Buenos Aires is often referred to as the “Paris of Latin America.” With its rich culture, intricate architecture, and narrow cobblestone streets, it is easy to see the influence European settlers have had on this port town. The city is nestled along the Rio de la Plata in the Northeastern corner of the country and acts as one of South America’s largest ports. Because of this, Buenos Aires is an epicenter of business, finance, and manufacturing, as well as art, music, and literature. There are many opportunities for people looking to experience a vibrant, new culture while gaining professional experience.
Just after the turn of the century, Argentina faced one of the most devastating economic collapses in history. Recovery has been slow but steady, and while inflation remains a problem throughout the country, business in Buenos Aires is thriving. Much of the city’s wealth is derived from the imports and exports moving through the port. It is Buenos Aires’ booming service industry though that brings many expats and interns to the city. Those interested in interning in Buenos Aires can likely find a position in any field. Here are some of the most popular...
- Business & Marketing: As the country's main hub for imports and exports, Buenos Aires is home to many major international and domestic companies and brands. Since the economic collapse, Buenos Aires has seen slow, but steady, business growth, especially in manufacturing. There are many products made, marketed and exported from Buenos Aires, creating lots of internship opportunities for students looking to work with world-class businesses.
- Finance: Ten years after Argentina’s financial crisis, there are many interesting and unique opportunities for interns in Buenos Aires. From working with major financial corporations to teaching basic financial and accounting concepts to aspiring entrepreneurs in economically marginalized communities. Because the majority of the country’s banking and business happens here, there is an array of opportunities for interns.
- Journalism & Media: Buenos Aires is home to many Spanish and English language publications. The city's history of social activism and governmental participation has lent itself to a strong, prominent media. There are lots of opportunities for interns in the public and non-profit sectors, especially those with good Spanish skills.
- Social Development: Despite being a very modern and forward-thinking city, Buenos Aires still sees much social inequality and financial disparity. For those looking to work in the non-profit or social sector, there are countless charities and non-governmental organizations working to improve access to education, healthcare, equal rights. Buenos Aires is a very socially active city, providing many opportunities for prospective interns.
When and Where to Look for an Internship:
There are many avenues one can take in finding an internship in Buenos Aires. It is possible to find these opportunities on your own through various job listings and companies, but many prefer to go through internship placement programs. These programs will not only help you find an internship in your desired field, but also typically offer an orientation upon arrival, pick up and drop off from the airport, cultural excursions, accommodations, and language classes. Most placement programs require a fee for their services, but many interns find that it is worth the extra investment.
It is possible to find internships year-round in Buenos Aires, but many prefer to come during the South American spring and summer (September-March), when temperatures are warmer. However, keep in mind that summer is the rainy season in Argentina and it can often be hot and humid.
Internship opportunities in Buenos Aires vary in duration, however most companies ask for a one to three month minimum commitment, in order to allow time for the intern to become acclimated to the city and the job. Buenos Aires is a huge city that can take some time to get familiar with. Luckily, the city has some of the best public transportation in South America, with a number of easy-to-use buses and subways.
Cost of Living in Buenos Aires:
The cost of living in Argentina, while cheaper than that of North America and Europe, is still considerably higher than most of its South American counterparts. In order to cover rent, utilities, food, transportation, and entertainment (movies, music, dining out, etc.) interns should expect to budget between $725-$1,200 USD per month. A one bedroom apartment in Buenos Aires can range from $425-$700 USD per month.
Work Culture in Buenos Aires:
Etiquette: Porteños, or natives of Buenos Aires, are known to be generally warm and outgoing people. As a foreigner, you will find you are almost always greeted with hospitality and kindness. However, there are some important social customs to know before you arrive.
Greetings: In Buenos Aires, it is common to greet someone and bid someone farewell (man or woman) with a light kiss on the right cheek, especially in friendly or casual situations. In a business setting, it is normal to introduce yourself with a handshake. As you get to know the person or build a more comfortable business relationship, it is appropriate to meet and part with a kiss as well.
Language: Buenos Aires is a modern, thriving metropolis, but do not expect to always be understood in English. Some business people, especially those working in international settings, may know English, but it certainly is not the standard.
Many placement programs include or can help you find intensive Spanish courses. Take advantage of these resources. Even if you are familiar with the language, it can be helpful to take a few courses while in Buenos Aires, as the dialect of Spanish spoken there is very different from any other Latin American country. Expect to hear the grammatical you form ‘vos’ in the place of the typical ‘tu’ or ‘usted.’
- Networking: Porteños value their social and night lives, and care deeply about spending time with and building relationships with those they care about. You will find a loyal and lifelong friend in an Argentinian, so be sure to cultivate those relationships and immerse yourself in the language and the culture. They will be very proud and eager to share their lives with you.
Work and Labor Laws in Buenos Aires
As an unpaid intern, you will not be protected under the same work and labor laws as paid workers. Paid positions require obtaining a work permit, which can be a very long, bureaucratic process. If you are looking for ways to make additional money on the side, inquire with you placement program or consider looking for freelance work.