Teaching English in Buenos Aires

By | January 31, 2014

Buenos Aires is the capital city of Argentina, located on the East coast, just south of the Río de la Plata, which divides Argentina from Uruguay. It also shares borders with Chile, Paraguay, Brazil, and Bolivia.

The Autonomous City of Buenos Aires is the unquestionable center of commerce, culture, education, and entertainment in the whole of the country, as well as being one of the most renowned capitals in all of Latin America. The city itself has nearly 3 million inhabitants, and including the greater metropolitan area, that number reaches 12.8 million.

It’s a hot tourist spot and an absolutely phenomenal city to live in. It’s quite safe in comparison with other Latin American capitals, on the level with most large cities in the world. And on top of there being numerous opportunities for English teachers, there is also a great night life, excellent restaurants, endless entertainment opportunities, and world-class cultural offerings in museums, historical and cultural centers, and universities.

On top of that, Buenos Aires is very cosmopolitan, and the transportation is excellent (there is a subway system, and the buses function all night long), so it’s a very easy city for foreigners to move around in.

Read more about Buenos Aires from Wikipedia.

Why Teach English in Buenos Aires

Argentina

Image taken by Mallory May

The most logical choice for someone looking to teach English in Argentina is Buenos Aires. The country is extremely centralized in this sense, and Buenos Aires really offers teachers everything they need to live happily and comfortably.

Since it is such a common tourist destination, porteños (people from the city of Buenos Aires) are quite used to dealing with foreigners. They are extremely friendly and happy to see visitors enjoying themselves in the city.

There is also a high demand for English as Buenos Aires becomes a hub for outsourcing and international business partnerships. Since many Argentine professionals relocate to Buenos Aires for business opportunities, this is the city with the greatest demand for English teachers. Finally, Argentines are quite keen on traveling, so English becomes a necessity for tourism as well as business.

Where to Teach English in Buenos Aires

There are a great deal of English institutes operating in Buenos Aires, as well as bilingual schools and nanny services. As a start, you can check out larger English institutes like ICANA and Wall Street.

However, many English teachers begin working with smaller institutes. The most common way to work is teaching in-company or private classes. Generally, the institute will provide classrooms for the teacher and student(s) to meet, but some of the smaller ones will ask teachers to go to students’ homes. Since this may not feel comfortable for many teachers, the best bet is to work either in-institute or in-company.

Types of Teaching Jobs in Buenos Aires

Image taken by Mallory May.

Image taken by Mallory May.

Since many smaller institutes are not able to offer a teacher enough classes to fill their entire schedule, it’s common for teachers to work with a couple of different institutes at the same time. Only very large institutes would ask teachers to sign an exclusivity agreement, meaning that they will only work with that particular institute.

There are a few different ways you can teach:

  • In-company
  • In your institute
  • In a bilingual school
  • Teaching private classes in cafés or the students’ homes

By far the most common way to teach is in-company. However, this does mean traveling quite a bit around downtown and the northern sections of the city, where most companies are located.

It’s a very good idea to let your institute know what area of the city you’re living in and request classes close to home. It’s very important not to just accept the first class offering you’re given! Be sure that the schedule, location, pay, and levels are comfortable for you. Also be sure that the institute will properly support you with materials, infrastructure for cancellations and make-up classes, and progress reports for students and Human Resources.

Your job is to teach! The institute should make it easy for you to be an excellent teacher by taking care of all other matters. You will get lots of offers and possibilities, so take your time and choose the options that feel the most comfortable for you.

Teaching Requirements and Qualifications

It is in your best interest to get some sort of certification before looking for teaching jobs in Buenos Aires. Though it is not required, having a TESOL or TEFL certification and some experience teaching English (especially in-company classes, for which there is the greatest demand in Buenos Aires) will go a long way toward allowing you to achieve better positions and schedules, as well as a higher hourly rate or salary.

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Expected Salary and Living Costs

[sociallocker id=”1494″]One thing to keep in mind when considering a move to Buenos Aires to teach English is that the economy is currently going through a difficult moment. The Argentine peso is losing strength against the dollar at the moment, so you should travel to Buenos Aires with some foreign currency until you get on your feet (dollars, pounds, and euro are quite easy to exchange).

