let’s start with Rio.

Living in Rio de Janeiro – A 2019 Guide

Living in rio de janeiro is the obvious choice when it comes to moving to Brazil, and it’s no surprise as to why. An incredible setting, access to nature within the city itself, beautiful people and a captivating culture make it a city like no other on earth. However, there are certain things you should keep in mind when moving to Rio.

Where To Live

Copacabana – Whilst Copacabana may seem like the obvious choice for living in Rio de Janeiro, the reality is that the novelty may wear off fairly soon. Although the Location is fantastic when it comes to accessing other areas of the city and visiting different beaches, I personally find the area slightly overrated. It’s status as the main “tourist hub” means that you’ll likely be surrounded by other foreigners, get ripped off in restaurants and will be treated as just another tourist.

Despite this, I still like Copacabana as an area primarily due to its beaches and location, but it might not live up to the picture perfect postcards that you saw when you were a child.

Ipanema/Leblon

Cleaner and trendier than Copacabana, Ipanema is another obvious choice when it comes to living in Rio de Janeiro, and is one that’s clearly understandable. The beaches looking up to “Dois Irmãos”, are full of activities, good surfing spots, and attractive people, meaning that it’s a great location for those looking for a proper “beach lifestyle.” Leblon takes it even further, with chic shopping centres, high end bars and restaurants and an “elegant” feel.

Those looking for a luxury and more elegant lifestyle would be well suited to live in one of these neighborhoods, but for those looking to see the rougher, spontaneous and more down to earth vibe of life in brazil, then they may not be the best bet.

Botafogo/Flamengo

Botafogo and Flamengo are great areas to live for those of you looking to get away from the crowds of gringos in their havaianas and experience a more local vibe whilst still being in a central location. Prices of rent and food are cheaper in these areas, beaches are close by, and there’s more of a down to earth vibe.

Barra da Tijuca

Barra da Tijuca is absolutely huge and driving from one end to the other seems to take forever. Due to its sheer size, your options are limitless for high-end malls and beaches, and it’s proximity towards the edge of the city means that you’re not far from pristine beaches and nature. As a middle/upper class neighbourhood, safety isn’t too much of an issue but I can’t help but thinking that the whole place lacks a bit of soul, atmosphere and is too americanized for my liking.

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Locals & Meeting People

Striking up a conversation with strangers in Brazil is far easier and more commonplace than in cancountries such as the UK or Germany, and you’ll find that locals will generally be very receptive. Despite this, the high amount of gringos and “sex tourists” that have been visiting rio over the past few years have somewhat worsened the locals perceptions of westerners (although it’s generally still positive.)

Language barrier is also an issue when living in rio de janeiro, as most Cariocas don’t have a good command of english (although you will certainly find some) meaning that if you decide not to invest in reaching a strong level of Portuguese, you will severely limited in terms of making friends, understanding the culture and and blending in as a local. Learning Portuguese really is the secret to making the most out of life in brazil. Whilst some locals may see you as “just another gringo” if you expect everyone to speak fluent english to you, you will instantly stand out and gain respect from the locals if you at least give a decent attempt at learning the language and make an effort to integrate.

Safety and Security

Rio has a notorious reputation for being a dangerous city in Brazil and elsewhere, and even friends in São Paulo joke about me “getting shot” or “kidnapped” when i travel to Rio. As in most cases, this danger is often massively exaggerated, with most visits being trouble free. The rumours and stories you hear shouldn’t put you off in the slightest.

That being said, crime does exist, and Westerners are often targeted due to their perceived naivety, financial status and lack of knowledge of the culture and life in brazil. Avoid Favelas, many places in Zona Norte and walking around anywhere alone late at night. Having basic common sense, walking with confidence, and having a good command of the Portuguese Language will significantly reduce your odds of getting robbed or ending up at the wrong place and the wrong time.  

Weather

As you can expected, the weather is great in Rio de Janeiro all year round, with anything below 20 degrees celsius being considered as cold to the locals. January and February can sometimes be unbearably hot and humid and there are a number of cloudy and rainy days throughout the year, but on a whole the weather is great.

