10 Things To Know About Teaching English In Buenos Aires Argentina

Here is some honest and truthful advice to anyone who is considering teaching English in Buenos Aires Argentina.

10 Things To Know About Teaching English In Buenos Aires Argentina.

1. It helps to have a TEFL degree and a TEFL degree will cost you $1500 USD. The course is located in Buenos Aires and will last 4 weeks. It is intensive training about how to teach, however “what” you teach will take you some time to learn. You will have to re teach yourself English. The TEFL degree is not necessary to get jobs teaching English in Buenos Aires but it will improve your odds of finding work by more than 50%. And it can be used all over the world.

2. If you need to teach English to survive, you are going to be poor and to be honest, it is almost impossible to only teach English and survive in Buenos Aires. The pay scale is still 15 – 20 pesos per hour. However that “hour” does not account for preparation time and travel time. Think of each hour you are paid for as 2 -3 hours of work on your part. At best, you may work 6 “hours” a day but it will actually require more like 12 hours on the job and on a good day you may make 90 pesos. Please do the math for your rent and your pay before you consider teaching English in Buenos Aires as a “real” job.

3. Working for language institutes. The quickest way to begin teaching English in Buenos Aires is by working for language institutes. If you graduate from EBC with your TEFL degree, you will be given a list of language institutes in Buenos Aires to work for. It’s a good idea to start contacting these folks and start setting up interviews. Many of these schools are terrible. Some will try not to pay you at all, while others will pay you a percentage, and some will take taxes of 11% from you while others do not. In order to get enough hours for me to make just enough money to survive in Buenos Aires, I had to work for 5 language schools for the first several months until they felt comfortable with me and then I stuck with 3 schools. Some were better than others and I noticed the smaller schools tended to be more organized. But even those are over managed and sloppy. There are more bad language schools than good ones so when you go to an interview, make sure to interview them too.

4. Getting your paycheck will require some extra steps. Typically, a language institute in Buenos Aires will pay you at the end of the month. They will give you a check and you will have to go to the bank that it was issued from and stand in line, show your passport and collect the money. This takes about an hour and a half and is one more thing you have to do that you will not be paid for. This is illegal too if you do not have a tax ID however the bank will still cash the check. Some schools will not hire you unless you have a tax ID while others will. Getting a tax ID for teaching English in Buenos Aires is a process of first having a police man come to your home and sign a paper saying you live there, then going to a government office and asking for a factura or tax ID. Many people are denied for whatever reason. Many people simply choose never to get one and just work “under the table” however if you choose this, many schools will deduct 11% to pay the taxes for you.

5. Travel Time– Most language schools you will be working for in Buenos Aires will send you to teach at the student’s office. The time it takes you to travel there will not be compensated for. Most of the students work in the Microcenter so if you don’t live near there, you will spend a lot of time of buses or in the subte. Forget a taxi because a teacher’s salary cannot afford it. Typically I took about 6 buses a day and learning which bus went where took some time. Get a Giat (bus Schedule) Some schools will want to send you out to an office away from the city. They may schedule a remiss (taxi) for you to be picked up in and taken 45 mins somewhere, and then back. Although they will pay for this, the time it takes is not compensated for.

6. Being a teacher in Buenos Aires requires doing stuff you don’t get paid for. In addition to travel time, and spending an hour at the bank picking up your paycheck, there are other things you have to do that you won’t get paid for. Like spending time to plan your lessons. For me, a 2 hour lesson requires 40 mins of preparation time. Also, you will want to work out a policy for photocopies since most of the students don’t have books, you will have to photocopy the lesson from a book. Or you may want to print out something from the Internet, which costs 50centavos per page. Not cheap. Photocopies are 10-15 centavos. Also, the language schools often have bi monthly teachers meetings about testing and other things. This will require a few more hours you won’t be paid for. And if you are required to grade homework or tests for finals, then add more hours you are not on the clock. It adds up. You may well be very very busy with very little money.

