Argentina is one of the most popular destinations in South America for both international tourists and those looking to teach English abroad. Teachers are drawn to the country from all over the world by the promise of a stunning natural landscape, a unique European influenced culture, and a relaxed way of life. There is a strong demand for foreign teachers throughout the country, although the largest market is located in the capital Buenos Aires. Significant markets for ESL teachers can also be found in other major cities such as Cordoba, Rosario, Mendoza, and the beach resort of Mar del Plata.
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Although Argentina is a very popular destination for foreign teachers, few come here expecting to earn or save a large sum of money. Salaries are low in comparison to many other popular countries across the world; however, it is still possible to earn enough to live comfortably if you are patient and willing to work hard to establish yourself. Average monthly salaries range from US$600 to $1,200 depending on qualifications and experience. Private tutoring of individual students or within local businesses is also a popular option for earning extra income, with hourly rates ranging from $10 to $15. It is highly recommended that you complete a TEFL/TESOL certification course before heading to Argentina as it will greatly increase your employability and earning potential.
Due to government restrictions on employing foreign citizens it is difficult for ESL teachers to find work in public schools in Argentina. Because of this the main employers are private language schools who cater to a wide range of students, from young children to executives within a business environment. Teaching within local businesses is particularly popular, with teachers expected to provide group or individual classes that focus on fluency in specific environments such as interviews, conference calls, presentations, and business meetings. The number of contracted hours in this environment varies greatly but it is common for teachers to be on call from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.
The other big market for foreign teachers in Argentina is to work on a freelance basis. Many teachers take on individual students in their spare time to top up the salary earned from working in a language center. It is also common for teachers to freelance full-time once they have found enough students. The big advantage of freelance work is you can set your own working hours and hourly rate, however, it is recommended that you agree a cancelation policy in advance as it is common for lessons to be cancelled at the last minute leaving the teacher out of pocket.
Although salaries for ESL teachers are relatively low in Argentina, the cost of living is also quite low. Public transport, utility bills, and groceries are generally affordable on an average salary. However, accommodation can be very expensive, particularly in the trendy districts of Buenos Aires such as Palermo, San Telmo, and Recoleta. Outside of the capital rental costs fall dramatically but if you are keen to live and work here then you should consider districts such as Montserrat, Belgrano, or Almagro which are all safe areas with more affordable accommodation. Realistically most teachers choose to rent a room from a local family or share an apartment with other foreign teachers to help with the expense.