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Teach English in Buenos Aires

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Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tango shop.

What job integrates you into a new culture, helps you make friends, and assists others in bettering their lives? Teaching English abroad is one of the few careers offering bonuses and many more. It is a thriving career base for many expatriates in Argentina.

With a population ranked as the second largest in South America, a polyglot gene pool that is an eclectic mix of foreign immigrants (70% of Argentines have a European passport), and a 99% literacy rate, Argentina is an expansive country filled with opportunities for teaching English as a foreign language. There are 30 bilingual educational centers in Buenos Aires alone; the cosmopolitan city is the first urban dwelling in Latin America to institute multilingual public schools. Learning English as a second language is especially common among the young.

The options available to those interested in teaching English vary in Argentina. From private homes hiring a live-in tutor to luxury private schools to adult tourism-based language classes, there is every scenario imaginable for those looking for the teaching experience they want.

Shanie teaching Fabian English at his apartment in Buenos Aires.
Shanie is here teaching Fabian English.

Teaching English in Buenos Aires

The metropolitan, South American city of passion, the "Paris of South America," is usually the first place people consider when considering a move to Argentina. With a population of over 15 million, there is a diverse pool of Porteños (the name given to those living in and around Buenos Aires) looking for help with their English skills, especially from native speakers.

Finding TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) work in Buenos Aires depends upon your tenacity and level of training. Allison Burgess, an American from Waco, Texas, has taught in Buenos Aires since March 2007. For Burgess, finding work was relatively simple, "Finding a teaching job was very easy. Teachers are always needed (in Buenos Aires). And they are always coming and going." However, she does feel that arriving in the city with a background in teaching helped her.

Ronnie, a member of the Buenos Aires Expat Forum member, also used a Buenos Aires certification program to start her teaching career: "I received my certification from EBC (a TEFL certification school) here in Buenos Aires. I didn't look for work before I got it, but found work slowly and steadily once I was certified. I have found most of my jobs through EBC."

Claudia Guershanik, an Argentine who has lived and taught English and Spanish in New York, London, and Buenos Aires, also found work quickly, "It was extremely easy for me because of my experience and qualifications. I had an interview within hours of sending my CV (resume). I have a Masters in teaching English to students of other languages from New York. The more qualifications you have, the better it is to find a well-paid job. And if you are a native speaker of English, it will be very easy to find a job."

Guershanik recommends a few different pathways to finding employment, "…check with major language institutes and universities on the web and walk around leaving your resume…" Another sure way to find students is to get to know your surroundings. With the extensive interest that Argentines have in English, most locals are looking for help with the language. Or they know someone who is.

When it comes to getting paid, the level of certification significantly affects your pay scale. Guerschanik's wage has run the gamut from about $ US5 to $18. She says, "Let's face it, if you decide to become a teacher, you know you won't make millions of dollars!"

If you are new to teaching and hope to gain experience abroad, there is another choice: volunteering. Some programs do not require previous qualifications to participate in their teaching programs. Road2Argentina offers volunteer teaching projects for children in Buenos Aires. Working with children and young people in small groups. IVHQ also offers opportunities for teaching in Buenos Aires. These organizations usually help with your accommodations, often with a host family or shared apartment.

Teaching Options Beyond Buenos Aires

Although Buenos Aires has the largest pool of TEFL jobs in Argentina, there are other locations where you can teach English. Major cities like Mendoza, Salta, and Bariloche are also areas continually looking for native English speakers to assist locals with their foreign language skills. The primary difference is the number of jobs available. There is one bonus to the smaller urban dwellings, however: Due to the need for schools offering TEFL certification outside Buenos Aires, the number of people looking for jobs diminishes greatly.

Bariloche, a bustling city framed by the protected, old-growth forests of Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi, has many schools offering English. The population, which is quickly nearing 150,000 year-round locals, has over a dozen schools that offer TEFL programs to adolescents and children. Bariloche, being Argentina's second most popular travel destination, is also filled with companies that work with English-speaking tourists. The need for English speakers for tourism provides a large pool of local adults looking to practice with a native English speaker.

Ingrid Lundgren — an Iowan native who has taught English in Mexico and Bariloche — not only found a job quickly but was also impressed with the experience overall, "Finding work in Bariloche was very easy. I found the work, in comparison to other teaching jobs, good. I had a lot of autonomy to teach what I wanted, independent of the Teacher's Manual. I had three classes: one for young teenagers at a basic level, one for older teenagers at an intermediate level, and one for advanced teenagers. All were very nice. It was only the class of younger teenagers that got bratty. But that was only for three hours a week. When I look back, my favorite memory is my students. They were all very interesting and friendly people."

As in Buenos Aires, there is a previous level of teacher training for paid positions. Lundgren, who has been teaching for only a year, was able to find a job because of her certification, "It was a necessity to have a TEFL certificate in Bariloche, although I did find some jobs in Buenos Aires that did not require it."

Tricks to Getting the Teaching Job You Want

Whether looking in Buenos Aires or venturing into other areas of Argentina, there are a few tricks to the trade when looking for work. Use the following pointers to help you find the job you deserve:

  • Research and contact as many educational institutions as possible through the Internet first. Look for language school directories, online sources for new schools opening up, and online newspapers for advertisements. Check with Craigslist, as well, for job positions.

  • Have a well-scripted, up-to-date resume to send to possible candidates. It is usually favorable to send a decent photo with the CV.

  • Pick up the phone and call the school to introduce yourself. This forward approach helps the school see that you are serious and shows that you respect their time.

  • If turned down initially, keep a record and follow up by email or phone call a few weeks later.

  • Try to be in Argentina when applying for jobs — it often helps immensely in nailing the job down.

  • Remember to protect yourself when applying for employment; ask about the salary, days your presence is required, whether you must work in various locations, if transportation is included, what type of visas are required, if any, etc.

Teaching English in Argentina can be an awarding experience, even if it pays little (on average US$650-US$1,100). For Burgess, teaching brought great memories and love as well, "I met my boyfriend teaching. He was one of my very first students. We are now planning on marrying." So you never know; the job you took to learn another culture and extend your time abroad may change your life forever.

Teaching Resources for Buenos Aires

TEFL Certification Courses with Placement Assistance for Paid Jobs Teaching English

Teach English in Argentina via ITTT

Teaching Jobs with TeachAway

Buenos Aires Schools that Teach English or are also Taught in English

Top bilingual schools in Buenos Aires

Related Topics
Teaching English in Argentina: Resources
Living in Argentina: Resources and Articles
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Teaching English in Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Living in Buenos Aires: Enjoy a Better Life in the Capital of Argentina
Living Outside the Box in Bariloche, Argentina
Buying Real Estate in Bariloche
Living in Mendoza, Argentina: The Best of Both Worlds

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