There are many opportunities for volunteering in Argentina, from food banks to villas miserias (shantytowns) to organic farms. Some ask for just your time, or a modest fee – and some charge hundreds of dollars (with likely a low percentage of money going directly to those in need). Before choosing an organization, it’s good to talk to other volunteers about their experiences.
Unless you have a special skill, business, and/or speak Spanish, it’s hard to find paid work in Argentina other than teaching English – or perhaps putting time in at a hostel or expat bar. And it’s good to realize that you’re not likely to get rich doing these things.
Native English speakers usually work out of language institutes. Twenty hours a week of actual teaching is about enough for most people (note you aren’t paid for prep time or travel time, which can add another hour or two for each hour of teaching). Frustrations include dealing with unpleasant institutes, time spent cashing checks at the bank, classes being spread throughout the day and cancelled classes. Institute turnover is high and most people don’t teach for more than a year.
A TEFL certification can certainly help but isn’t mandatory for all jobs (check out www.teflbuenosaires.com). You’ll make more money teaching private students, but it takes time to gain a client base. And you should take into account slow periods, such as December through February, when many locals leave town on summer vacation.
To find a job, call up the institutes or visit expat bars and start networking. March is when institutes are ramping up their courses, so it’s the best time to find work. Many teachers work on tourist visas (which is not a big deal), heading over to Uruguay every three months for a new visa or visiting the immigration office for a visa extension.
For general job postings, check out www.landingpadba.com/jobs-and-working-in-argentina, http://buenosaires.en.craigslist.org and www.indeed.com/q-Argentina-jobs.html. You could also try posting on expat website forums, such as www.baexpats.org.
If you’ve ever thought about living and working in Argentina, then why not teach English as a foreign language (TEFL)? It could be the key to funding your travels and experiencing new cultures in a totally new way. You don’t need teaching experience or even the ability to speak the local language – although you might learn it while you’re out there.