Monday, October 10, 2011

Uruguay...NOT Paraguay

I decided I wanted to move abroad August or September of the year was going to graduate college. I had already looked at graduate school and going into the State Department, but at 20(at the time) I didn't really want to go to grad school or enter the bureaucracy of government just yet. I wanted to travel, but the question was how to pay for it? Simple answer I couldn't, at least not in a way I felt comfortable. Well I wanted to live abroad, but if I didn't work in the State Department, How? I found a rare breed on blogs that move to other countries and work there, live there for a while.

Next question where did I want to go. Spain (bad economy), Italy(I don't speak Italian...yet), hmmm what is like Spain(European) and easier to go to. Answer Argentina. Why are they so similar? Well Argentina is primarily made up of Spanish and Italian immigrants with little to no native population in existence.

That's when I read this blog it inspired me to do something different with my life. He did it in Buenos Aires, so I started there. Well Buenos Aires is the capital and probably the easiest to get to from the U.S.. However, Buenos Aires is a city of 13 million and for a person like me that hasn't really lived in a big city or outside the Midwest that is intimidating. On top of that because of the U.S. government's "lovely" good-luck-coming-to-America-if-your-not-from-the-"developed"-world policy there are major hurdles to entering Argentina visa wise. Well from geography class in 4th grade probably; I remembered that Montevideo is pretty close to Buenos Aires. I began comparing:

-Oh Montevideo is way smaller 1.5 million a lot easier adjustment.
-Uruguay's safer than any other country in Latin America(probably due to it's low poverty rates). Violent crime is rare and theft is the biggest problem.
-Uruguay is a lot like the Midwest more specifically Kansas/Iowa(It is one big city and a lot of flat grassy land)
-It is one of the most democratic countries in Latin America(Chile is similar) and definitely has much more stable politics than those of it's neighbors(Argentina & Brazil)
-It has a highly educated populace
-Uruguayos are known for being tranquilo(calm) and nice people. Buenos Aires is known for being more like Hollywood Latin America(I can't stand how fake some celebrities are i.e. Jersey Shore).

In other words Uruguay is not what Americans normally think of when they hear Uruguay. It's not full of crime and drugs as a result of poverty and poor education like parts of Mexico, Central America, and the northern part of South America. The Southern Cone is different it is It's government isn't as corrupt as others. In other words it isn't like Paraguay which is more like what most Americans about Latin America. Since Uruguay isn't a place where peace and unicorns exist, there is a downside to it and that is it is hard to find a job that pays well, but I'll get to that later...

What do you think about American geography knowledge? What do/did you think of when you hear Latin America? Please Comment Below.

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