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Cost of Living

Despite common thinking, living in Brazilisn’t that cheap, especially when compared to other Latin American Countries such as Peru, Colombia or Mexico. However, it’s still significantly cheaper than the UK, Australia or the USA, with the Brazilian Real (as of late 2018) being weak against currencies such as the US Dollar or Euro.

You can be comfortable living in Rio de Janeiro (If you`re by yourself) for anywhere between $1000-$2000 per month, depending on what activities you decide to do,how often you eat out, go out at night, and where you choose to live.

Job Opportunities

Finding a decent job in Brazil without a visa is a tough deal, and will be significantly harder if you don’t speak Portuguese. Due to Brazilian Protectionist Laws, it’s tough for companies to hire foreigners who don’t already have residency and companies aren’t willing to go through the bureaucratic process of sponsoring a foreigner. However, it is still possible, and the larger the company, the better position they generally are to hire you.  

If you’re thinking about moving to brazil and aren’t sure what path you would like to go down regarding jobs, take a look at this post, and drop me an email and i can see how i can specifically help you in your case.

Nightlife

Despite having a reputation as a crazy party destination, the nightlife in Rio de Janeiro is not what you would expect. It isn’t bad by any means, but is eclipsed by that of cities such as São Paulo, Buenos Aires or even little-known Belo Horizonte.

There are good spots, but it just takes some effort to find them. Avoid the Gringo parties and typical tourists spots at all costs, and despite being fun once or twice, areas such as Lapa and Copacabana are massively overrated and aren’t the best options of nightlife in Rio de Janeiro. Gavea, Botafogo and Leblon are good for street parties and small bars whilst Barra da Tijuca is king when it comes to nightclubs.

The Verdict

I absolutely love Rio as a place to visit and spend a few days chilling out on the beach, but i wouldn’t live there as a first choice, mainly due to the fact that its chilled-out, beach lifestyle vibe makes in hard to get into the working rhythm and get stuff done. I also personally got tired of the large amounts of foreigners visiting the city, and found it easier to integrate into local-life in São Paulo and Belo Horizonte.

If you`re looking for a relaxed beach lifestyle as a long term option, than living in Rio de Janeiro is a great option, but may get seem to wear off on you after a few months if this isn’t the case.

Living in Brazil 2019 – A Guide to Different Visa Types

Living in Brazil – Different Visa Options for 2019

Moving to Brazil was one of the best decisions i’ve ever made in my life. Amazing People, Incredible Beaches and extremely rich and interesting culture make it a truly unique and special place. Despite its draw, moving here is no walk in the park, and is one that requires determination, resourcefulness and a willingness to take risks.

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One of the biggest obstacles of moving to brazil is Visas. As a naive gringo back in 2016, getting a visa to live here was something that barely crossed my mind. I thought that I could just turn up and a visa would fall into my lap without having to put in any effort, which unfortunately was out of touch with reality. However, with a bit of determination, anything is possible. Here are your options when it comes to visas:

Living in Brazil  – Limitations of Tourist Visa Brazil

Getting a Tourist Visa for Brazil is relatively simple. Citizens of several countries don’t need a visa to come to Brazil as a tourist (this article by tripsavvy explains in more detail) and just need to rock up at the airport, answer a few basic questions (if any), and get your passport stamped. For those of you from countries just as USA and Australia, the process could only be done in a Brazilian Embassy, but since the beginning of 2018 the process can be done online for a Brazil e-visa ( This article by Vaya Travel explains in perfect detail.)

People who have spent long periods in South America may be used to what is called going for a “visa run”, which allows you to leave a country, spend a few hours or days in another one, and then come back to the original country and get an extra 3 months for a Visa. In countries such as Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, this is possible, and foreigners have even reported success of hopping to and fro countries and getting their visa renewed every 3 months over a span of years.

However, this is not the case in Brazil, which allows each person to spend 90 days in Brazil per 180 day period (started upon first entry date), meaning that after spending 90 days in the country, you have to leave, spend 90 days outside and then come back in. Some nationalities are lucky (including us from the UK) as we’re able to extend our visa to 180 days by going to the local Policia Federal (this post goes over the requirements), but after that have to spend another 185 days outside of the countries before coming back in. This was a mistake that I foolishly made after leaving Brazil a few days after my visa expired and being stuck in Argentina for 6 months. Hopefully, you’ll learn from my mistakes.

