The cost of living in Argentina is fairly in line with average wages, and your teaching salary (25-30 hours per week) won’t stretch any further than your cost of living. That’s why lots people teaching English in Argentina decide to offer private lessons on the side.
Accommodation is quite expensive, and you’ll spend around 65% of your monthly earnings on accommodation and bills, depending where you choose to rent. A one bed flat in Buenos Aires will set you back about £270/$450 a month. If you teach English in the south of Argentina your costs will be much lower, for example in the Patagonia region.
Unsurprisingly, meat is cheaper than most other food in Argentina – a quality steak costs only £1.50/$2.20!
Argentinian cuisine is inspired by Spanish and Italian dishes, with the national dish often considered to be ‘asado’ or ‘parrilada’ (or barbeque); consisting of beef, pork, ribs, sausages and blood sausages – great if you’re a meat-lover, like the majority of Argentina! To fully immerse yourself in Argentinian culture; smother your meat in chimichurri – a tangy salsa, containing chilli flakes.
Drinks-wise, Argentinians particularly love ‘Yerba Mate’ – similar to herbal tea, drunk through a filtered straw. Drinking this is generally considered to be a social activity, so don’t be surprised if your new Argentinian friends invite you along to try it!
If alcohol is more your thing, you’re in luck: as the fifth-largest wine producer in the world, naturally wine is very popular in Argentina. Perhaps the most favoured here is Malbec, produced in the area of Mendoza – although at £12.50/$20 a bottle, it’s on the expensive side.
Being in the Southern hemisphere, Argentina’s summer falls between December and March; and can be quite hot, with an average temperature of 29 degrees Celsius – perfect for working on your tan – although with the warm weather comes a lot of rain fall. If you move to the North for a teaching job where the three major cities are situated, then you won’t need to bring many jumpers, with an average temperature of 8 degrees Celsius during the winter. The south of the country is much colder, often dipping into the minuses – although not surprising when you consider that the tip of Argentina is less than 4,000km away from Antarctica!
Unfortunately, employers of TEFL teachers in Argentina don’t tend to offer accommodation free of charge, so you’ll need to find it yourself. However, you can rest assured you won’t be living in a shanty town! Flats in the major cities are of a high standard and on par with the rest of the Western world, so you don’t need to worry about slumming it without running water or heating!
The top three destinations to teach English in Argentina are Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Rosario, due to the large population of these cities, and the fact that the majority of Argentinian businesses are located here; resulting in a demand for English teachers.
If you see yourself as quite sophisticated and classy, Buenos Aires is a great city for you. Often referred to as the ‘Paris of South America’ due to its strong European influences, Buenos Aires offers amazing shopping, from high street brands to luxury labels and quirky boutiques. The nightlife can only be described as glamorous; but to experience a night out like a local, be sure to visit at least one secret bar, inspired by the 1920s USA speakeasies.
For those of you wanting to reclaim your student years, Córdoba – with a student population of 150,000 – is the perfect place. Shopping comes in the form of markets, including the popular antique fair on Achaval Rodriguez; and the nightlife is crazy, with parties regularly running until 9am! No night out is complete without a glass of Fernet (the drink of Córdoba): just remember to mix it with something, as it tastes pretty disgusting!
Finally, for history buffs, Rosario – seeped in history as the birthplace of both the Argentinian flag, and Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara – is the best option. Rosario has transformed its once-derelict buildings into quirky galleries and classy bars; and the river beaches are a popular hangout in the summer months – just beware of the piranhas!
Major cities offer frequent and cheap public transport; the most cost-effective being the bus (known as ‘micro’ or ‘colectivo’ to the locals). Buses run on average every 15 minutes, with one-way tickets costing just 29p/$0.47 – great if you can’t be bothered walking to work!
If you’re teaching English in Buenos Aires, and are living in the suburbs (to save money on rent, no doubt!), then the subway will probably be the easiest way of getting to work – consisting of five lines and 80 stations, it’s set to double in size over the next ten years, and will serve all of Argentina, well into the suburbs!
Taxis are also available in all major cities, but as a non-local, they are best avoided if possible, as they’re highly notorious for scams. If you do need to catch a taxi whilst in Argentina, make sure you call ahead and book (otherwise known as ‘radio taxis’), rather than hailing one in the street, just to be on the safe side; or see if any of your Argentinian TEFL colleagues are heading your way!
If you opt to teach private lessons like the majority of TEFL teachers, you’ll most likely be working 25-30 hours a week in your normal job, plus extra hours outside of that so it’s likely your weekends will be free to explore all of the amazing things Argentina has to offer! A cheap way of travelling round the country is by bus; but travelling times are long and if you don’t have much time, it’s better to catch the train or a plane. The national airlines of Aerolíneas Argentinas and Austral offer frequent flights to major cities, with a one way ticket from Buenos Aires to Córdoba costing approximately £80/$120.
For a weekend trip with a difference, for £90/$140 one way, you can catch a ferry from Buenos Aires to Montevideo (the capital of Uruguay), taking just two hours, to explore a little more of South America before you start another week teaching!
Argentinians party well into the night and the morning; so if you’re planning a night out, don’t even think about heading out before 2am, as everywhere will be empty! Probably best only partying on the weekends then… otherwise you’d have a long day of teaching ahead!
Personal appearance is very important in Argentina, and it’s advised to remove any facial piercings and cover tattoos as it could give you a disadvantage if you’re looking for a teaching job.
If you’d prefer to live amongst expats in Buenos Aires, then look for accommodation in Recoleta, Palermo and San Telmo. However, Villa del Parque is a great alternative for those who’d rather live amongst the locals in a safe area.
If you’re keen to find out more about teaching in Argentina then you’ll want to check out the i-to-i TEFL free guide. You’ll find out loads more useful information on finding your first job, where you can teach and how to negotiate the best salary package.
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