Teaching English in Buenos Aires
Thousands of college graduates across the country head to cities and towns throughout the globe to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to international students, but many of them are now forgoing Europe or Asia for the international metropolis of Buenos Aires.
Located in Argentina, nearly three million reside in the capitol city famous for the art of the tango dance. However, it’s the extremely low cost of living and plentiful teaching opportunities that have drawn many recent grads here.
“I was able to rent a room with friends in the middle of the city for around 500 pesos ($125) a month,” said Carly Eaton, a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University. “It’s cheaper for me to live here than it would be to live at home with the exchange rate.”
English fluency is still considered a rarity in Buenos Aires. Many of the Americans teaching English here were not hired because they held an education degree or had previous classroom experience, but simply because they are native speakers.
Making a living out of teaching English can be slightly more difficult. The English institutes that provide lesson plans and classrooms filled with a few dozen students offer 15 pesos an hour in pay ($3.75). Even worse, the institutes typically don’t hire people on a full-time basis, which leads to teachers jumping from one institute to another throughout the day.
“Even in Buenos Aires, you really can’t live off that kind of salary,” said Ignacio Frontan, a born-and-raised native of the city. “You can survive, but that’s about it.”
The next level up on the ESL food chain is working for an outsourced company. Although they might require previous teaching experience in Buenos Aires or a background in the field, the pay is slightly higher at 25 to 30 pesos an hour ($5 to $6) and they typically won’t place more than a handful of students in a classroom.
“What you’re really doing working for an institute or an outsourced company is trying to make connection,” said Eaton. “The salary doesn’t really make the job worth doing permanently, but it can lead to a lot of chances to teach private lessons.”
Private lessons are the easiest and most lucrative of the options for teachers in Buenos Aires. With most teachers charging 50 pesos ($12.50) an hour for a lesson, getting just thirty hours of work per week can lead to an extremely cushy life in this city. #