Student Visa Brazil

Going for a Student Visa seems like a sensible, feasible and easy solution when moving to brazil, but the reality is that it’s not that simple. Stock up on the Ibuprofen as you’ll be in for plenty of headaches if you go down this route (although it could be worth it.) There are universities all over Brazil that will allow you to get apply for a Student Visa, but there are some specific requirements that need following in order for you enrollment letter to be accepted. Here is a list of some of the Brazil Student Visa Requirements:

15 Hours per Week Course – A Brazilian Consulate will only allow grant you a Student Visa if you can prove that the course is over 15 hours per week. (Something i didn’t take notice of and paid the price for.) However, some foreigners have reported success with a course with less than 15 hours, but that’s a risk that’s up to you to take.

MEC – The university you apply to has to be recognised by the MEC (ministry of education).

IMPORTANT: Visa Limitations – When you hear that you’re able to get a student visa from any 15 hour minimum course offered by a MEC recognised university, getting a student visa seems like a walk in the park. However, as you’re in Brazil, things aren’t that simple.

It turns out that several universities only accept applications from students who already have a proper visa already (tourist visa not counting,) meaning that you’re unable to enroll, get the acceptance letter that’s ultimately needed to apply for the visa. It’s catch 22 in many cases, as you can’t apply for the visa without the acceptance letter, but also can’t apply to the university without already having a visa. Welcome to Brazil.

Luckily, there are certain universities that will help you out with the visa – so keep your options open and stay persistent.

Another Idea is to Study at a Language Center in and study Portuguese. There are several schools in Rio, São Paulo and Belo Horizonte that may be able to help you out if you’re interested in studying Portuguese in an academic environment and are thinking of moving to Brazil. However, you’ll likely only be able to get a visa for a few months and then have to either extend the student visa (will be writing a post that goes into this in more detail) meaning that it may not be the most cost-friendly option.

Prices of Student Visas depend on your nationality, so it’s best to check embassies before to see how much a visa will set you back.

See Part 2 for further options of visas when moving to brazil.

New Approach to Language Learning – Spanish Lessons in Buenos Aires for English Speakers and Exchange Students

Spanish Lessons in Buenos Aires for English Speakers and Foreign Exchange Students.

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After spending more than 2 years out here in Latin America, there is one thing that i have seen countless times: English speakers and Exchange students coming out with the aim of getting a high level of Spanish, only to find themselves going back home with little progress made. This  In my opinion, there are two main reasons for this. Firstly, learning a foreign language is nerve wracking, something that most people won’t admit. It’s completely normal to feel like a complete idiot and be taken over by anxiety when you’re first attempting to speak Spanish on the streets of Buenos Aires and people are looking at you as if you were from another planet. In fact, these mental barriers are problem the biggest sticking point that people have when it comes to learning other languages, something that isn’t addressed by any language course that i have come across, including different Spanish Lessons in Buenos Aires.

Secondly, traditional language learning methods are boring. Spending years at school in front of desk actually led me to nearly quit learning Spanish completely, and if it weren’t for my discovery of more effective and enjoyable ways of language learning, i would probably still be monolingual. Instead of focusing on learning how to communicate with native speakers, traditional language methods often concentrate on learning vocabulary that isn’t that useful on a daily basis, explaining why a certain grammar rule is applied to a particular phrase and learning linguistic terminology.

As you can imagine, this is mind numbing, and completely takes away the joy of learning a foreign language. On the other hand, you have new ways that are surprisingly fun, just as the infamous duolingo, which is no doubt useful when it comes to learning vocabulary, but is not enough by itself to get a strong command of the language.

