It is no secret why Argentina has become one of the most sought after countries for people wanting to teach abroad. The beautiful sights and diverse countryside alone are reasons to want to move to this desirable country. English teachers and travelers alike usually find themselves drinking their way through the province of Mendoza, where Argentina’s famous Malbec wine is made. To the south, you can climb glaciers and ski through the Andes Mountains. With so much to see and love, the problem for many people who visit Argentina is that they never want to leave; for these people, teaching English has been a way to stay.
The fact that start-up costs for foreign teachers is less than in Europe, makes Argentina the perfect place to teach English abroad. With the economy steadily climbing, business professionals from all over Latin America are flocking to the metropolis for better job opportunities. Most of these businesses require that their employees learn English, as it is the language of business world-wide.
Private Language Academies/Schools:
The most common jobs you can find teaching in Argentina are through private language academies and schools. These jobs are generally easier to find because academies and schools will list them publicly. They also offer stability in income and work that some teachers look for when choosing to teach abroad.
Most private language academies and schools will be located in bigger Argentine cities, which correlates with both higher salaries and higher cost of living. Some teachers may wish to supplement their teaching income with other teaching activities such as private tutoring.
Another more lucrative way to teach English in Argentina is through private tutoring. In doing this, you will need to go out on your own and seek out students. Usually after you have been in Argentina for a few months, and have made connections, people will be seeking you out for English courses. Everyone wants to learn or practice English, and this is a great way to make some extra money.
With private tutoring, you can earn as much as twice the amount than you would at a private language institute. It is important to note, however, that you don’t have the same stability and assurance of getting paid as you do at a private language institute. For example, if your student cancels on your private lesson, you will not be paid, whereas in the private language institute, you are paid whether they show or not. Usually experiences with private tutoring are very good, and most English teachers will end up doing some private tutoring during their time as a teacher in Argentina.
In a nutshell, more business professionals in an Argentinian city mean more teaching opportunities. Argentina’s capital city of Buenos Aires, has the highest demand while Córdoba follows second. Opportunities elsewhere exist, though more sparsely.
There are two peak hiring seasons that occur each year. The first peak-hiring season is February/ March, and the second is July/August. The typical contract lengths in Argentina are either six or 12 months. It is important to pay attention to the peak hiring seasons, because in Argentina, like in most of Latin American countries, you must be physically in the country and interview face-to-face in order to get the job. If you’re already in Argentina, one place to start looking is The Buenos Aires Herald, an English newspaper that includes ESL job openings in the classifieds sections.
If you do not have any prior teaching experience or a degree in teaching, most private language institutes in Argentina will require you to have a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certification. Schools like to see that you have had some training teaching English as a foreign language. In a good certification course you will learn to get past the language barrier with visual aids, acting, strategic lesson planning, and various games. You will also have a student-teaching element to the course, which will give you teaching experience. Many institutes will only proceed to interview you if you have a certification. In Argentina, it is more important to have experience than to have a degree.
However, many of the private language institutes that focus on business professionals will require that you have some sort of a bachelor’s degree. As for the certification, schools accept both online and on-site TEFL certifications. There are many options for certification. One of which, is the International TEFL Academy is, a well-known TEFL certification school that provides certification and life-time job placement assistance.
Work visas will vary depending on the school. Some schools will help you to get one, while others will be happy to have you work for them under a tourist visa. The tourist visa can be renewed by visiting a nearby country such as Uruguay, which is an hour ferry ride from Buenos Aires. That is what most teachers do. For more information about working visas in Argentina, check out VISA HQ.
Salary & Cost of Living:
Argentina is what is called a “break even” market. This means that by working from about 25 to 35 hours a week, you will make enough to pay for your apartment, food, transportation, and basic living expenses. If you are looking to make extra money, it is best to take on extra hours at your institute, or do some private tutoring. The average monthly cost of living in Argentina is from US $600-800, and the average monthly salary is between US $600-800 US.
They typical salary at a private language institute can be anywhere from US $5–15 an hour. It is important to note that you will be living much like a local, and not a tourist. It is also important to note that you will be paid in Argentine pesos, not American dollars, so the number does fluctuate from time to time.
Classroom & Work Culture:
The Argentine work culture is similar to that in the United States; 8 hour work days starting at 8am and ending at 9pm. This does not mean that your day will be the same. Most private language institutes will hold classes before work, during lunch, after work, and on the weekends. However, some will have regular hours. Classes are typically small. A class with 10 students would be considered large.
In Argentina, like in many cultures in Latin America, men and women alike, greet one another will a kiss on the cheek. Usually handshakes are used when closing a deal of some sorts, or in a very formal situation. All in all, Argentines work hard, but things are typically more relaxed than in the United States, including punctuality.
The interview process in Argentina is also somewhat different that in the U.S. The interviews are short and usually last no longer than an hour. If you get along with the employer and they think you are a good fit for their school, you are hired on the spot and asked to start teaching courses as soon as the following week. Unlike many jobs interviews in the U.S., interviewing in Argentina is not a long, drawn out process, and that is because of the high turn-over rate for English teachers overseas. People typically do not stay past a one year contract, if even for that long. This is not to say that you do not have the option to renew your contract. Many schools prefer that you stay longer; This benefits their school and their students.