Argentina is an ideal teach abroad destination in South America for teachers who love outdoor adventure and are looking for relatively low start up costs, in becoming an international English teacher. Many English teaching jobs in Argentina have been created in response to a demand from the hospitality community, because they want to be able to better serve annual foreign tourists. Even with relatively modest wages, the quality of life in Argentina for those teaching abroad is high. Those who choose to teach abroad in Argentina will be welcomed by a community of other international teachers and expats in almost every location.
The hands down top location for teaching jobs in Argentina is Buenos Aires. As the capital city, many business people are looking to learn English, and there are a plethora of private language schools. For teachers who want to live in a big city that offers dancing, music, theater, art, sports, and other entertainment, Buenos Aires is an ideal destination. You’ll also find a good amount of other foreigners living in Buenos Aires.
Other locations around Argentina that offer teaching positions include small cities such as Mendoza and Cordoba, as well as smaller towns such as Rosario, Bariloche, Tucuman, and Mar de Plata. These towns and cities have fewer opportunities than Buenos Aires, however there are fewer individuals seeking teaching jobs in these destinations. Depending on your location and lifestyle, smaller cities outside of the capital will also offer a lower cost of living than Buenos Aires.
Most of the teaching positions in Argentina are English teaching jobs. The main times for hiring are February and March, as well as another round in July and August. Most teaching jobs are either half a year or a full year. It is important to be on the ground in Argentina during hiring times, in order to be a competitive candidate for teaching jobs.
In very rare scenarios, usually if you are able to teach a specialized subject and are already certified, you may get hired ahead of time and then be able move to Argentina to teach English. However, most English teachers make the move, network, and interview before landing a teaching job in Argentina. Although, there is a large market for teaching English in Argentina, it’s just a matter of getting in front of the right person.
As an international teacher you can expect to find jobs at both private and public schools, as well as private language institutions. In local schools, teachers will work with children or teenagers, either teaching their own classes or assisting local teachers.
The classroom culture in Argentina is very different than in the United States. In general, there is less structure, and punctuality is not as highly emphasized. Depending on the instruction students have experienced in the past, they might not know much English and could be very shy about speaking it. In some cases the children may have only heard native English speakers in TV shows, songs, or movies.
Individuals who teach English at language institutes will work mostly with adults, many of whom are extremely motivated in learning the language. Classes at a private institute may have varying hours throughout the day and even take place on the weekends, since these are tailored for people who may already have full-time jobs or families. Expect to have some set hours but also be flexible in your schedule.
Salaries & Costs
Argentina is a “break even” country for teaching abroad, meaning your monthly salary will be pretty close to your monthly expenses. This obviously depends on your lifestyle, so those who are incredibly frugal may be able to pocket a little money each month, while ones who like to live large should probably bring some extra cash. As a teacher in Argentina you can expect to make between $700 to $900 per month. Some teach abroad programs include room and board or even a homestay, so expect a much smaller salary, closer to $60 a month.
Working for private English schools can be a good way to balance earning an incoming while still having time to explore and travel, as you will give lessons for 20 to 25 hours per week. Be sure to understand the full process for getting paid from your employer - some institutes require a tax ID number or for you to get the check from a bank, which can be a process. In the majority of cases, you will be responsible for flights to and from Argentina too.
Some teachers choose to give private English lessons to supplement their income. This is an excellent option but requires networking and self-promotion in order to get clients. For both private lessons as well as regular classes, be sure to consider that there will be travel and prep time that are not technically counted as hours of lessons, so keep this in mind with your actual hours worked. If you’re hoping to teach in Argentina, plan to be thrifty and live more like the locals compared to other tourists if you expect to live only off the wages from teaching.
Accommodation & Visas
Some teach abroad programs have housing built in to their fees, however, in general foreign teachers live with other teachers in shared apartments. Sometimes obtaining a long-term apartment in big cities can be challenging for foreigners as the owners may require a half-year payment up front. If you are open to living with a local roommate this can be an excellent option, as you are not responsible for communicating with the landlord and can pay each month rather than up front.
Most schools hire teachers on a tourist visa, however some will help their teachers obtain an official work visa. If you have a tourist visa you will need to exit the country every three months to renew the visa (there is a 90 day maximum). If you are working for a language school you will most likely not be obtaining a workers visa.
Benefits & Challenges
Competitive Market. Landing a job in Argentina can be difficult. With a capital city that’s considered the Paris of South America, and a high volume of tourists and travelers who visit and decide they could live in Argentina, the teaching job market is competitive. However, with some flexibility and networking, it’s possible to find a job teaching in Argentina.
Prerequisites. Some language schools require a TEFL certification too, and having one can greatly increase your likelihood of getting hired for any teaching program in Argentina.
Way of Life. The country is welcoming of foreigners and teachers can live relatively comfortably on a local salary, and students are polite and interested in learning.