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Moving To Cali any advice welcome!

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VeeBee
5/7/2017 19:05 EST

Hey everyone!

I am moving to Cali around July on a two year minimum contract for work from the United Staes. I am hoping to stay at least 4 years to really gain fluency in the language. However, we never know how life will work out.

That being said I have been doing a lot of research on living in Colombia and have found most people discuss life in Bogota or in Medellin. I am not finding a lot of information on Cali and since that's where I'll be living for the new few years I would love to hear some advice from people.
Also to be noted, I am Chilean so I will fit in well looks wise as long as I don't speak often because my language will give me away (I am not fluent in Spanish)!

Type of advice I'm looking for:
Moving and Living in Cali
Moving and Living in Colombia
What to do with my credit cards and bank accounts in the US*
Money Recommendations (Credit cards, debit, cash etc)
Things you wish you had known before you arrived.
What I should be doing before moving and after moving there
Cultural Norms, things I might find different/rude/weird but is typical of Colombia (examples: I know about the different in importance of being on time) this can be even the smallest differences I just am curious!
Life as a woman in Colombia

***I honestly have no idea what to do with my credit cards or bank accounts...I'm a young adult so still constantly figuring out how to adult :)

Honestly, anything will be helpful for me. Everything I've read seems to be about the same things but if you want to repeat those here that is fine too! I am trying to gain as much knowledge as possible, I know it will be a hard and exciting adventure! My main concern is accidentally offending someone so any tips on how to behave in society are awesome too!

I think I've covered all the basics of what I would like to know but I'm sure you have things to tell me I might not even have thought about so even the smallest detail will mean a lot! I'm clearly very nervous :)

regnatarajan
5/7/2017 21:54 EST

I'm not in Cali and I'm a male in my 50s so I have very little advice to offer you aside from this: I strongly suggest you keep fully functional US credit cards and bank accounts at very least until you get settled in Cali and possibly indefinitely. Opening and operating bank accounts and credit card accounts here is way harder than it should be.

I would consider getting a mail box address in the US that you can use as your banking address and to have deliveries relayed to Cali when you move. You'll find some things hard to purchase here and having a mailbox relay so you can order on Amazon and eBay is really handy.

Best of luck to you with your move.

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happytraveler
5/7/2017 22:33 EST

Learn salsa which is very popular in Cali. Get a credit card with no foreign surcharge. You can charge to that credit card and pay online. Hopefully you will be paid in US dollars to avoid devaluation of the peso and direct deposit into your US bank account. For cash you can use your atm. COLOMBIANS ARE very friendly but will want to everything about you and asking about how much money you make is not considered rude but don't tell them.. Don't be naive and use street smarts.

WhoaNellie
5/7/2017 22:43 EST

Don't bring but several suitcases, you can get everything you need in Cali (but maybe not everything you want).
I'd find a place close to your work to live. Traffic in Cali keeps getting worse and they are not taking the drastic steps needed to fix it, instead they are merely applying paños de agua tibia.
You could find a cheap place for at least several weeks and even longer, by using airbnb - I just now saw several places for $10 USD per day in and around nice barrios like Ciudad Capri in the south and San Antonio which is more central. Many airbnb hosts give discounts for extended stays.
A lot of the barrios in the east have more crime. I'd look to stay in an area that's estrato 4 or 5, and not 6 because that can be expensive even by developed country standards.
Caleños are friendly and open but you should be wary about sharing too many details too soon, do not dar papaya as they say.

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