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Mar Del Plata, Argentina English Teaching Q&A with Ariane Sackheim
Written by: Ariane Sackheim
Last Updated: July 19, 2021
What is your citizenship?
What city and state are you from?
How old are you?
What is your education level and background?
Have you traveled abroad in the past?
I previously studied abroad.
If you have traveled abroad in the past, where have you been?
If you have studied abroad in the past, where did you study?
What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?
I had such an amazing time studying abroad that I wanted to be able to go abroad again after I graduated from college. However, I knew I would need a way to support myself a bit this time, so teaching English seemed like an interesting way to accomplish both goals.
What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad?
My largest concerns were that I wouldn't find a job, that I wouldn't adapt to a new culture, and that I wouldn't be able to learn the language.
TEFL CLASS INFORMATION
What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad?
Both my friends and family were supportive, apprehensive, excited, and concerned. Overall, they were nervous but also excited about the adventure I would be going on.
Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?
I decided to get TEFL certified in order to give myself the most options for once I went abroad. I chose International TEFL Academy because after doing lots of research, it seemed to be the best program.
Which TEFL certification course did you take?
I took the online TEFL course.
How did you like the course?
I thought the course was interesting and was helpful in learning to plan lessons. I also thought the professors feedback was beneficial. For my practice teaching hours I tutored people in my community, which turned out to be great because that's what I would eventually spend most of my time doing.
How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?
I feel more prepared to create lesson plans and to take on different situations.
TEACHING ABROAD IN MAR DEL PLATA, ARGENTINA
Which city and country did you decide to teach English in and why?
I was planning on teaching English in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but upon arrival realized it wasn't the right place for me. My friend and I found a co-teaching program that we thought would suit us better in Mar Del Plata.
How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?
I have been in Argentina for 6 months and I (sadly) plan on leaving after 7 months.
How did you secure your English teaching job?
I introduced myself and interviewed through e-mail.
What school, company, or program are you working for?
I teach for various institutes. I also hold my own one-on-one private lessons, for which I charge my students 55 pesos by-the-hour.
How did you get your work visa? If you didn't get a work visa, please elaborate on working under the table without a work visa.
My friend and I came to Mar Del Plata with a tourist visa, under the assumption we'd get paid in cash under-the-table. We began with a volunteer program that provided food and accommodation, as well as a small stipend of 500 pesos per month. When we left that program, we started contacting other institutes that offered to pay us in cash at the end of each lesson we gave. Our private tutoring students also pay in cash.
Tell us about your English teaching job!
Right now I only work a few hours a week giving private lessons and am teaching the occasional lesson at a local language institute. I generally ask for 55 pesos per hour for private lessons. I teach at the language institute with my friend, so we ask for 150 pesos for 1 hour or 200 pesos for 1.5 hours. All of my private lessons are with adults, but I have worked with kids as young as 10 at the various language institutes that have employed me.
Because I work so little I am not able to save money, but it does mostly seem to cover my expenses since I am not paying rent. When I need extra money, I use my savings.
How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates?
The program that originally brought us to Mar Del Plata provided us with accommodation. I have been living with a girl who is studying to be an English teacher and we get along great. I am excited for her to come visit me in California!
COUNTRY INFORMATION - FUN!
Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, travel opportunities, etc. about your country.
Public transportation is great, though unfortunately a bit expensive. Night life in Argentina starts around 2 am. If you want to truly become a part of Argentinian culture, learn to like mate. The food here is delicious, from empanadas to facturas to asado.
COUNTRY INFORMATION - MONEY
What are your monthly expenses?
I don't pay for rent or utilities, but I spend about 45 pesos per month on a cell phone. For food I pay less than 500 pesos per month. Colectivos (public transportation) cost 3.23 pesos per ride, so I try to walk as much as possible. Travel can be expensive, so if you want to do that, you should probably have extra money available.
How would you describe your standard of living?
I think the right word would be "adequate". Getting by just fine, but not rolling in the dough. I'm sure if I chose to work more, this might be a little different.
In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably?
Probably 3,000 pesos per month. Although I don't actually know because there are a few major expenses that I don't have to pay for.
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE ENGLISH TEACHERS IN ARGENTINA
What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? Would you recommend teaching in your country?
Make sure that teaching English is something you are comfortable with before you begin. Otherwise, you might find yourself a nervous wreck in the classroom. However, there are co-teaching programs that can be an excellent alternative to having your own classroom.
Having studied abroad in Lyon, France, Sacramento native, Ariane Sackheim, gained a love of travel while exploring nations throughout Europe. So, after college, she sought new adventure and earned her TEFL certification before heading to Argentina to explore a new part of the world while teaching English abroad.
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