7. The Students are great. Although teaching English in Buenos Aires does not pay well, there are other rewards such as meeting very interesting and successful people from a different culture that want to know more about your culture. If you teach for institutes, then many of the students will work for large companies and be excellent students because their livelihood requires it. Students are typically very polite however they can often be extremely busy and many classes will be canceled, meaning you may not get paid for the time. Chances are you will find one or two students that you click with and make long lasting friendships. It’s almost like getting paid to meet people and sightsee.

8. Working hours of an English teacher in Buenos Aires. Typically you are on call from 8am – 8pm Monday through Friday. You may teach a morning class, then an afternoon class then an evening class at three different locations. Classes range in time from an hour to 4 hours. (I have found that an hour and a half is perfect.) These are subject to cancellation at the last minute. You may be asked to substitute for another teacher at the last minute also. You will get holidays off but you may not know when they are. You can always tell a holiday if you wake up and don’t hear the deafening sound of buses and street noise. Many students do not take classes in the summer months because it’s simply too hot in the office buildings. You may get a few months of very little work during Dec, Jan and Feb.

9. Others places to teach English in Buenos Aires. The quickest and easiest way to find work as an English teacher in Buenos Aires is to work for the language institutes. However I have never met anyone who actually enjoyed them. Some of them can be very nasty and difficult to deal with. There are other options. Acquiring private students to teach will double your income and give you twice as much freedom. You can charge 30 pesos per hour, which is what the institutes are charging and you can set up your own syllabus. Some teachers end up working for a private school in the suburbs and teach children for about 2 – 3,000 pesos per month. And other teachers find one mega client like a bank or a small business and you can teach all the employees there everyday. The view of most teachers is that if you are still teaching English for the institutes full time after 6 months, you are doing something wrong or you don’t need money.

10. Very few people take it seriously. There are 2 kinds of English teachers. Native teachers and non-native. The Non Native English teachers take the job serious and have studied half of their life to learn how to do it. Most of them are excellent teachers. The native teachers are just passing though and often don’t prepare well for classes, or concern themselves with the job. However the students simply enjoy the chance to just converse with a native. But, sooner or later, if you don’t take it too seriously, you may be fired. But in the end, just showing up on time is 70% of teaching English in Buenos Aires Argentina.

Because of all this, many people start teaching English in Buenos Aires and soon discover the pay is poor and there is little time to do anything or any money to do it. And the last thing you feel like doing is learning another language. Out of the 7 people I got my TEFL degree with, only one was still teaching English full time a year later.

This article about the ten things everyone should know about teaching English in Buenos Aires Argentina, was written by Tom Wick who lives in Buenos Aires Argentina and has been an English teacher for several years as well as an expert travel guide and Argentina travel consultant. If you would like more information about teaching English in Buenos Aires Argentina, please contact Tom at:

tangohistorytours@gmail.com

Many people write to me asking more questions about teaching English in Buenos Aires which is great. But here is a letter that may answer some more of your questions.

Hi Nick,

Thanks for writing again and providing all your personal info.

The simple truth is that teaching English for the Language Institutes in Buenos Aires is not a good situation. It’s where most foreigners work at first because the legalities can be bypassed and almost anyone can get hired.  But if you do the math, you can clearly see that you can’t make enough money to live on, and the institutes don’t always treat teachers very well. For the majority of native English teachers, they don’t need money, and plan on spending 3 -6 months in town and these institutes are a decent way to experience the culture. But ask anyone who has been there longer than 3 months, and you will get sharp hatred about it.

The other thing to know if you are going to be in Buenos Aires for a year, is that the diet is limited. The menu’s are almost all the same, no spicy food, mostly Italian, and some Spanish food. After awhile, everyone starts to complain about the limited types of food in the grocery stores and restaurants. So I’m just warning you.

