Monday, December 31, 2012

Celebrating New Year's Eve Abroad

New Year's Eve was bittersweet. It's the first one I've celebrated with my parents in seven years, but it's also the first one I've celebrated without my spouse since we met.

While some of my cousins decided to celebrate together, my folks and I decided to celebrate privately and quietly in their home.   
My dad barbecued goat, cow brains, and sausages
My mother was busy in the kitchen baking potato wedges, Armenian empanadas, and Argentinean empanadas.
The triangular shaped Empanadas are Armenian. They are very similar to the Arabian empanadas but the taste of the ground beef, and the shape of the space at the center differs. The Empanadas on the lower right hand side of the photo are called Empanadas criollas. 
The first plate on the left is a basic salad with lettuce, tomatoes and onions. The middle plate are the potato wedges I mentioned earlier, and the third plate is chimichurri. Chimichurri is a seasoned sauce that you can pour over any type of meat.
I tried some of the goat. It was okay, but I'm not a fan of the texture. I also hate cowbrains because of the way it jiggles in my mouth. It tastes like phlegm.
I decided to go for the safest route and make myself a choripan. A choripan is a sausage sandwiched in a bread. As you can see from the picture above, I added some of the salad along with potato wedges and chimichurri. 
My mom placed an assortment of peanuts, sugar coated candy and turron (nougat) for dessert. Turron varies by texture and color. Focus on the bigger plate. The turron on the upper right hand side is white and has a tougher texture with peanuts cut in half. I don't like this type of turron because chewing through it is difficult. I prefer the softer turron which is on the lower left hand side of the plate. It's brown and soft like peanut butter and easier on the teeth.

My mom also made a delicious fruit salad for dessert
Later tonight we're going to toast to 2013 with Sidra, which is like a champagne.

I want to thank all of my readers and followers. In the coming months I'll blog about an upcoming trip to the capital of Buenos Aires, my continued efforts to validate my U.S. diploma and transcripts, plus more amazing photos and videos of Cordoba. Until next time, have a safe and happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Attending College In Argentina – What You’ll Need And What Careers Work

One of the wonderful advantages of studying in Argentina is that public universities are free. Textbooks are not free, but you are given the option of buying photocopied versions of the textbook. There is a small fee for being enrolled but it’s such a minor amount that it’s laughable.

A term at a university is broken down by years, (year 1, year 2, year 3, etc) instead of the 3-4 month terms per year more commonly seen in the United States.

Most degrees last five years, and when you are done, you will have earned the equivalent of a Master’s Degree.

Here’s the catch. When I went to apply I provided the registrar with my diploma, college transcripts, and vocational certificates, but she told me they were invalid. Why? Because it didn’t have an apostille. I didn't know what this was at the time, much less that I needed it. 
What You Need To Be Admitted Into An Argentinean University
  • Apostille your high school diploma and transcripts (do the same for any other degree)
  • Have your diploma and transcripts translated and legalized
  • Take your diploma and transcripts to the ministry of education in Buenos Aires to have them validated
  • Return to the university of your choice with the diploma and transcript apostilled, notarized, translated, and legalized.
  • If you only have a transcript then don’t even bother taking these steps. The ministry of education will only validate documents if they come with both the diploma and the transcripts. You can't present one or the other by themselves.
Careers you can choose
There isn’t a high demand for lawyers, psychiatrists, or social workers in Argentina. If you’re interested in these fields, I’d reconsider. Why aren’t these careers very popular in Argentina? I'll break it down for you.

Lawyers: For starters, the concept of suing someone at the drop of a hat (which is very common in the U.S.) is not a common practice in Argentina. Most issues are solved amicably and diplomatically so the need for a lawyer is seriously diminished. You won’t find anyone purposely faking a slip and fall at a store in order to collect money either. It’s not to say there aren’t one or two bad apples, but most of these cases get ridiculed and tossed out of court unless death has occurred as a result of an action.
Immigration Lawyer: It's not really needed in Argentina because there are no deportation laws.

Divorce Lawyer: The divorce rate in Argentina is too small. This is mostly because until recently, it was seen as a social taboo in Argentinean society, especially among the older generation. Plus, most Argentineans live by the following motto, “Work things out because things in Argentina must last”.
Psychologists And Psychiatrists: If you have to become one then I’d recommend being a child therapist. Mental health problems are not as heavily advertised or as popular here as they are in the United States. Argentineans don’t dwell on mental or eating disorders as much. Again, it’s not to say there aren’t people who suffer from it, but it’s not that common. Also, Argentineans tend to deal with their own issues privately among family. The use of going to a therapist to discuss personal issues, couple's therapy, family counseling, with a stranger is considered by some to be an embarrassment to the individual and their family.

Social Workers: This is one of the more popular career choices. Unfortunately there are so many people that have entered this field that the demand isn’t that great. Therefore it’s a dead end unless you have pull with a hospital or institution.
Career recommendations: Become a national translator. You can pick German, French, Italian, or English. You can also earn an education degree for these particular languages which will open doors for you if you want to teach at a primary school, high school, or university.

Other career options that are in high demand in Argentina are biochemist, chemist, and medical doctor.
So remember to apostille, notarize, translate, and legalize your diplomas and transcripts before attending college. Then pick the career that best matches your desires and Argentina's needs.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Downtown Cordoba Argentina - Video Tour

It’s been 6 months since I’ve been in Argentina. In lieu of an expat report, I created a video tour, compiled from footage I’ve taken of the downtown area of Cordoba. I hope you all enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Reasons You Need Apostilles In Argentina And How To Get Them

Apostilles legalize foreign documents like birth certificates, marriage licenses, high school diplomas, College Diplomas, student transcripts, and background checks. I highly recommend that you get your documents apostilled and notarized in your home country before coming to Argentina. You will need them if you want to apply for residency, attend a university, and possibly work. Without an apostille, your documents are worth less than toilet paper in Argentina.

When I first started searching for ways to get my documents apostilled, I tried searching for companies in the U.S. in order to get our documents done via mail. However, this would have been too expensive. Most agents who handle Apostilles enjoy taking advantage of an expats' desperate situation.

Where To Get An Apostille
Unfortunately, I can only answer for the United States, though the answer might be similar for any other country in the world. In the U.S., you can acquire an apostille by going to city hall. At most, you'll spend 50 U.S. dollars per document, if that. You'll have to get your documents notarized before getting an apostille.

What Happens If You're Not In Your Native Country
If you are already living in a foreign country, you can send an affidavit authorizing a family member, like a spouse, to act on your behalf in order to get your documents apostilled and notarized. Keep in mind that the affidavit must be notarized and legalized before sending it abroad through some form of express mail service.

Can't I Get An Apostille From A U.S. Embassy?
U.S. embassies will not provide apostilles.

What To Do Afterwards
Once you have successfully gotten apostilles for your documents, you will need to have them translated and legalized in Argentina before presenting them to immigration or the university.
In Conclusion
I cannot stress enough the need to avoid agencies that want to charge you 88 dollars, 200 dollars, or 300 dollars to put an apostille per document. Be wary of agencies that feed on your fear. If you however, feel that you have no other choice and need to get this done immediately, then by all means, use an agency. In the United States, UPS can do it for 188 dollars per documents and charges 300 dollars.