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changes since the collapse

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Joined: 08 May 2003
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 6:35 am    Post subject: changes since the collapse Reply with quote

This message is for anyone who has stayed the course or has recently arrived in Buenos Aires. I'm interested in knowing about any official changes: registering with AFIP (still necessary?), getting a sponsor for an apartment, examples of costs (apartment in palermo--$100), personal experiences with crime or perceived threats, people in general (more or less knitted?), etc. ----and anything else that might be relevant.
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Joined: 09 Apr 2003
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2003 5:52 pm    Post subject: Living in BA Reply with quote

Hi Revelation 99,

I havenīt been here in BA long enough to give you definitive answers, but I can shed some light.

The economy is still in the toilet, though it is getting better. Most people here seem to be quite pessimistic about the future, and the new Pres (about whom Iīm told is only the less bothersome choice for those who actually chose him) doesnīt seem to be making much of a difference on a personal, psychological level. Who knows what will happen if they default on the IMF loan coming due.

You can get a small, studio apt for about U$S 120. It seems more likely that youīd spend around U$S 160 in a decent area. Not a whole lot less if you want to go to the northern subs.

Iīm here as a tourist (on a very long tour, you see), so I donīt know anything about registering with someone. The word on the street, as Dave said, is nobody cares if you stay here forever.

The job market in BA, as one native teacher here said, is Ļdecimated.Ļ Iīve got degrees and years of experience and I canīt get an interview to save my life. I start going after private students next week. Iīm hoping that once the new semester starts, I might have a chance of getting University classes (rather than lang school classes which pay nothing at all from what I can tell. Indeed, I found that a full load at some of these schools will require you to be considered officially ĻpoorĻ by Argentine standards, 670 pesos a month. Though, I havenīt really looked at many of these.)

As far as money goes, I eat one good meal a day and fetch it (or do a superponcho) for the others. My hotel is extraordinarily cheap, yet doesnīt come with a kitchen. As such, Iīm probably spending a little more money than is necessary. Iīve been here for about three weeks, and am spending less than $80 a week, and Iīm not really watching costs. Once I start working, I figure that will rise to about $120 US a week.

All of these prices are subject to whether you speak Castillano or not. When my Spanish gets messy, the prices rise quickly.

If thereīs anything more I can add, you can PM me. I check my email about once a day.

ĻIf you are determined, you can live hereĻ as I was told on a number of occasions by different people.

All the best,


ps sorry for the strange key strokes. The Iīm using a Arg. computer.
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Joined: 09 Apr 2003
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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2003 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I forgot.

As for crime, if you havenīt been here for a while, Iīm told that it is much worse. The normal day to day stuff is here, but thereīs been a spike in kidnappings lately (and it doesnīt seem to matter where in the city you are located). Personally, this makes me worried.

On the other hand, I havenīt actually seen anything out of the ordinary. If you are familiar with S. American culture, you will see what you see everywhere. The other exception to this is that there are a lot more guns than Iīm used to (and Iīm from the US). Rather than knives, robbing via guns is the way it goes. An American tourist here told me that heīs been robbed twice at gun point. He looks and acts like a tourist, so I donīt know if this should suprise me (I knew a tourist in Quito who got mugged four times in three weeks, twice being sent to the hospital. I never had a real problem in the year I was there.)

Thereīs a lot of petty theft, but it seems that, in general, they donīt want to steal anything which would cause you to call the police (e.g. luggage). In my hotel, thereīs been several times when someone has gone through my stuff that I leave out. Yet, obviously, I donīt leave out anything which one would probably want to steal (once, in Madrid, someone stole all of my underwear. Why Iīll never know.)

I wouldnīt walk around on smaller streets at night. The newspapers report that the plazas are now the place to get mugged (and it seems fairly early in the evening, too). Iīve been out and about rather late at night, once stumbling, and didnīt see anything thatīd make me nervous.

I wouldnīt go into the poor areas of the city for any reason, day or night. Iīm fairly street smart, but these people look angry and hungry (which they are).


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Joined: 09 Apr 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 4:26 pm    Post subject: Mea Culpa Reply with quote

Hi all and sundry,

Well, now that I have a whole five weeks of experience here, I need to amend some of what I posted before. I hope I didnīt cause anyone to not come to BA with my rather bad report.

First of all, the reason I wasnīt getting interviews is that I didnīt understand how the game is played. Like almost everything here, you need to know someone so that you can drop the name -- basically, as it was explained to me, "you may have a lot of wonderful references and a great CV, but what have you done in Buenos Aires" is the mind set.

Also, all the language schools, like universities and colleges, follow a rather strict quarter or semester system. They seemingly donīt open classes between start dates. What this means for me is that Iīve been taking an odd class here and there whereever something unusual happens, like, for example, three students want a special, tailored class and are willing to pay for it -- all in language schools.