A couple other warnings for you. Trying to rent a long term apartment as a foreigner is going to be difficult. It is the #1 most difficult thing about living in Buenos Aires for an extended time. Most landlords won’t rent to foreigners unless you pay 6 months upfront. If this is not an issue for you, then no problem, but after you have lived there 6 months, you may had difficulty coming up with another 6 months down payment. Some people I know just bought an apartment, but that can be a little tricky too. Some people just bounce around in the monthly rentals (like bytargentina.com) but they are 3 times the price the locals pay and on a teachers salary, it’s not an option. I found a crappy place that someone had just been murdered in, and cut a deal with the landlord to fix it up. It’s possible to find landlords like that, but it’s going to take lots of time searching. Or you can roomate with a local and bypass all the trouble.

The other warning I have is that the quality of life in Buenos Aires is low. I slowly began to see that and then I really saw it. It’s a city of 16million people. Pollution is the norm and some people have trouble breathing after awhile. It’s very loud, very hectic and very busy. Usually a year of it is no big deal but 2 or 3 and it can drive you crazy.

So, I just wanted to let you know about these things in advance. Now for teaching. My advice is to work for the private (not public) high schools or grade schools in the suburbs. These schools are bi-lingual and almost all the teachers are Argentine. They need native teachers who are willing to commit for a year, which is rare. You may teach English, and math in English, and even science in history at the high schools. Or something more simple at the grade schools. The pay is about 2000-3000 pesos per month but you will make more if you offer private lessons after school. Lots more! Finding a job at one of these requires you to search for them in the phone book and newspaper. San Isidro is the richest suburb and I would start there, find the private bi lingual schools by calling and asking. Put together a resume and go for the interview. Always dress in a suit. Dressing well in Argentina goes a long long way.

The best time to find these jobs is now before the next school season begins. Also, if you are hired by a real school, you may get a real work visa, and if you do, finding a place to live will be much easier.

Do you need a TEFL? Well, that’s a difficult question. I got one because I was worried about finding a job. But looking back, it was a big waste of money in many ways. In Buenos Aires, the TELF program at EBC is $1500 for a one month intense class. It’s decent but certainly over priced. In many ways, it’s a teacher factory for all the evil English Institutes that cater to business people. I went through all that, along with others, only to discover  it’s a dead end.

But getting a TEFL surely will help you get a job at the private suburban schools. However, I have known many teachers who did not have one who got a job anyway. They did have some prior teaching experience though.

Also, getting a TEFL at EBC in Buenos Aires will give you local contacts for your future employer to call which is a good thing.

It’s up to you. If it were me, doing it again, I might try to bluff my way first. Go directly to the private suburban schools and try to get a job and perhaps embellish about prior experience. If it fails, well, spend the money and a month to get your darn TEFL. I can tell you that getting the TEFL is all about how to teach, more than what you will be teaching. So if you already think you know how to teach, then skip the TEFL.

Getting a TEFL outside Argentina would defeat the purpose of gaining local references.

Wow, this is getting long. Sorry about that. Just one more warning. Although the people of Buenos Aires are very nice and very down to earth, they are shrewd in business and there is a reputation of not always treating foreigners working there well. So be careful. But most of the time, I found I was treated very well so long as I worked hard and did what I was asked.

Well, I hope all this gives you some clues to navigate by. You won’t make a whole lot of money in Argentina, but you will explore a whole new culture and that is priceless.

Bueno Suerte

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31 Responses to “10 Things To Know About Teaching English In Buenos Aires Argentina”


  1. 1 Christine S Cleavest July 17, 2007 at 2:58 am

    Thank you so much for your honesty. I have a Bachelor degree in Sociology (minor in Latin American Studies)and I am currently enrolled in a TESOL certification course in New York. My goal was to go to BA in 2008 and teach. I appreciate all the information I can get my hands on. Again thank you

  2. 2 tangotours November 7, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    Teaching English in Buenos Aires Argentina. Here is another letter asking for more info about the TEFL in Buenos Aires Argentina.

    Hi!

    It was very interesting reading the information that you have provided about teaching in Buenos Aires.
    I am currently a primary school teacher. I have worked in London as a teacher for about 3 and a half years now. I am hoping to head to Argentina in February and stay for 6 months to a year (travelling to other countries nearby in that period too).

