Ronald Burnett is a British expat living in Paraguay. He initially moved to Paraguay as part of an international job posting, and as his wife is Paraguayan and they enjoy it there, they decided to stay. Although he feels the heat can be rough, Ronald enjoys the friendly people and the stable political environment, and now calls Asuncion home.
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: I was born in the UK
Q: Where do you live now?
A: I live in in Asuncion, Paraguay
Q: Why did you move to Paraguay? What do you do?
A: Initially moved to Paraguay in 1985 because was sent by British American Tobacco on a normal posting. Decided to stay since my wife is Paraguayan and we enjoy it here.
Q: What do you enjoy most about Asuncion? How’s the quality of life?
A: I enjoy the very friendly people and stable politics. The heat can be rough, especially in January or February, but there are air conditioners everywhere.
Q: How safe is Asuncion?
The city is still safe compared to other cities but there is some petty thieving.
Q: How would you rate public transport in Asuncion?
A: There are lots of buses but they are pretty awful, old and dirty. But there are lots of taxis and rental cars available. The first are not expensive and are safe.
Q: How would you rate the healthcare in Paraguay?
A: Healthcare in Paraguay is absolutely first class. There are good doctors, and very good hospitals and chemists. Most doctors speak English.
Living in Asuncion
Q: Which are the best suburbs in Asuncion to live in?
A: The best suburbs are Manora, Carmelitas, El Dorado, Trinidad, Herrera, Los Laureles and Villa Mora.
Q: What is the standard of housing in Asuncion like?
Housing is very good indeed, from colonial style to first class modern apartments. Although it’s now becoming expensive.
Q: What’s the cost of living in Asuncion compared to home?
A: I find Paraguay much cheaper than the UK. The UN does have some good statistics. Whiskey is much cheaper! So are vegetables, meats etc .
Q: What are the locals like? Is it easy to meet other expats and make friends in Paraguay?
A: The Paraguayans are very friendly and like the British. You also have the British Ladies Club, the British Community Group and the Chamber of Commerce.
Working in Asuncion
Q: Did you have a problem getting a work visa/permit for Paraguay?
A: British visitors don’t need visas. If moving here visit the Embassy in London which will assist expats and give full details. The list of requirements looks long but it’s not difficult
Q: What’s the economic climate like in Asuncion, is there plenty of work?
A: There is a very healthy economic climate in Asuncion. It’s set to grow more than 10 percent this year. Free money exchange is available. Soybeans are the main export, and there are no import controls. There are many UK companies here, including BAT, Unilever and HSBC.
Q: How does the work culture differ from home?
A: There is not much change in culture; perhaps a slower pace but it's easy to work here.
Q: How would you rate the education system in Paraguay? What options are there for expat kids?
When we first arrived our children were at school in the UK. But they enjoyed holidays and made many good friends.
There are very good international schools, including American, German and British!
~ Interviewed February 2013
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