Arriving in June, questions


Oct 30, 2007
A few friends and I are moving to BA for a while. I visited while living in Chile and it was an easy decision as to where my next home was going to be. My plan is to find an apartment for a moth or so in order to buy us some time to find a more permanent place. Where is the best resource for finding apartments?Is it hard to leases that you do not have to oay in full and can make regualr monthly payments?Once I have my TELF certification, where is the best place to start looking for english teaching? (I already speak spanish)How much will recent inflation affect my ability to live in BA? How much savings would you recomend I come with? Any help with these questions would be greaty appreciated.JA
Where is the best resource for finding apartments? Argentines that live in BA or looking in the local papers (if you know spanish). Consider if you were in your hometown of wherever you're from and someone asked you the same question. If you can afford to pay someone else to look for you, there are apt rental agencies all over BA and links in the forum here. Be prepared to pay premium prices though.
Is it hard to leases that you do not have to pay in full and can you make regular monthly payments? Most leases require a two year commitment and some serious money to be insured. It's difficult to do if you're a non-resident, which is why short-term apartment rentals are so expensive. Getting the apt is one thing, then getting services for that apt is another. It's possible to get an apartment where you pay by the month but it's difficult to find if you're not a resident. The quickest and cheapest method is to become a roommate with an argentine. Search and look through this forum and you'll find more info on this topic.
Once I have my TELF certification, where is the best place to start looking for english teaching? I have to warn you upfront that teaching english is not a high paying job and there is also a glut of english teachers in the market. Argentine english teachers spend years in school to become qualified and since they're residents, it can be easier for them to get jobs. While the TELF may help you get a job, it has more to do with having a university degree and especially a DNI (like a social insurance number) which is basically required for all LEGAL work.
Having said that... I have met people teaching english in BA who literally walked into a school and got hired on as a temp worker. NO training, DNI or degree required. They just do conversation work with people who were taking other classes and wanted to practice. The average wage seemed to be 1200 pesos a month but that wasn't secure. In the months of Dec, Jan and Feb the work dries up for most english teachers as Argentina goes on holiday for a few months.
How much will recent inflation affect my ability to live in BA? History tends to repeat itself. Argentine has a history of hyper-inflation. Be prepared for prices to rise without warning or reason. Also be prepared to get out if things really do get out of control. It has happened before.....
How much savings? I told another guy that was visiting BA that he should have at least $5000 in the bank back home if he wants to come and live in BA and get setup. Flights out of the country are expensive and so is housing. If you can't afford to support yourself for a few months, it could be very difficult even if you find a teaching job. Wages are not good in Argentina. Doctors, nurses and teachers are seriously underpaid.
If you want my opinion about work, I would suggest tourism. This is where the most successful expats seem to be making it. One guy that does a regular blog in BA does walking tours for instance. Tourists always spend money and if you speak both english and spanish, that is very valuable to them.
If you aren't coming until June, this will be an advantage to you since you can look for jobs with multinationals in BA and set something up in advance. This is VITAL, since these companies can only help you with immigration from OUTSIDE the country. It's got to do with competition with residents and visas etc... Do your homework on this subject. Jobs like phone support work are available and pay okay.
Other plum jobs are... working for your home countries goverment in BA or working online.
Bring all the money you can. English teaching (check the BA Herald for jobs) will pay very little. You'll need to supplement your meager wages.
Thanks Bill, Sergio. I have a Business Degree in International Business and a spanish minor. The problem is I have been out of Latin America for about 3 months and I am worried that my spanish will be weak by June. I have been practicinge lately and doing Rosetta Stone. How much does teaching english pay, more or less?
To live comfortably, how much will I need to budget for monthly, not including rent?Do you think that renting a temporary place for a month to buy time is a good idea? We are three and dont mind paying 1200 for a two bedroom (two of us sharing a room). Thanks guys,JA
You can look on craigslist to get a rough idea of what it will cost for a tourist style temp apartment. These tend to be very expensive and in good areas, so don't take it as the only source for info or prices.
Is it a good idea to pay through the nose to have a nice place and not work hard to get it? Sure, if you've got money, which is true anywhere in the world. I'm not sure what your choices are anyway since there's 3 of you and your comfort level is an issue. Personally, I'd just stay at a hostel but that's just me.
There's literally thousands of blogs about Buenos Aires alone, not to mention a few thousand more about Argentina. Those can be good sources for info. Also, look on the mainpage here at baexpats for a list of articles and their source websites or blogs. This subject has also be a hot topic many times in the forums, even last few weeks or so I remember a heated debate taking place.... i.e. do a search.
The pay for teaching english? This depends if you're fulltime or temp, if you have a work visa and DNI, if you have qualifications and lastly, if you're just walking in off the street and looking for adventure. An australian guy I met in BA got paid 1200 pesos a month, which translates to $400 U.S. dollars PER MONTH. Is that a lot of money to you?
That would be the low end of course. Other people who teach to business people or run their own schools can make more.
As I said before... there's a glut of teachers and for some reason every new arrival has this dream in their head. I don't know what your motivation is but if it's to make your fortune or even survive in BA, then teaching is about the worst choice you can make. Spending money on a TEFL course is another bad choice but then again, maybe this is a career you dream of doing elsewhere and you see something bigger happening. There are other countries where teaching english does pay quite well although even that can be rough. Japan just shut down a ton of schools yesterday and Korea cracks down every few years.
Good luck and keep doing research.