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Teaching English in Buenos Aires, Argentina: Alumni Q&A with Carrie Lucido
Written by: Carrie Lucido
Last Updated: January 22, 2021
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
What is your citizenship?
What city and state are you from?
New York, NY
How old are you?
What is your education level and background?
Master's degree or Higher
Have you traveled abroad in the past?
Some international travel with friends, family, business, etc.
If you have traveled abroad in the past, where have you been?
If you have studied abroad in the past, where did you study?
Costa Rica (5 week Spanish Immersion program)
What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?
I was always drawn to South America and the Spanish language. I was also a teacher in New York, so the idea of teaching English in another country was something that felt comfortable. Teaching English offered the opportunity to teach in a new way while also experiencing a new country.
What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad?
My main concerns were being able to find a job quickly enough and communicating in a different language.
What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad?
I've always loved traveling, so I don't think they were really shocked. My friends and family were all both very supportive.
TEFL CLASS INFORMATION
Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?
I chose to get TEFL certified, because I would have more and better options and that I would also be able to find a teaching job easier and faster. When I first decided that I wanted to teach abroad, I googled as many schools as I could find and read up on each. I felt that International TEFL Academy (ITA) was the best choice. I called ITA for more information and the representative was so helpful. I also liked that I would have continued support even after I completed the program.
Which TEFL certification course did you take?
Online TEFL Course
How did you like the course?
I loved taking the online course, because I was able to work from home at my convenience. The tasks were always very practical and connected with the lessons. My instructors were also very quick to give feedback, which I appreciated.
How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?
I think it definitely helped me feel more confident in my teaching ability. It has also helped me to see things more from the perspective of a person learning a second language, so I am always keeping in mind that I want to relate each lesson to real life and use real objects for vocabulary, etc.
Which city and country did you decide to teach English in and why?
I decided to teach English in Argentina in Buenos Aires. I wanted to be in a country in South America. My church started a campus in Argentina, so I chose to come here to help my church while also teaching English. Also, it's a beautiful country!
How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?
I have been here 11 months now and plan to stay much longer!
During which months does your school typically hire?
Bridge English usually hires in February, but I was hired in August, so it depends.
Did you secure this position in advance of arriving?
How did you interview for this position?
What kind of visa did you enter on?
Please explain the visa process that you went through.
A tourist visa is free and allows you 90 days in the country. I didn't have to apply for it when I came. When my visa was about to expire, I took a one day trip to Uruguay, which is very easy (and affordable). I've also gone home to visit my family. Every time you leave the country and come back in, you are given 90 more days.
What are the qualifications that your school requires for teachers? Please check all that apply
- TEFL Certification
- Native English speaker
What is the best way to apply?
Please include any application resources (website, email, etc.) or other information here:
I found so many job opportunities on Buenos Aires Craigslist page.
Tell us about your English teaching job!
I started at Bridge English, which I really liked. It is right in the middle of the city of Buenos Aires, so it's easy to get to. I liked that the school was run very professionally, but was still a very comfortable, casual environment. This school teaches Business English to adults. The hours are usually during the day. Sometimes the classes were in the school and sometimes in the office of the student(s). Basically, you are asked about each student before he is added to your work week, so you can regulate how many students/hours you'd like to work. Because I started at an off time, I didn't have tons of students, so it was hard to save. If I had stayed, I probably would have gotten more students though. When I decided to go home for Christmas, they were very nice about it and I had no problem leaving or going back.
I am now working for a private company teaching English classes, which has been great. My schedule is the same every week (15 hours) and I am able to save a bit.
It's very easy to get jobs teaching English if you are a native speaker and TEFL certified, but I found that I had to be willing to travel to teach each class and that a lot of people work "part time" for more than one company in order to make more money and live comfortably.
How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates?
When I first moved to Buenos Aires, I lived with friends from my church here, which was really good at first because everything was new. If I didn't have that connection, I probably would have used ITA's Argentina Alumni Facebook page to find a roommate, because I think it's a lot easier to live with other people when you first start out.
Now that I've been here a bit longer and feel like my job is more stable, I'm living alone. It's a lot of money to pay upfront (first month, security deposit, brokerage fee), but the apartment comes with furniture and everything included, which is pretty common here (Alquelar Temporal), so I feel like it's worth it.
I am living in Palermo, which I love. It's a really fun part of Buenos Aires. It's full of cafes, restaurants, shops and bars.
COUNTRY INFORMATION - FUN!
Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, travel opportunities, etc...
Cultural Aspects: People in Argentina are very friendly. They love native English speakers and love to practice their English with you!
Public Transportation: In general, it's very easy to get around here because there is a subway system, train system, and bus system. There are bus stops everywhere and apps for your phone to help you know which bus to take and where. The only problem is that it can take a long time on the bus, but you get used to it!
Nightlife & Social Activities: Argentinians are very social, so hanging out with friends and family is huge. Most people that I know have asados (barbecues) almost every week. It's really a great way to relax and have fun with friends. (I've learned that people are way more important than tasks/work here.) One of my favorite things about eating out here is that you are never rushed. You can sit at a table for three hours talking with friends and you will not feel pressured to leave. In fact, they will not give you the check unless you ask for it. Typically, everything here starts very late. For example, a typical time for dinner is 9:00 or 10:00 pm. Actually, when I've gone out to dinner with friends earlier, sometimes we are the only ones there! It's the same with bars and clubs. Everything starts late and ends very late. But there are definitely lots of clubs and bars to visit.
Food: Food in Argentina is really good. Meat is very popular here - especially from asides, as well as chicken milanesa, which is a flat, breaded, and fried chicken. (I'm vegetarian so I get milanesa de soja (soy), which is really good too.) My favorite foods here, however, are the sweets! Anything with dulce de leche, which is like caramel, is so delicious. Dulce de leche is used on waffles, crepes, croissants, ice cream, etc. and it's so good! For drinks, mate is also very popular. It's a hot drink that most drink throughout the day.
Expat Community: There are definitely a lot of expats living in Buenos Aires - especially Palermo. I've met a lot of students who come here for a couple months to study abroad. I've also found some great websites that are for expats to connect, which is fun too.
Travel Opportunities: There are so many places within Argentina to visit! One of the things I love talking to my students about is the places that are "must sees". Uruguay is also very close and easy to travel to for the day or for a weekend. You can take a ferry round trip for about AR$ 800.
COUNTRY INFORMATION - MONEY
What are your monthly expenses?
Rent/utilities: AR$ 12,000 (approx. $650 USD)
Food: AR$ 1,500 ($90 USD)
Social Activities: AR$ 1,500 ($90 USD)
Transportation: AR$ 400 ($25 USD)
Phone: AR$ 400 ($25 USD)
How would you describe your standard of living?
Comfortable, middle class
In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably?
AR$ 12.000 - AR$15.000 per month (which is a little bit less than US$ 1,000 per month) * Having a roommate will help to save a lot of money.
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE ENGLISH TEACHERS
What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? Would you recommend teaching in your country?
Be sure to save up money before you come, so you have time to look and get used to life here. Buenos Aires is a really fun and vibrant city that I'd recommend to anyone!
Drawn by her interest in South American culture and her desire to improve her Spanish, native New Yorker, Carrie Lucido, earned her TEFL certification online from International TEFL Academy. She then headed to Buenos Aires, where she has been teaching English having the time of her life.
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