Saturday, July 1, 2017

Spotlight: Melisa Arias - A Local's Refreshing Insight

I've spent the last 5 years exploring and sharing some of the wonders and cultural differences in Argentina, but I feel that there are times when you have to step aside and allow another voice to come through.

So without further to do, here is an interview I conducted with the beautiful Argentine local, Melisa Arias.
1) Hi, Melisa. Why don't you start by telling us a little bit about yourself.

My name’s Melisa Alexandra Arias. I’m 31 years old. I’m an EN-SP translator and I work at a university in the graduate’s department.

2) Are you from Cordoba, or from another province?


I’m from Cordoba, yes.

3) On a scale of 1 through 10, how safe do you consider Cordoba as far as the crime rate's concerned?


Ufff, tough question. I would say 8. It depends on the part of the city you live in and on how exposed/vulnerable you are in that specific moment.

4) Do you feel that women are seen as equals in Argentina or is there a lot of gender discrimination in the workplace and society in general? If yes, have you ever experienced it?


Women will never be seen as equals unless the chauvinist paradigm changes for good around the entire world. Regarding Argentina, specifically, women are treated as employees, not as women employees. So, if they get paid low it’s because our economy is ruined, not because they are discriminated against.


Personally, I haven’t experienced any kind of discrimination or harassment in my workplace. What I do hate are catcalls, but I know that no matter how much mankind evolves those little pains in the ass will prevail.

5) Unfortunately, not every country in the world offers women the rights they deserve. In cases of domestic abuse or sexual assault, do you think Argentina provides women with the help that they need to protect themselves and overcome a traumatic situation like domestic abuse or sexual assault? (for example, like women’s shelters or free counseling)


To be honest, I’m not that well informed about this topic to answer the question properly. All I can say is that women in Argentina have been marching a lot lately. They want the motto “Ni una menos” (Not one woman less) to stick in people’s minds as a declaration of war against men who abuse and kill women, and the politicians and judges who turn their backs to these facts.

6) What made you decide to learn English?


Ha! I didn’t get the chance to decide. Actually, my mom decided for me when I was 12 years old. She sent my sister and I to this private institute to learn the language because she knew back then that it would be a great investment in our futures. And she was right! As soon as I started learning English I loved it. It was the best thing my mom did for me.



7) Where did you learn English and would you recommend the school to others?


The private institute is called IICANA (Parque Capital franchise). It doesn’t go by that name anymore, now it’s called World Link, but the owner is the same guy and I totally recommend it.



8) Do you feel foreigners in general are welcomed in Argentina or do you think some people are resistant to the idea of massive immigration from other countries?


It always depends on where they come from. Like it or not, Argentinians are quite racists when it comes to welcoming immigrants from Bolivia or Peru, but we gladly open our arms to people from the States, England or Australia, for example.

9) You're a very friendly, open-minded person when it comes to members of the LGBT community. Do you feel that in general, Argentinians are accepting or at least tolerant of members of the LGBT community?


Well, that’s a generational question. People my age have been part of the change, so they already understand that members of the LGBT community are just people with different sexual orientations. But older people have a really hard time accepting that fact and don’t conceive the idea that such “deviations” can come from a normal person. It’s very sad to hear them talking like that.

10) Finally, if a job opportunity presented itself, but required you to move abroad to an English speaking country, would you consider leaving Argentina, or would you prefer to stay close to your family and friends?


I would leave, yes. It would be hard, of course, ‘cause I’m not the kind of person who likes to take risks, but if the offer is good enough I don’t see why not.


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Melisa, thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this interview. Your insight will undoubtedly answer quite a few questions from people looking to visit or migrate to Argentina in the near future.