Buenos Aires, also known as the ‘Paris of the South’, is a lively, coastal city. Separated into 48 different barrios (neighborhoods), there are many factions and cultures within Buenos Aires itself. Teachers and expats flock to Buenos Aires, as they quickly learn that the city is full of life at every street corner, cafe, and nightclub. By earning your TEFL certificate in B.A., you will learn about the unique history and flavor of the city, as well as meet new friends - both locals and foreigners - who call this place home.
Photo credit: Juanedc.
In Buenos Aires, there are great TEFL options for teachers looking to stay long-term or only for 4 weeks. With schools becoming increasingly bilingual, and Argentina’s presence in global commerce growing, English teachers are needed in schools now more than ever.
TEFL + Teach:
In Buenos Aires, where most of the Argentine ESL market is concentrated, some teachers will have trouble finding secure jobs on their own due to logistics, such as language barriers or time differences. Today, there are popular and reputable programs that offer a combined TEFL course + teaching placement service. Following a standard 100-hour or 120-hour course (typically offered online), the provider will place teachers in local schools. While program fees may be higher than just a TEFL course, you will have the guidance and support from professionals in the field, who will ensure that you transition smoothly into your new job.
4 Week TEFL Courses:
The ubiquitous 120-hour and 140-hour courses are also very popular in Buenos Aires, where teachers are pushed to buckle down and learn the basics of teaching ESL in only 4 weeks. In general, schools and recruiters will require their teachers to have at least 120 hours of TEFL training from an accredited program. Also, keep in mind that these courses are designed for teachers without any formal training (or experience for that matter), making Buenos Aires an ideal destination for beginner/novice teachers! While these TEFL courses do not offer job placement services, they will provide assistance (i.e. interview tips, online resources, etc.) and sometimes put you in touch with course alumni in the ESL field.
Planning Your Trip
When and Where to Look:
Generally, schools and recruiters will begin their search for teachers in February/March and July/August. Thus, you may want to give yourself about a month or two to complete your TEFL course, before applying and interviewing for jobs in Argentina. Note that the Argentine school year is different than in the States or Europe. The school year typically begins in March and ends in December, before Christmas time. Most contracts will go for 6 months or 12 months, with the possibility to extend at the end of your stay.
While a TEFL certification is not essential for English teachers, it will not only earn you a higher salary and provide a degree of confidence in your teachings. With the teachings of a TEFL course, you will feel at ease in a classroom full of young learners or business professionals on the first day of the job. In addition, if you do not have a college degree, no worries! Most Buenos Aires language schools will not ask that you hold a degree (only large companies - if you are teaching Business English).
Upon completion of your TEFL course, either online or on location in Buenos Aires, you will need to decide what type of teaching job best suits your preferences and classroom style. For those interested in teaching children, you can get placed or apply to jobs in public or private elementary and secondary schools. Most of these local schools will help you to obtain a work visa, through sponsorship, and offer benefits, such as insurance and vacation days.
Another option is to teach at a language school, where you can teach English to younger learners or adults. Some of these schools have multiple branches across the city, which allows teachers to have a flexible schedule teaching at more than one location (as well as a chance to see different neighborhoods of Buenos Aires). In addition, language schools offer various courses, not just standard English classes, such as conversation classes. Thus, these classes often have an informal feel to them, even allowing you to develop friendships with your students and learn about local culture.
Cost of Living:
In Buenos Aires, if you are living on a budget, it is possible to survive on $330-$580 USD per month. Many schools or programs will provide housing, but if they do not, then your monthly expenses may be a bit higher. The neighborhoods of Palermo and Recoleta are very popular among expats and foreign teachers; rent in these areas will set you back anywhere between $600 to $3,000 USD per month. A great way to save money is to look into room shares; some families in Buenos Aires will rent out their rooms at a discounted price, in exchange for your help cleaning or tidying the house.