    I am writing to you to ask your opinion on several things…

    1. Do you think I should spend time and money on a TEFL course either here or in Buenos Aires in order to have a good chance of getting any work over there.
    2. If I am not planning to work the whole time I am there is it worthwhile doing a TEFL or do you think i should try to apply for jobs in the private sector when im there (or before) on my own merit??

    I have a million and one other questions about Buenos Aires but these are the ones that I need to really find out about first. If you can advise me in any way that would be hugely helpful!!

    Thanks,

    Caroline

    MY REPLY

    Hi Caroline,

    Thanks for writing.

    Because of your experience, you do not need the TEFL. However you will still need to find work. 9 out of 10 Language Institutes in Buenos Aires are not too fun to work for. They work you hard, and you don’t get paid much at all. This is why the turn over rate is so high. It’s pretty easy to get jobs at these places, but you will have to research the schools themselves. They all are located downtown and cater to business people.

    I got my TEFL in BA, and they gave me a list of about 300 langauge institutes. In fact, the TEFL program at EBC in Buenos Aies is simply a teacher factory for these evil language institutes. Skip it.

    Look in the phone book and just start to go on interviews. Always dress nice and make sure you size them up, there are a ton of bad ones.

    Most of the time, you will want to lie and say you are going to be very available, even if you plan on traveling a lot. You can’t just travel at whim in these teaching jobs but you can control some of your time and get substitutes.

    I also always advise to do the math first and make sure your finances are in order. If this is not a concern for you, then there is little to worry about. If it is a concern, know that you won’t actually be making enough to live on for about 6 months.

    Hope that helps. Ask me anything you want.

  3. 3 Ericka Schmidt March 27, 2009 at 5:42 am

    Hi! I am seriously interested in teaching English in Buenos Aires, Argentina however after reading your “10 things to know about teaching English in Buenos Aires Argentina”, has disheartened me greatly. I don’t have any experience teaching English in a foreign country so my first thought was that I would get TEFL certified. After reading your list I question whether it is worth the time and money to even become TEFL certified if it will not improve my odds at 1. getting a job 2. make any money 3. get taken advantage of. I realize that traveling, teaching, or working in a foreign country will be a lot of work, which I am willing and ready for. But again, I must admit that your blog, or list makes me second guess the advantages of working in Argentina. If I do not take a TEFL course and am currently residing outside Argentina, do I have any chance of getting hired in the suburban schools by sending my resume from the states? Do you have any advice for a complete novice at teaching in a foreign country, other than what you have already provided above? Thanks for any help you can provide me.

  4. 4 smith March 27, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Thanks for your email. If you want to teach English in any foreign country, getting your TEFL is the right way to go about it. It will speed things up a great deal and give you confidence when looking for work, plus you have access to contacts and recommendations about potential teaching schools. However in Argentina, it is not totally necessary. Teaching English in Asia pays very well and you can actually save money. There is usually a year or 2 contract involved and most jobs are teaching children in schools. Getting those jobs in Asia usually require you to go there first, have a one on one interview, and then you may get a visa, return home, and come back.

    You are right to be concerned about working in Argentina. If money is not an issue, then Argentina makes a great 3 -6 month place to teach, and you can get by without the TEFL. If the only money you have is the money from teaching, Argentina is a very difficult experience. It’s possible to make it happen, but you won’t have money to travel, and you will live in poverty. As for the suburb gigs that do pay well, I would not count on them until after being around for about a year. The only sure thing is that there is plenty of opportunity to teach in Argentina, but it does not pay well, and the schools rarely treat teachers well.

    My advice is to skip Argentina and try a richer country. Even Brazil pays twice as well. You can get your TEFL anywhere, and use it anywhere. Buenos Aires is a cheap place to live while getting your TEFL.

    Best of luck, and make sure to do your research and do the math first. I really enjoyed teaching English in Buenos Aires for about 6 – 9 months. But it was extremly difficult to just make enough to survive on. My students were fantastic and gave me lots of respect. But eventually I had to change professions just to save enough money for a plane ticket home.

