I’m terribly sorry I haven’t been in contact recently but my life in Buenos Aires has been hectic since arriving a few weeks ago and, if I wasn’t against the use of cliché’s, I’d say it has been “an emotional rollercoaster.”
Oops! Look at that, I said it.
A city with a buzzing hub of busy occupants, there’s plenty to keep you entertained and occupied both in Capital Federal and in the provinces of Buenos Aires. The nightlife is ‘loco’, the weather blissful and the city culturally enriching.
I’m beginning to build a little life here: I’ve played poker with the locals (and lost), made my Argentinean league football debut (and lost) and I’ve even started to refer to that patch of land as Malvinas (more for personal security than an alteration in viewpoint).
Despite the positives, the country isn’t in the best ‘nick’ (see what I did there!) A politically divided country with poverty becoming increasingly more visual on the streets of Buenos Aires, inflation has hit Argentina with big ramifications for ordinary working people. Whilst the exchange rate is approximately A$7/£1, that doesn’t tell the whole story. The country isn’t as cheap as it once was and isn’t all that different to London (with the exception of public transport, which is particularly inexpensive here).
Whether a consequence of a country in decline or not, finding teaching work in Buenos Aires is difficult to come by. Approaching institutions, for me at least, has been nothing short of a waste of time. They ask for your CV but never call whilst others may ask you for your work visa, but to obtain a work visa you need a company sponsorship, a “Catch 22” if ever there was one. You can apply for a residency visa but a visit to the immigration centre here in Buenos Aires is like a visit to a prison (I imagine), a frustrating and non-productive procedure in the most chaotic place imaginable. Obtaining one from your native country before arrival is possible, I’m told (though of little help to me now).
I heard on the grapevine (big love to Marvin Gaye), that teaching private students is the most common way to make money by teaching in Buenos Aires, but even then you can expect to dip into any savings you may have to live comfortably here. I’ve managed to rope in a couple of students but it’s nowhere near enough to survive and I’m looking to advertise in Universities over the next couple of days but if work doesn’t pick over the next couple of weeks I’ll be looking to flee, with Thailand or Spain as a replacement destination.
To conclude on my experience so far: a great city to live, study or work in but teaching won’t enable you to generate enough money for you to survive on its own, unless you’re particularly lucky enough to find a full-time teaching position. I continue to hope that staying will soon become an option as it will be a shame to leave a life I’ve just started to build but realistically, without savings, teaching in Buenos Aires just isn’t sustainable.
But to end on a positive note: I’ve taught my first lessons and I absolutely loved it. It’s so rewarding and I’ve only taught 5 lessons thus far. My advice if you’re sitting on the fence? DO IT!
Nick (or, because I’m a cultured Argentinian resident (for now), “Nicko”)