Steak, steak, and more steak, please. It is no secret that Argentina is home to some of the world’s best beef, which is of course accompanied by the captivating gaucho culture. Argentina´s extreme biodiversity will leave you speechless as it ranges from jungles, to deserts, to glaciers, and to farmlands, all of which are equally stunning. The capital city of Buenos Aires is home to roughly 3 million people (about 15 million make up the province of Buenos Aires) and is marked with a strong European influence, deeming it the, “Paris of South America.” The affluent people, exciting nightlife, local cuisine, and of course the passionate dance of Tango will have you busy until the early hours of the morning.
Argentina draws people from all over the world searching for their own unique adventure. Weather it be scaling mountains in Patagonia, wine tasting in Mendoza, or dancing the night away in Buenos Aires, the country has something to offer everyone, and will undoubtedly leave a notable impression.
With a country the size of Argentina, it comes as no surprise that there are plenty of possibilities to intern in a wide variety of fields. Argentina's economic success and devastation, as well as a history marked by dictatorship, both bring about incredible opportunities focused on human rights and youth development. Medical advancements are also on the rise, which make for amazing possibilities to shadow doctors, and of course the country's unique biodiversity allows for those seeking environmental work to take part in this incredible country as well.
The city of Buenos Aires is the hub of opportunity for medical, human rights, and youth development, while the southern region of Patagonia plays the largest role for environmental development and preservation.
Argentina's incredible landscape provides opportunities across the country that focus on sustainability and improvement of the specific ecosystems. Both population and industrial growth add to the already known problems of poor water and air quality. In general, these two along with, soil degradation, and deforestation are the main issues that non-governmental organizations seek to resolve. The abundance of environmental work is located in the southern Patagonia region, but that does not mean the north should be discounted as the Misiones area is a prime location for work regarding water quality, as well as major cities along the coast.
Most internships are available through non-profit organizations, and can also be found through third party organizations that arrange the placement of the prospective intern.
- Health Care:
Health care opportunities in Argentina provide interns with a firsthand look at typical Argentine practices as well as an understanding of the health care system in a developing country and the challenges that accompany this. Both clinical and research roles are available in private and state-funded hospitals as well as private care clinics.
Pre-med and nursing students have an abundance of opportunities to shadow both doctors and nurses, which will expose them to Argentine protocol, equipment, and interactions with patients.
Spanish fluency is generally not required, but an intermediate level of comprehension is preferred. Most medical internships are organized through third party companies that arrange placement based on specific desires and abilities of prospective interns.
- Human Rights:
Argentina's dark past marked by dictatorship and human rights abuse during the Dirty War has created an absolute focus on the preservation of human rights. The city of Buenos Aires houses the majority of these opportunities, and provides unique experiences to learn about the haunting past as well as see the resilience and strength of the people as they fought for change.
Internships can be found through local non-profit organizations, third party organizations that place prospective interns depending on skills, as well as by contacting your country's consulate that is located in Buenos Aires.
- Youth Development:
Argentina has seen its ups and downs in terms of economic success, but the crash in 2001 destroyed families and left hundreds of thousands of people with literally nothing. Following this, the slums in the city of Buenos Aires nearly grew overnight as many people were left with no other option. The slums, or villas, as they are called in Argentina, are home to people that saw the worst effects of the crash and were unable to regain economic stability.
There is also a high population of foreigners mostly from Bolivia, Peru, and Paraguay. Children of the villas have limited education, and live in an unstable and often violent environment. Because of this, many non-profit organizations were created to give aid to the families with children, providing a way for the children to experience a bit of hope for their future. Most opportunities to intern with a youth development organization can be found in the city of Buenos Aires.
Youth development internships are found through local non-profit organizations or by contacting your country´s consulate that is located in Buenos Aires.
Need to Know
When and Where to Look for an Internship:
Internships in Buenos Aires are available year-round; medical, youth development, and human rights internships can always be found and will commonly last 3 months to a year. The size and development of Buenos Aires allows it to host the most internships of these sorts as compared to other cities in Argentina.
Those interested in environmental work should plan for the Summer and early Spring (December-April in the Southern Hemisphere). Temperatures are more moderate during this time, especially in the southern region of the country.
Cost of Living in Argentina:
In general, Argentina is an affordable country to live in, but costs do vary depending on the region. The city of Buenos Aires will host the most opportunities, thus, it is important to be aware of the ever changing inflation rates. In the last few years, prices in the city have nearly doubled, but in general, foreigners will still find it fairly simple to live a comfortable life without sacrificing too much of the extras, such as going out to eat and enjoying the nightlife of the city. Visitors should expect to budget between US$800-1000/month for food, housing, and transportation. Renting a room, costs on average around US$250-450 per month, depending on location.
Work Culture in Argentina:
Similar to other Latin American countries and parts of Europe, it is customary to greet and say goodbye to friends, family, and coworkers with a kiss on the right cheek. This is also customary when meeting someone for the first time.
It is customary for business men and women as well, but in extremely formal cases a handshake may be appropriate. In general, a kiss is always expected when greeting and when leaving, but don't worry, it does not need to be a big smooch, just a simple touch to the cheek will suffice.
Spanish in Argentina is notably different than any other Latin American country. The heavy Italian influence plays a big role in this as the accent and way of speaking became engrained into the Spanish.
Argentina uses the form of vos, instead of the informal tú. When using vos, verbs are conjugated differently for the informal you and the last vowel is stressed with an accent. You will also notice a difference in pronunciation with both the "ll" and "y", both sounding like "shya."
Use of usted (the formal you) is fairly common, but not always used. In a formal business setting, or when talking to elderly, it is advised to use the usted form when addressing someone.
English is quite common in any of the big tourist destinations and especially in the city of Buenos Aires. Even with no Spanish background, it is easy to get around and feel comfortable, but then again it is always a good idea to learn a few key phrases and words.
In general, Argentines are warm and friendly people. Argentines are a community centered society, so many opportunities for future work or volunteering will arise just by talking to people. Take advantage of the friendliness and do not be afraid to ask people for advice to help your networking.
Work and Labor Laws in Argentina
As long as the internship is unpaid, labor laws in Argentina will not apply to most interns. If the internship requires more than 3 months, a work visa will be necessary, which will most likely be sponsored by the company or organization that offers the internship.
Why Intern in Argentina?
Argentina is a beautiful country filled with incredible natural wonders as well as a rich history of the people. The diversity of the terrain also creates diversity in the people and regions of the country, making each province as unique and wonderful as it's neighbor. Surrounded by friendly people, learning Spanish is quite easy as you are able to build confidence without feeling intimidated to speak, and the melodically spoken Argentine accent will distinguish you from other parts of the Latin world as it is extremely identifiable. Argentina offers something for everyone with its bustling cities and natural beauty; it is a gem that should not be ignored.