So, I got my first "name" through the internet cafe that Iīm currently in. The woman who owns and runs it, knowing that Iīm looking for work, told me of a friend of a friend whose child goes to a school which is in need of an instructor. Well, I showed up, dropped the womanīs name, and got a few hours right then. It also helps tremendously if you know the director or coordinatorīs name before you go cold calling.

I then sent CVīs via email (you can get a list of most schools from to a few places telling them that Iīm currently working at X and would like a few more hours (donīt tell them youīre looking for a position -- as I said, until the new semester starts, there are none). With this method, I got plenty of job interviews and enough hours to survive -- around 20 contact hours (to live fairly well, youīll need 25 contact hours at 13 to 15 pesos an hour). The bad part of this is that each class is in a very different part of the city, which means I spend many hours on the bus. Itīs rather like teaching Corp. or private students, just more secure.

Iīd think that once Sept. comes around, the schools will be hiring native teachers, quite possibly full time. There are not that many natives here (but more than Iīd have thought) due to the economy. I would be careful, however, of the schools. They range from the worst educational institutes Iīve ever witnessed (I was in one where the students were reading out loud with the instructor correcting every pronunciation mistake) to fantastic. Ask the coordinator or director about teaching methods before you begin. Always ask about the pay during the interview -- one place offered me 7.5 pesos an hour after I spent an hour in the interview; quite frustrating.

On another note. The visa is not that big of an issue as far as working quasi-legally. The gov really doesnīt care if you work here forever, but they do want the taxes. Early on this was a problem for me in finding private corporate work -- without a QUIL number they canīt hire you. I was told (by two people) that it is impossible to get said number without the proper visa. I believed them and stopped trying to get those kinds of jobs. Well, from what I believe is a reliable source, itīs not true. If you speak spanish, have a decent suit, and act like you know what youīre doing, Iīm told, you can simply walk into the barrio office and theyīll give you one without asking anything about it. The negative side of this is that taxes are quite high, 80 pesos a month regardless of how much you earn. However, this number will also garner you a better pay rate -- but as far as Iīm concerned not enough to make up for the taxes.

All of this is to say that yes you can live here and get hours to teach. It may not be the easiest thing to do, but it isnīt that hard.

One last note: I believe the crime here is rather low. Based on the actions of the Porteņos, there is really very little to worry about. Keep your eyes open and donīt be foolish, of course.

I hope this helps and straightens out my prior posts.


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Joined: 18 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2003 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Patrick,

thanks for your detailed posts- I'm a bit envious of your bravery in shooting of to B.A. to get a job!

I am coming to argentina to visit this winter, but I would love to find an ESL job there later on if possible.

Could you tell me a bit more? (or anyone reading this!)

What were your interviews like? Did it seem they very interested in CELTA type qualifications? If I remember correctly you are much more qualified than me- I have been teaching only a year, and hope to get a CELTA or something before I go looking for jobs again. I'm worried that won't cut it for a job in buenos aires- what do you think? I dont speak spanish now either, although I may study it for a year or so by the time I go look for jobs. ( am I dreaming here? It was easy to get my job in Japan, so I may have some illusions about other countries.)

You mentioned that it is difficult to get hired during a running semester. So when do the semesters start and end, or, do you know about when they hire for those semesters?

And you said you made a connection through an internet cafe- did you mean, this one?

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Joined: 09 Apr 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Meridian,

Iīd be glad to give you some more info (I had thought I was boring all of you out there with so many details).

As I said before, once I figured out how to get an interview, the jobs simply started coming. I think, though donīt know, that if they call you for an interview, you have the job. That is, unless you look like a backpacker or canīt actually speak english or something.

In most of the interviews, we talked about methodology or "strange" students or whatnot. Very relaxed, and I was able to ask quite detailed questions about the schools and programs.

As for having one year experience and getting that job, I can tell you that there are numerous schools who wouldnīt care if you had no TESOL education. Some of the schools, which pay nearly the same as others, barely deserve the name. It depends: if youīre looking to work in a real school with dedicated professionals, you might have a problem landing a full time job (which I donīt have yet) as there are many Argentine teachers walking around with Masters or better. If youīre looking, on the other hand, to live in BsAs and teach while doing it, youīll get that easily. If itīs somewhere in between these extremes, you can do it also.

The semesters are standard, with the next beginning late August, early Sept.

As far as not speaking the language, the people here are very nice and very helpful, except when it comes to money. Just be prepared to pay more for everything, or just think in Dollars and you wonīt notice the overcharge. Once you get a job, you will probably need someone from the school to help you get settled. Everyone I work with is very considerate and helpful, so Iīm sure you wouldnīt have a problem there.

Hope this helps. If thereīs anything else I can add, to the group or just to you, Meridian, donīt hesitate to ask.

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Joined: 31 Oct 2003
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2003 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Patrick,

I've just been reading through your reports from BsAs - thanks, they've been really helpful. I'm interested to hear how you've got on over the past few months and how you've settled in there. I'm planning to come over in January. Has the economic situation got any better or worse there, and are enjoying the place?

steve (London)
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