Not only is Buenos Aires the largest city, its metropolitan area holds the largest portion of Argentina’s population. With high literacy rates, a sizeable population, and a focus on acquiring English language fluency, Buenos Aires is one of the best places to teach English in South America. In recent years, Argentina has struggled with their failing economy and debt crisis, and has therefore become increasingly aware of the importance of English in the global marketplace. As a result, there are an increasing number of opportunities to teach in Buenos Aires, from young students to professionals and even business executives.
Teaching in Buenos Aires
Although past teaching experience is not necessarily required, some academic institutions do expect English teachers to have a TEFL or TESOL training certificate in order to teach abroad in Buenos Aires. It is no doubt that exciting teaching opportunities abound for those interested in teaching English in Buenos Aires. Although it may take up to four weeks of TEFL courses to obtain certification, once certification is completed TEFL program providers will typically assist teachers in finding English teaching jobs in Buenos Aires. Also worth mentioning, while the ability to speak Spanish is certainly helpful, it is not a prerequisite of teaching in Buenos Aires.
Although Buenos Aires employs local teachers too, most local teachers may not have the ability to work with the students to expand English language skills effectively. The most popular (and sometimes quickest) place to teach English in Buenos Aires is at a private English language institute, which are scattered throughout the city.
It is possible to teach other subjects besides teaching English in Buenos Aires, but you must first need to be licensed in your home country. There are both private and public schools in which you can obtain teaching jobs in Buenos Aires. However, due to the low funding provided to public schools, these students don’t usually have the option of learning subjects such as art or physical education.
On the other hand, private academies and international schools cater to the large expat population that lives in Buenos Aires, and therefore offer curriculum that is somewhat similar to the American school system. In these institutions, the opportunity to teach subjects beyond the basics, such as music and the fine arts, is easier to come by. It is also possible to teach in less formal settings, such as through nonprofit organizations or private tutoring.
Life in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is a cultural and passionate city with historical ties to Western Europe, there is nothing else like it in South America. Although language is the main focus for most teaching jobs in Buenos Aires, teachers must take advantage of this hybrid culture that marries both South American and European influences and experience the non-English speaking side of the city too.
Plaza de Mayo is the heart of Argentina and the symbol of independence for the nation since 1810. People from around Argentina tend to gather in the plaza for massive political protests or demonstrations, as political conversation is prominent in Argentina. As a teacher it is important to understand that the topic of politics is sure to arise during classroom discussions; the porteños find the discussion and deliberation of political ideals as an important aspect of their culture.
Outside of the classroom, you should explore the city and the immense opportunities to engage in a very unique culture. Commuting around Buenos Aires is fairly simple due to the subway that runs until 10 p.m. every night. From Palermo to La Boca, certain neighborhoods play a significant role in Buenos Aires. Palermo is an up and coming neighborhood that thrives on its luscious Botanical Garden, parks, and zoo. It is not surprising that Palermo is sometimes nicknamed Soho, with its trendy stores, restaurants, and high priced housing. As a contrast, be sure to visit La Boca in order to appreciate the social and cultural aspects of Buenos Aires, as the neighborhood maintains its love of soccer, tradition of Tango, and its Italian roots. La Boca remains one of the most vibrant cultural hotbeds in all of Buenos Aires.
If the time in which you eat lunch and dinner has become routine, you may need to adjust your schedule based on the eating habits within Buenos Aires. It is important to remember that lunchtime is ordinarily between midday and 4 p.m. If you miss your later lunch, you may need to wait until 8 p.m., which is when restaurant kitchen service typically resumes.
Salary & Costs
There are quite a variety of financial opportunities for teachers hoping to teach abroad in Buenos Aires. Some teaching jobs in Buenos Aires do not pay a salary, due to the limitations in paid work authorization for non-Argentine citizens, whereas others instead pay a stipend of $2,000 to $3,000, depending on the length of the position. TEFL and TESOL program providers will be limited in the amount of money they can pay program participants during the program; pay rates than to be at a substantially lower amount, closer to $400 or $600 a month.
Clearly, salary for teaching jobs in Buenos Aires will vary depending on the position and institution. Most individuals who teach in Buenos Aires will be paid monthly, instead of hourly, however.
It is important to understand that TEFL and TESOL certification programs are initially expenditures, and will need to be included your monthly budget during your first month or so in Buenos Aires. While the costs of the certificates differ, TEFL certification is most definitely not free, but the potential TEFL jobs you will obtain are, on the other hand, most definitely profitable.
Overall, it is necessary to understand that it will become more difficult to save up any part of your income while simultaneously sustaining an overly comfortable lifestyle while teaching in Buenos Aires.
Accommodation & Visas
Most of the schools where you will be teaching in Buenos Aires do not provide accommodations for international teachers; therefore, it is important to begin searching for apartment rentals in close proximity to your school prior to your departure for Buenos Aires, in most cases. Depending on any financial limitations you may have, it is necessary to understand that living with roommates will be the most inexpensive option. It’s fairly simple to locate apartment rental listings online through many Argentine websites advertising available rentals. As mentioned above, neighborhoods in Buenos Aires differ substantially, thus it is important to conduct research on the locations you are interested in moving to and look at availability to public transportation, average cost of rent, and safety.
Before teaching in Buenos Aires, you should be prepared and understand the required employment sponsorship which will allow you to teach in Argentina. Although not needed for a stay of 90 days or less, it is important to do your research and understand if a visa is needed for your trip. If needed, you can get a workers visa through an Argentine embassy, which should be done in advance, as the preparations for teaching abroad in Buenos Aires can take up to several months to complete. Ensuring all of the necessary forms and paperwork is completed early in the process will allow you to enjoy the experience of teaching abroad far more, and will help to guarantee you are doing it legally.
Benefits & Challenges
Buenos Aires provides a diverse and culturally rich experience for those interested in pursuing a career teaching abroad. With a focus on education, there is a multitude of opportunities to teach abroad in Buenos Aires, and in Argentina as a whole. Here are a few things to keep in mind before teaching abroad to Buenos Aires:
- City Living. Buenos Aires has a bustling nightlife scene with clubs are usually open until the sun rises. If you are interested in living in this city, know that you may be awoken by car honking, loud music, and people in the streets. Know where you are moving to; teachers are up pretty early and having a good night sleep is important for work productiveness.
- Be On Alert. Any big city has its safety concerns, and Buenos Aires is no different. Teachers should be street smart while on their daily commutes (walking or on public transportation). Motorcycle thieves are notorious for snatching bags, so keep your belongings away from the street side. Call ahead for a taxi as much as you can as hailing one on the street can be dangerous at certain times of the day.
- Language Barriers. Although speaking and understanding Spanish is not essential for all teaching jobs in Buenos Aires, it is important to know that outside of the city English is spoken must less frequently and fluently. If you are interested in visiting a more rural part of Argentina, you will most likely need to understand some Spanish to communicate with the locals.