  5. 5 JT April 9, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Wow! I signed up for the EBC Tefl course (starting on the 20th) and I certainly wished I had read this first. Thank you so much for this information. My goal was to go to Asia or Brazil anyway, but now, I am already putting the word out. I am here now, and have been here before, but you are so right on certain things i.e. – the food – you want to eat something other than parilla – you better learn how to cook. You can find chile peppers in most vegetable stands, but if you come from someplace diverse oh – like California – pack all of the Asian/Indian/Mexican (oh – mexican food) products you can. You can buy clothes once you get here, but tortillas or coconut milk – phsst – good luck.

  6. 6 Jennifer May 13, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    Hi Nick,

    I am an ESL teacher in California and have been one for the last 14 years. I am currently getting my MATESOL at San Francisco State University and want to teach in Argentina at some point, and then come back here!

    What kind of money can I make with my experience and with a Masters in TESOL, and where can I work?

    Can you point me in a direction as far as looking for jobs in Argentina while still in the states? Can you direct me to any good websites for this?

    Thanks so much for your help!
    Jennifer

  7. 7 Teresa June 21, 2009 at 12:37 am

    Hi…

    Thanks for all the info about teaching in Buenos Aires. It’s pretty much what I expected to hear although I must say I was a little surprised to hear that most teaching institutes do not treat teachers very well. I’m interested in teaching in Buenos Aires for just a few months. I’m an elementary school teacher, have no experience teaching ESL though, and am wanting to do it more for the experience. I was wondering if institutes will hire you if you want to commit to only about 3 or 4 months. I would even consider volunteering but would rather not go through one of those programs where I have to pay for them to find a placement for me. Does anyone know if there are many volunteer opportunities at elementary schools?

    Thanks!

  8. 8 kate January 28, 2010 at 12:47 am

    Hi there, My partner and i are flying out to BA in 2 weeks, and the plan was to teach english over there. We’ve just done our tefl qualiftication, and have arranged to view a few apartments when we arrive, and have also got a couple of interviews set up. We were planning on staying for around 9months. We are open to ideas about moving on to different countries near by, but main aim was BA. We have no problem putting down rent money to live for 6months in BA anyway, from the posts I have read..im worried that we still wont have enough money to live. How much money sterling do you suggest to take for 9month to 1 year of living in BA. We maybe want to travel a little, but not keen of living an extravagant liftstyle or anything. As food and that is cheap, i thought we would be ok. We are doing it for the experience mostly, and just want to have a fun time. Any advice for us?

    • 9 tangotours January 28, 2010 at 3:17 am

      Thanks for writing in. As for teaching English in places other than Buenos Aires, you will find less opportunities and less money, and if you don’t get there during the hiring season (January – April) then you may not find work at all. As a TEFL graduate, you will have better luck finding a job to teach English in Buenos Aires, and you can go to the TEFL office and get a print out of who is hiring. This will save you a ton of time. Once armed with the list, you will make appointments at the various language institutes in Buenos Aires and surrounding area. It’s typical to start out with a small work load, from any language center, and be slowly worked in if you prove to be a good and personable English teacher. My advice is to work for several places, and don’t be afraid to quit if they screw with you. In your case, you have a partner and can share the cost of rent and supplies, and if you somehow manage to find a landlord that rents to you at Argentine prices vs foreigner prices, than yes, you should be able to cover your cost of living with maybe, a little left over. But the odds are you will end up spending more money than you make as an English teacher living in Buenos Aires for the first several months. And possible later. It will be an experience you never forget, this I can promise you. Best of luck!