What i am offering here with my Spanish Lessons in Buenos Aires is a different way of language learning. Whilst still focusing on learning the grammar and structure of the language (fundamental for getting to a high level), the method i am offering is conversation based, and aims to get you communicating with locals and experiencing argentine culture as much as possible. The method focuses on learning vocab that is used on a day to day basis, learning grammar in the simplest way possible and training your brain so that you can construct sentences in the shortest about of time possible. These Spanish Lessons in Buenos Aires also address the key issues mentioned earlier on: getting over your fears of language learning and making sure that language learning is enjoyable whilst still being effective.

Buenos Aires

There’s probably many of you reading this post who are thinking, why the hell would i choose a British guy as my Spanish Teacher if there are 14 million Porteños who speak Spanish natively. Good question. While the locals will be better when it comes to addressing issues such as pronunciation, most natives haven’t learnt Spanish in the same way as us foreigners, and often struggle to understand the grammar and structure of the language (the same goes us native English speakers when trying to teach our own language) as well as the main pitfalls that English speakers come across when learning the language. Many of them also fail to address the issue of getting over the mentally blockages that all of us have when trying to learn Spanish.

I’m going to be completely honest, learning Spanish makes all the difference when it comes to experiencing Argentina, and whilst you can just about survive on English i think it’s a huge shame that so many foreigners fail to grasp a solid command of the language due to lack of interest or belief in their abilities when spending extended periods of time in Latin America.

If you’re interested in hearing more, then get in contact with me over Facebook, send me an email (included at the bottom of text), or just fill in the form just under the blog post. I’m going to be in Buenos Aires for the next few months and am flexible when it comes to prices, timetable, location. I’ll even throw in the first lesson for free.

Thank you

Eddie

Email: linguistlifestyle@gmail.com

 

The One Thing That So Many Backpackers Are Missing Out On.

Backpackers

Having lived in Mexico, Brazil and Chile and travelling extensively through Latin America I can say going out and travelling is one of the best things that anyone can do. Thousands of backpackers make the choice of spending extended periods of time in different countries for a cultural experience, but are making one mistake – not learning the local language. Of course, if you´re only going to be in a country for a week or so, the effort may not be worthwhile, but if you are planning on spending extended periods of time travelling around a country, learning the language (even if its just basic conversational level) makes a huge difference. Here’s why:

1.Safety and Danger

So many complain about how you shouldn’t go to “dangerous” countries and after hearing certain horror stories myself i can understand why. I often wonder to myself why after nearly two years in Latin America,  i have never had any problems myself (Let’s hope it stays that way.) And then it hit me, it was because i have gained a deep understanding of the cultures by learning the language. I’m not saying that by learning the language you are invincible to all kinds of danger, but it sure does help. Think about it, who seems like the easier target to scam artists and would-be criminals? the gringo who speaks to the locals as if were they were from his hometown or or the guy who has gained a knowledge of the dos and don’ts of a country by making an effort to understand its culture and language?

Secondly, knowing the language helps you avoid any potential sticky situations in the first place, such as making sure that taxi drivers are taking you to the right place, getting on the right bus, and asking for directions to ensure that you’re not walking into a dodgy part of town.

2. Less Stress and Frustration

By actually being able to communicate with the locals you are actually going to be able to get things done and not have to waste huge amounts of effort on menial tasks such as buying a bus ticket or asking directions to the beach. This will help minimise any unnecessary stress and stop you from worrying about these little things.

Moreover, so many native English speakers get frustrated with locals when they don’t speak English despite often being thousands of miles from the USA or UK. This also applies to lots of people who have learnt English as a second language, often possessing the mindset that “if i have made the effort to learn English, so should everyone else.” Yes, English is the most useful and important language in the world, but the reality is that limiting yourself to it is going to prevent you from having the best time possible abroad.

3. Independence of travel

Let me ask you a question. Are you creating the experiences that YOU want when travelling? Or are you finding yourself frustrated as you’re bumping into so many people back from your home country?

You also wonder how the hell you end up seeing the same people in different hostels despite them being in a city thousands of miles away. However, when you think about this, it makes complete sense as if you don’t speak the local language, meaning that theses tourism hubs are often the only option if you actually want to communicate with people and have a good time.

