Córdoba, Argentina is more than just a provincial city. Sitting on the foothills of the Sierras de Córdoba, the charming city is known for cuarteto music, a thriving arts and culture scene and locals’ singsong Spanish, known as la tonada cordobesa. The city is home to the National University of Córdoba, the first university established in Argentina and the fourth oldest in the continent.
English teachers who live in Córdoba have the opportunity to experience this unrated, less traveled city. You’ll find a diminished personal space bubble and a friendliness that makes strangers seem like friends. It’s common to grab a drink with a new friend and end up talking until the bar closes. With less expats living in Cordoba than Buenos Aires, you’ll have the chance to focus on language skills and cultural immersion.
With so many language academies and university students eager to learn and practice English, there’s plenty of both formal and informal jobs available for English teachers.
The most jobs available for English teachers in Córdoba are at private language academies throughout the city. Hours are around 20-25 hours a week, so it’s common for teachers to work at more than one academy.
Many language academies hold classes in the mornings and evenings, so English teachers have the chance to teach private classes in their free time. Salaries at private academies tend to be higher than a public school but lower than private tutoring. However, the work is consistent and guaranteed. Contracts usually last six months or a year depending on the academy. Note that is likely you’ll be teaching adults and business professionals.
Private tutoring is a great way to earn extra income. In Córdoba, teachers will find demand from everyone from young students needing test preparation, college students wanting to practice conversation and tech professional looking for industry-specific training. Unlike private academies, it takes more work to secure private tutoring jobs, but the payoff is higher. Most teachers are contracted by word of mouth and recommendations, so until you establish a good reputation in the community, websites like tusclases.com and Craigslist are great places to advertise your services.
It’s important to note that there is little job security with private tutoring, and students often cancel last minute. It’s a good idea to have students pay by month or still charge for missed classes to avoid losing out on income from cancellations.
It’s not unheard of for English teachers to secure jobs in a public school, but the process is far more difficult. The pay is much lower than working in private academies and tutoring. For teachers interested in this option, it’s best to establish yourself in Córdoba and make connections once you’re there.
When & Where to Look for Jobs
Most hiring takes place in February and March, but many English teachers successfully find employment at any point during the year. The easiest way to find a job is by approaching language academies in person and presenting a resume. Nearly all hiring is done face-to-face. The hiring process is relatively quick and more informal than many overseas teachers are used to.
Qualifications Teacher Usually Need
Most language academies will require you to have a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certification, especially if you don’t have prior experience. A BA is often not required but an added plus. However, because English is high in demand and there are many informal tutoring opportunities, it is common for teachers without a BA or teaching certification can still find work.
However, it is important to note that while there are many teaching opportunities in Cordoba, it is a more competitive market than Buenos Aires, so the more qualified you are, the better.
Teachers interested in working in public schools should have a BA, TEFL and teaching experience.
In Argentina, Americans are known as norteamericanos, or more pejoratively, yanquis, and calling themselves Americans might elicit debates about imperialism and identity. Some Argentines might oppose learning English for political reasons, but typically adults who enroll in language academies will be eager to learn. It's typical for students to drink yerba mate and pass it around the class - if they offer it to you, accept it and make sure to respect the drinking etiquette!
Salary & Cost of Living
Córdoba's relaxed spirit and low cost of living of living make it a great place for English teachers to take advantage of the social life the city offers. Totaling an average of between $600-1200 a month, housing, eating out and transportation are all inexpensive in Córdoba.
On the other hand, salaries are considerably lower than many destinations, including Buenos Aires. Working full time, teachers can expect to take home around $600. In Córdoba, English teachers are more likely to break even than save money. Supplementing your language academy teaching with private tutoring will increase a teacher’s ability to save, as depending on certifications and experience many teachers can make around $8-20 an hour private tutoring.
Because you won’t get hired until you arrive in Córdoba, you won’t be reimbursed for flights. Argentine schools and language academies don’t offer healthcare or pay for housing as might be common in other teaching destinations. Make sure to have enough money when you arrive to support yourself while you search for a job and wait for your first paycheck.
Visas & Sponsorship
As there is a high turnover rate for most English teachers in Córdoba, many academies will feel comfortable allowing you to teach while on a tourist visa instead of helping you get a work visa. In that case, teachers will need to make a ‘visa run’ every 90 days. Many go to Uruguay or Chile.
Classroom & Work Culture
Argentina is known as a relaxed nation, where punctuality is loosely adhered to and work attire can include denim. In the classroom, expect students to be vocal and eager to participate. The formalities between teachers and students, especially if your students are adults, will be less rigid than other countries. Your students might greet you with the customary greeting, a kiss on both cheeks. It's not uncommon for students to arrive late, take phone calls in class or whisper to a classmate.