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Argentina - Overview

The South American country of Argentina – officially titled the Argentine Republic – has an estimated population of 40 million people. Buenos Aires is the capital city and is a popular destination with tourists. Argentina has a number of immediate neighbours – Chile is on the border to the West and the South, Bolivia and Paraguay are to be found north of the country with Uruguay and Brazil to the northeast.

In October 2007 the country’s first female president – Christina Kirchner – was elected. Argentina is a democracy with the President and Vice President elected every four years. The President then appoints a cabinet and the Argentine people are also represented by an elected Senate and Chamber of Deputies.

The country boasts a sub-tropical climate in the north and a sub-polar climate in the south with a more temperate climate in between. Half of the population are resident in the ten biggest urban areas which attract those in search of a cosmopolitan lifestyle. Only one tenth of the inhabitants are resident in a rural area.

Argentina has a long history of immigration and most of the people there are descended from European settlers. The official language is Spanish, known by the Argentine people as Castilian, although there are over one and a half million Italian speakers in the country and one million Arabic speakers. Other languages spoken there include German and Brazilian Portuguese, along with several older native dialects and other languages being brought in by immigrants. The European influence on Argentine culture has been significant. Buenos Aires is a good example of this with its architecture and large number of inhabitants with European heritage.

The country sells large quantities of beef worldwide and has a world class football team. Argentina is also famous for Eva Peron, the wife of former President Juan Peron who captured the imagination of a whole generation and inspired a musical based on her life.

The country is attractive for expats thanks to the lower cost of living and many choose to live in the capital. The national currency is the Peso and a single person could expect to live on the equivalent of around 500 American dollars each month. Societies such as the Young Expat Society of Buenos Aires offer the chance to meet other expats and can help them to find work and accommodation.

While there are English language newspapers and societies to join, expats are advised to learn Spanish in order to fully integrate. The Argentine people are generally very welcoming towards expats and the lifestyle is a lot more laid back than in many other countries, which is attractive for those looking to escape the rat race.

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