Learning the language really makes a huge difference if you’re interesting in getting off the beaten track and seeing the real side of the country instead of being limited to the tourist hubs. By doing this, you are able to create unforgettable, authentic and unique experiences that people stuck in the tourist hubs often struggle to make.

4. Connecting with Locals

I can’t believe how many people go on about how well cultured and travelled they are after spending an extended period time in a country when they didn’t make the effort to learn the local language. How can you expect to gain an deep understanding of a country and its culture if you voluntarily limit yourself to speaking English? Sure you’re gonna make the most of the sights and the sunny weather but is being trapped in a tourism bubble really the experience that you are looking for? So many people get on a flight to another country with the goal of soaking up a different culture and way of life, but end up failing to achieve this goal. The good news is that the solution to this is simple – learning the language.

The Solution

Many people ask me how learning a language is simple when so many people make it out to be a skill that takes years or that only a selected few can master. However, I disagree with this statement and believe that learning a language can be made a reality using the three principles below:

  1. Interacting with native speakers on a frequent basis – Get rid of any mental barriers and get out your comfort zone so you can learn the language in the most efficient and least time-consuming way.
  2. Learning Grammar through Conversation – forget about classrooms and actually learn grammar in an engaging and fun way.
  3. Thinking in the Foreign Language –  Get access to a step by step guide on how to   successfully implement this underrated learning tool.

If you’re interested in hearing more, please subscribe to the blog and leave your opinions in the comments section!

All the Best

Eddie

 

Four classic excuses that Native English speakers make when it comes to learning a language

Given the choice, I don’t think that there are many people who wouldn’t like to have the ability to speak another language, whether it’s for professional purposes, travel or personal enjoyment. Despite this, there are so few native English speakers who actually make the effort to do so. Why is this? Below are the top four excuses English natives use:

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1. Everyone speaks English, therefore I don’t really need to learn a language.

There’s no doubt that English is the most important language in the world and those of us who have it as our mother tongue should consider ourselves lucky. Estimates suggest that in between 1 and 1.5 billion people speak English as a first or second language and are at least able to hold a basic conversation. As 1/7th of the population speak the language you can see why English native speakers don’t feel the need. However, what about the other 6 billion people who don’t speak English? What happens if you want to communicate with them?  By limiting yourself to English, you are missing out on thousands of opportunities to meet people and create meaningful connections.  A good example of this is Brazil; estimates show that only 5% of people speak English, meaning that you are unable to communicate with 190 million people in the country!

2. I don’t have time or money to learn a language

This is a classic excuse that is used over and over again by people to prevent themselves from doing the things that they really want to do, and not just with language learning. But the impression that in order to get fluent in a foreign language you need to spend hours a day studying and practising is wrong. By just spending 10-15 minutes a day on consistent basis (this is key) you can speak a language well. Let’s say you learn just 5 words a day,  you’ll have a vocabulary of around 2000 words in just over a year, easily enough to have a decent conversation! In terms of money, how much does it cost to learn 5 new words and a grammar rule a day? Absolutely nothing. Don’t have time to look for new words? Use the Immerse app and choose from hundreds of articles!

3Languages just aren’t for me

This one makes no sense. So many people claim that just because they feel that they don’t have a “thing” for languages there’s no point in even trying to learn. Or they remember how unproductive and dull French Lessons were back in Secondary school and decide that the “language learning” environment isn’t for them. Yes there are some people who find it easier than others, but there’s three things in common that people who develop a skill have (language learners or not) – A can-do attitude, determination and a bit of discipline.

4. There’s no one to practice with so what’s the point.

This was one thing that initially held me back. I thought that there was no point putting in the effort to learn French as I had no-one to practice with. However, after spending a week in Belgium and realising how bad my French actually was and how much of a difference speaking the language well actually would have made, I tried to figure out ways to find people to talk with. Unfortunately, due to living in a small English village with no native French speakers (unsurprisingly) there was only one other solution, forcing myself to think in French. Thinking is truly the most underrated way to learn a language and despite being hard at first, you can gain a high level of a language very quickly. By being able to practice vocabulary and grammatical patterns anywhere and anytime you will be 10 times more prepared when you get the chance to practice your skills abroad!