  9. 10 Julia Aube February 26, 2010 at 3:34 am

    Hello,
    I am interested in teaching english in Buenos Aires and after reading your article, I have to re-think everything. I was planning on going with 2 friends, we are all graduating college in June. We have studied abroad in Spain and wanted another opportunity to live in a spanish speaking country. If we attempt to go, how much many would you recommend that we save? We wont have much considering we are still currently in college with nothing saved. Would you recommend any other jobs besides teaching english? Is there any hope for two girls, recently out of college to be able to live in Argentina? Anything you could recommend would be great!
    Thank you,

  10. 11 tangotours February 26, 2010 at 4:14 am

    To run off to Argentina and live work there as a foreigner is much like a foreigner moving to NYC and trying to work and live. There is work, and there is housing, but it takes some time to get established. If you have a TEFL degree, than you can find work teaching English part time within 30 – 90 days. It doesn’t pay well though. And finding long term rent housing as foreigner is illegal there. You can pay 6 0 12 months in advance. You can find an Argentine to sign a lease for ya. Or, you will be renting places found on bytargentina.com which cost 3 times as much. You should do the math on your own and think very clearly about it. As for teaching English in Argentina, it is one of the lowest paying places to do so. Yet, there is work available and it’s fairly easy to get it compared to many other countries. Much less hasel and paperwork. But you will need a whole lot of it to cover rent not to mention a plane ride out of there. Other jobs for foreigners who speak good Spanish range a great deal but finding them will take some time for sure. Waiting tables, call centers, consultant, translator, tour guide, to name a few. I would not even attempt moving there without at least $5,0000USD saved to get through the first 3 months. And better save some for the return trip home just in case.

  11. 12 Kristen Fielding March 3, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Hi there,

    Im so glad to have found this information- its the kind of straight up, tell-it-like-it-is info that I need.
    I have a few questions- something I want to clarify is… is it correct to say that I can still get employed and paid despite the fact that I will not have an argentinian work permit?!

    Also, you said that its almost impossible to survive off the teachers wage- what else did you do for money? Are there any other programs/jobs that people you ran into over there were doing that could be a more stable way of going as opposed to teaching english? Like as a foreigner what are my chances of getting work say in a restaraunt or a bar??

    Thanks so much,

    Kristen

  12. 13 john simulson April 14, 2010 at 1:16 am

    Thanks for a great article. I love latin america and have been thinking of teaching english abroad and would like to combne the two, unfortunately it seems a bit of an uphill struggle and I will have to look elsewhere.

    Thanks for the honesty

  13. 14 sofia May 11, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Hi,I live in Buenos Aires (Palermo) my native city, and I have two adorable kids. I am interested on finding a kind north-american girl that would want to work as an English professor, to teach my two little ones in a playful environment.
    I will pay per hour and the price is to be arranged. If someone is interested please contact me at this cel: 155.506.8000
    Thank you!
    Sofia.

    • 15 Drew Wilcox October 5, 2011 at 1:28 am

      Hi Sofia,
      My name is Drew Wilcox and I’m actually looking for an english-tutoring opportunity very similar to the one you are offering, however I am a north-american boy haha. Despite this qualification snag, I am still very interested to come teach English to your two little ones! Do you have any friends in Palermo, or anywhere else in Buenos Aires, who are interested in employing a per/hour english teacher for their children or even for themselves? I am a college graduate, native English speaker (and speak sufficient Spanish), and friendly, confident and highly motivated.
      Contact me at awilcox@uoregon.edu or at 1-858-342-7691.

  14. 16 Rachel August 12, 2011 at 5:57 am

    I am thinking about going to Argentina for a year to teach english and re-learn my Spanish so I can teach Spainish in the States. I have a Spanish degree but I have forgotten a lot of my Spanish in the process of living in the states. I wanted to save up $7,000 prior to going to Argentina and work as a teacher for the rest. But I am concerned after reading this article that the experience would not pay enough or provide enough free time. I was hoping to work part-time and learn Spanish, but this situation does not sound good. Are there other countries you would suggest going to teach Spanish? I am looking to experience living in a foreign country for a year and learn spanish in the process.

