Over three months living in my new city, it’s about time Buenos Aires had a ‘5 reason’ entry. Yes that’s right, now I’m going to share with you the joys of teaching English in Buenos Aires.. holaaaaaaaaaaa!
1. Availability of work
Although my last blog condemned the lack of work in Buenos Aires, I’m big enough (but only in a metaphorical way of speaking) to admit that I was sorely mistaken. There’s work by the bucket load and it’s available all year round. Buenos Aires is a little less conventional that what I imagine most TEFLing experiences to be like. Most (almost all) teachers are working on a tourist visa and as such are not working in state schools but act more as a freelance teacher working for as many institutions as they can manage at one time with the only difficulty finding an institution that is well-organised.
Your biggest test will be juggling the different institutions and making sure you have time to get from place to place. Most institutions are aware of the typical BA TEFL experience and act to accommodate your availability; so it’s never a big deal if you turn down a few classes as there is likely to be other work they will want to throw your way. Of course, private students pay a lot more per hour.
Spend a day sticking up advertisements in the local universities and once you have two or three private students it won’t be too long before word of mouth sees you picking up a few more. Of course, if they cancel with short-notice you find yourself short-changed so I recommend having a combination of both institution and private students.
2. Bank holidays
You may or may not be aware but the current President of Argentina loves to hand out willy-nilly bank holidays for events, significant or otherwise, that represent a time in Argentine history. This allows English teachers plenty of time to explore Argentina.
Whilst Argentina is nothing short of gigantic there are areas closer to your adopted home that are well worth a visit – a long weekend in Rosario or a daytrip to Tigre are the most popular amongst expats but for those more medium fetched destinations of Salta, Mendoza, Cordoba or Iguazu? Well, a four day bank holiday is never too far away either.
The good news about institutions is that they don’t mind if you head off on holiday for a week every now and again. Of course this means you won’t be earning whilst you’re away and you may not have the same classes as you did before, but once that foot is in the door they always have work they want to send your way.
WOW! If you decide to TEFL in Buenos Aires you will have to make your peace with getting fat. Maybe save up a little extra to buy an extra seat for your return flight but don’t worry because, it’s well worth it.
In our apartment, Friday night is empanada night (with Thursday nights designated as Nick’s Nearly Naked Thursdays Night – a blog entry for another website). Friday night/empanada night is an attempt to restrict the amount of empanadas that I eat; but, I often puff out my face with empanadas in the week because whether for lunch or dinner, they are truly magnificent.
And next up? Dulce de leche: The David Beckham of food! A caramel spread sent from the God’s used for bread in the morning, hiding in your biscuits during the day and seaming out of restaurant desserts in the evening, I will be taking a suitcase-full back with me.
Argentinean ready-made pizza slices can be found at a corner near you and gloriously tasty ice-cream parlours are open until the early hours of the morning. Yes, the rumours about Argentinean meat are true: you just won’t get it better anywhere else, spiffing stuff.
Whatever you want from your evening, Buenos Aires has it. A buzzing bar, nightclubs the size of small cities, or maybe you just want to have dinner and an ice-cream at two in the morning, you can find it aplenty here in Buenos Aires.
Palermo hosts the majority of young people heading out to paint the town, but on Sunday nights you can find street parties on the cobbled streets of San Telmo with local live music and beers flowing, creating a great and cultured vibe.
But beware not to start your pre-drink too early as clubs don’t open until 2am and the pre-party often doesn’t start until 11 or midnight. It’s not uncommon to be heading home in daylight with the subway already running so don’t make any important plans for the following day.
5. Because it’s Buenos ‘flipping’ Aires
OK so a vague final reason but there is so many reasons to visit and TEFL in Buenos Aires; one could write a small book. From the vibrant and modern Palermo neighbourhood to the cultured tangoing on the cobbled streets of San Telmo; from weekend markets accompanied by live music to sheer craziness of watching a live football match, Buenos Aires has it all.
And for all those worried about obtaining a work visa, I have yet to meet a teacher with one. Most institutions pay cash in hand at the end of the month, no questions asked. Of course like any big city there are also certain pitfalls TEFLers should be wary of and I’ll be writing to inform you of these over the next few days, but for now…
Nick Petrou is currently TEFLing out in Buenos Aires and you can also check out his own opinion site called Organic Baked Beans.
Photo’s Sourced – www.flickr.com/photos/alexreyes/