You will quickly learn that there is an official exchange rate for dollars as well as an unofficial one (called “dólar blue”). If you do need to buy pesos with your dollars or euro, it is safest to do so in a bank. However, you can get more for them in an unofficial exchange business. But be careful! This is not for beginners, and you should have a trusted Argentine friend help you if you decide to do this.

But really, the idea is to be able to live on your salary! You should be paid at least $70 to $90 pesos per hour for teaching. This is the equivalent of about $8.75 – $11.25 dollars per hour. You really ought not to accept anything under $70 pesos, and this figure rises quite quickly as inflation in Argentina is high (this is an idea for the beginning of 2014).

So, if you work about 25 hours a week, you can expect a monthly salary of $7000 to $9000 pesos (in Buenos Aires, you will be paid monthly), or $875 to $1125 USD. And of course, as you work more, you’ll earn more!

Also due to inflation, rents have been increasing quite a bit over the past few years. As a foreigner, you will need to rent a temporary apartment in dollars. This means that you will have to pay the equivalent in pesos depending on the current exchange rate. Keep in mind that it is difficult to obtain cash dollars in Argentina. Due to governmental controls, services like Western Union cannot legally give you money transfers in dollars, but only in Argentine pesos. It will also be difficult to get dollars from an ATM, so be sure to talk to your landlord or real estate agency so that you can pay your rent in pesos.

To live in one of the nicest neighborhoods, plan to pay between $600 and $1000 USD per month. It’s a great idea to share, and this way you can get your rent down to between $450 and $700 in more posh neighborhoods like Palermo, Belgrano, Recoleta, and Barrio Norte.

For other neighborhoods (which are also quite safe) like Almagro, Villa Crespo, and Caballito, you will pay somewhere between $600 and $900 USD to live alone and $300 to $600 USD to share.

Transportation is fairly cheap. A ride on the subway costs about 45 cents USD, and a bus ride is about 20 cents USD. Set aside $200 USD for food every month and another $200 USD if you enjoy going out to restaurants or for drinks.

Read more about the cost of living in Buenos Aires from Numbeo.[/sociallocker]

Visa Requirements

Image taken by mallory may.

Image taken by mallory may.

Argentina allows many foreigners like Europeans, North Americans (U.S. and Canada), Australians, and members of Mercosur countries, to enter the country for 90 days without a visa. You can check your requirements on Argentina’s Migraciones page

You can ask to have your stay as a tourist increased to 180 days by completing a process with Migraciones, or you can leave the country after 90 days and re-enter. Most teachers work with on their tourist visas. If you want something more permanent, you should talk to your employer about a work visa.

Do keep in mind that Australians, U.S. citizens, and Canadians must pay a reciprocity fee of $160 USD upon entering Argentina. This fee covers you for ten years, and you will not have to pay again no matter how many times you enter and exit Argentina during that time.

How to Find a Job Teaching in Buenos Aires

To find more English teaching possibilities, you can check the local craigslist page (which is used by many expats and employers of international professionals) or local job search pages

The local pages do tend to be in Spanish. Though you don’t need to speak Spanish to have a successful and fulfilling teaching experience in Buenos Aires, this skill will, of course, help you to relate to your students and make friends while you’re living abroad!

In fact, there are many services that teach Spanish for foreigners, which is a very common place for English teachers and other foreigners to form relationships while they improve their Spanish. You can also look into free language exchanges, which is becoming increasingly popular in the city.

Why You Should Choose Buenos Aires

The city is simply amazing. Its architecture, cuisine, extremely different neighborhoods (each really has its own character), tango music, night life, cultural and entertainment offerings, and the wonderful porteños will enchant you. Try drinking mate and eating asado with your new friends; take your students’ advice on bars, restaurants, and night clubs you should check out; take advantage of the large expat community and opportunities to learn Spanish; and don’t miss the chance to take your vacations within Argentina, where you’ll find some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.

If you want a lively, exciting, fun, cultured experience teaching English abroad, Buenos Aires is the city for you!

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