    • 17 Tomas September 8, 2011 at 9:23 pm

      Hi Rachel. I have taken classes with four different native english teachers some years ago. They usually left some months or even a year after living in the country, but not for economic issues, just because they wanted to have a cultural experience. Here it is not all about money, there are different expectations. If you want to make a cultural approach, or wanna be a tourist, both are fine, but each has costs, you probably can save some money in the process. If you are convinced of your skills, there are a lot of opportunities not just as a teacher, also in hospitality services, etc. One fact: Argentina is a really expensive place to live right now. Hope you take the right way ! Take care.

  15. 18 Cliodhna September 22, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Hi, great article, where so many paint a shiny gloss over pursuing this kind of path, some hard facts are a welcome relief 🙂 I’m currently in Ireland, and will be sitting a TEFL course here for the purposes of traveling. I’m due to leave here next June and will be in New Zealand first, before heading to Argentina, as Ireland has a working holiday agreement with them. I have very Spanish and will be using Argentina to improve this, however is it easy enough to get work in area’s like restaurants etc with English as your mother tongue. I plan on using my TEFL, but to earn a little more money it would be handy to have another job to fund my expenses. This kind of work is possible in non-English speaking countries in Europe, how simple is it there.

    Thanks for your time

    Cliona

    • 19 james December 29, 2011 at 10:51 am

      Hey Cliona
      James from Dublin here, just reading your article there now and I was wondering how you got on?
      im thinking of heading over (not to teach now obviously!!!) and was wondering how your experience went?
      Could you get in touch with aaaaany bits of advice!

  16. 20 Fred September 24, 2011 at 3:58 am

    If your Spanish is good enough to handle waiting tables, you should be able to find work. Although they money you make will be minimal. Call centers that need English speakers may also be an option. Also if your Spanish is good you might find a translator job. When Argentines employ foreigners, they do not always use the best business practices and may try to take advantage or not even pay you. This happened to me several times. Also banking can be an issue for foreigners. There is a work permit that can be tricky to secure. Most people don’t and just hope for the best.

  17. 21 Sean October 13, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I am certified social studies teacher in NY who cannot get a job, and have a desire to try something new, garner some experience and most importantly entrench myself in a Latin American or South American country to become bilingual in Spanish. With how competitive the job market has become and how bilingual Spanish professionals are in high demand especially in NY, this is an opportunity that I may wish to pursue in the upcoming year.

    There were a series of questions that many recurring questions that people seem to have, but if you (or anybody else who has taught abroad) can answer then it would greatly aid my early research.

    -Was Argentina your first destination or preferred location to teach? If so then why?

    -Are you familiar with any other programs/organization that provide training to teach in other countries (Dominican Republic, Spain, Chile, etc.)

    -Are there any tests or programs besides TEFL that are required for teaching abroad? I also saw the TOEFL exam but was unsure if I should pay to take the exam if it will not carry any weight or required for programs like this (either in Argentina or any other Spanish speaking country).

    -How much money would you recommend an incoming candidate to have saved before making the move or consider a program teaching in Argentina (or any foreign country for that matter)?

    -From Nick’s letter — How much does a 6-mo down payment on an apt. cost there? What about the monthly rentals? (Please give approx. American $ value)

    -What is there to do there to embrace the culture or maximize the cultural experiences of Argentina?

    **Anybody who is responding to this post please copy and paste a duplicate response copy to sclark2086@gmail.com since chances are I will see it there before seeing it here. Also, if anybody has the same interests or reasons for teaching English in any Spanish speaking country in the future by all means contact me because I would love to share any information that I have found, help decide where to go, and hope to learn something from others. Best of luck!

