It’s hiring season and I’m sure some of you are looking at positions in Venezuela. I’ve been telling people to come to Venezuela to work for the past couple of years because I like it here so much. However, starting last spring with the protests, things have only become more difficult in this country. I think it will only get worse before it gets any better.
I’m not an economist, or even a Venezuelan with more background on these issues, so I can’t really predict what will happen in the future. Instead, I can only write about what I am already experiencing:
Despite my recent trials and tribulations, there are still a great many things I appreciate about life in Venezuela.
Fun: I can still live a pretty full and fulfilling life while I’m here. What I do find in the stores is affordable for those with access to dollars.
Work: I love my job and the students at my school. I like my coworkers. There is a great work/life balance here.
Money: I am able to pay $1000 a month on my student loans, travel a lot, and still save some money. I generally spend about $400 a month if I’m not traveling that month.
Romance: I like Latin men (and they like me! haha).
Spanish: I can practice using my Spanish skills everyday if I wanted… or not at all if the mood strikes.
Environment: I’m only an hour away from some of the best beaches I have ever seen. There are mountains, waterfalls, rainforests, savannahs, and cute colonial towns to explore on the breaks. It is also sunny year round so you can always enjoy it.
People: Most locals I meet are warm and welcoming. Also, you can hear wonderful salsa, merengue, and bachata wherever you go AND you can find people who can dance properly to it!
If this would be your first job overseas, I would think long and hard before coming here. Many people who have only experienced living and working in the US would have a really tough time (I know two who have left). If you were in the Peace Corps you might fit right in!
Rationing: The past three months I have been here the water has been regulated nearly every day. Some people are lucky and they have a tank in their apartments to dispense water when the water isn’t working in the rest of the city, but I am not a lucky one. Therefore I get about 3 hours of water a day. There are also fairly frequent blackouts (usually once or twice a week).
Product Shortages: shampoo, conditioner, soap, diapers, milk, flour, sugar, coffee, butter, olive oil, cooking oil, etc. If you see something you like you should buy ten because you don’t know if you will see it the next day, let alone next week.
Flights: if you wanted to come to South America so that you could explore the continent on your breaks, you better plan on paying a high price and getting really lucky. Plane tickets are hard to find because there are very few airlines flying internationally. This drives up the cost of the flights, so what should cost a couple hundred dollars is now $1200 or $1300- IF you can find a ticket.
Unless you have lived in one of the other countries in the world with really high murder rates, you can’t really know what to expect until you get here and experience life in such a place.
Violence: As things get more and more expensive for locals, as things get harder and harder to find, more and more people will be turning to violence just to meet their basic needs. This makes driving during rush hour, walking on the street by yourself, and having anything of value very unsafe.
I lived for two years in a small city and three months in the third largest city before someone tried to rob me at gunpoint. I had my laptop stolen from my work during the second month I was here. I don’t feel very comfortable walking by myself (even in broad daylight with plenty of traffic around) or even driving by myself after what happened to me.
My advice to those considering a job here is to do what you want, but know that if you come here, it might be more difficult than you originally thought. Also know that I have heard little mention of anything changing for the better.
This place has its warts, but a big part of me still loves it. Also, there are students here that need great teachers, so if you think you can work in a country like this, come on over!
Please comment! Have you worked in a country that is really unsafe? How do you live a fulfilling life with all of the restrictions put upon you?