    • 22 tangotours October 14, 2011 at 2:08 am

      I picked trying to teach English in Argentina because I followed my girlfriend there. I moved there, needed a job and went for the TEFL. Discovered it was relatively easy to find work but very difficult to actually make enough to live on. In time, I was forced to find other work to survive. Spain has a TEFL program but it’s very difficult to find work in Europe as an American legally. South America is much more loose in it’s laws regarding this and there is a lot done “under the table”. After meeting so many international English teachers over the years it is clear that working in Asia pays the best. There are legal contracts and housing arrangements. To get one of these jobs, a TEFL helps along with some experience. But you must fly there and interview, then leave, then return and all this will cost a few thousand. Before you make a move to teach anywhere, I recommend having at least $5,000 USD saved. Your TEFL degree alone will be $1500. TOEFL does carry weight and it’s worth taking the exam.
      In regards to Argentina, I’ve said this many times before. It’s easy to work for the language institutes but the pay is not enough to live on there unless you have some free housing or several roommates. Even then you will be poor. If you choose to teach English you will be speaking English and at night, planing English lesson plans and thinking English most of the time. It feels like you are learning English all over again and many people find that trying to learn Spanish in addition can be a a real chore.
      For housing, check out bytargentina.com. This is the price for foreigners, usually 3 times what a local will pay. You can find landlords willing to rent to you at local prices if you pay upfront. My rent is 800 pesos a month plus utilities. That’s about $300 USD.
      I don’t recommend anyone think they can move to Argentina and make enough money teaching English to enjoy a the same kind of quality of life they could in the USA. Certainly not working for the many language institutes. There are good English teaching jobs there for the private suburban schools, but these can be tricky to get and there is great competition for them. It’s a long shot.

  18. 23 Joan November 29, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Hi,
    I am a North American (currently unnemployed) who has recently been offered a private teaching (technical) job in Buenos Aires, to groups of 4, 6 an 8 people at the same time. Can someone tell me what the rate should be? I must go to their offices (about 1 hour away…each way) and of course, prepare for the highly technical teaching vocabulary.

    Help!!!!!
    Gracias.
    Joan

  19. 24 Bradly November 30, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Joan, will you be making pesos rather than USD? Plus you have to relocate to a different country. You are going to be losing money. If you make 300 pesos a day (which is on the high end), that’s about 100USD a day. It will be an interesting experience for you, but a difficult and low paying one as well. Is your employer going to help you through the process of getting a work visa?

  20. 25 Kirsten December 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Umm this information is wrong. Not sure when you wrote this but you dont make 15 – 20 pesos an hour. Not true. And yes you can live on what you make being a teacher.

  21. 27 Bill December 15, 2011 at 4:05 am

    Can you make a living teaching English in Buenos Aires Argentina as a foreigner? The answer for most people is no. You can make money and you can work but to survive only on what you make is a serious challenge. About 90% of every teacher I have met comes to Argentina and works a little here and there but has funds from other places to sustain them. Almost no one lasts for more than 6 months. The language institutes chew em up and spit them out. And in general take advantage of them. A very small percentage stick around and some eventually get work visas and real jobs. But it most certainly is not common. I have a feeling this Kirsten person has either not been doing it that long, or has funds from other places.

  22. 28 yo tengo nada, casado con hijos.walks away smiling. May 2, 2012 at 8:44 am

    At the beginning of your page it was referenced that the general cost of living was cheap, then near the middle you told someone that it was expensive in the moment. Is inflation still on the rise? Do you have any insite as to economic stabilization. Can you offer any predictions as to a possible recoverytimeframe. Thanx in advance.

  23. 29 tangotours May 3, 2012 at 11:56 am

    “cheap” depends on which currency you are using and what you are accused to. Inflation is on the rise and I wouldn’t presume to know when or if it will stabalize. The trend since 2004 has been up. Buenos Aires is much more robust than other places in the country because of it’s size.

  24. 30 Shannon June 5, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Has anyone used an online TEFL/ TESL certification? If so, can you recommend a reputable company?

  25. 31 Stef July 13, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Do you need to know some Spanish in order to get an English teaching job in Argentina? I have worked as an ESL teacher in the states for 10 years and would like to go to BA to teach English and learn Spanish. I will appreciate any suggestions/advice. Thanks!


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About the author of this blog.

Tom Wick is an American expat living in Buenos Aires. An expert travel consultant and tour guide offering free travel inforamtion and private guided tours of Buenos Aires.

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Please write to me about any Buenos Aires Argentina travel information or about living in Buenos Aires as an expat. tangohistorytours@gmail.com

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