How to Find a Job in Buenos Aires
With only two months left in Buenos Aires after my study abroad program ended I was looking for something part time while I volunteered at a hospital. I needed a gig that paid in cash, since work visas are competitive to obtain without a full time job and can take years to process. Many cafes, restaurants and retail stores will pay under the table, but they typically hire longer-term employees (at least six months). After a long process of exhausting my contacts and filtering through Craigslist, I found that there are plenty of other options for part time paid work.
In short, Craigslist.com and Mercadolibre.com are two websites with very frequent part job postings in Argentina that also offer the ability to advertise your services ranging from math tutoring to tennis lessons. Listed below are the most common job offers listed on those sites, and other ideas to add to your search.
With a foreign language teaching certification, you have a lot of opportunities with both private individuals and professional language teaching institutions. Many English language institutes require you to have a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) or the almost identical Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). You can get certified in person in Vamos Spanish Academy or can also do it online. Some professional institutes even offer work visas and contracts. For other English Institutes in Buenos Aires that don’t often post on Craigslist or Mercado libre, try http://www.ihbuenosaires-city.com.ar/ and https://www.facebook.com/feedbackinstituto
If you are not a certified language teacher, and don’t plan on getting a formal certificate while you’re here, you can still find opportunities to teach or tutor in a more informal setting without a lesson plan. There is a high demand for conversational practice with native speakers of English, French, German, Portuguese, and Chinese. Whether you are providing feedback on writing samples and homework assignments or simply chatting with children or adults about your lives, people will pay at least $10 USD per hour for your natural accent and your shared experience as a student learning a new language. Companies and individuals also seek teachers for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE).
Other academic tutoring:
If you scored well on your SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, or any other college or graduate school exam with an intimidating acronym, you might consider tutoring for that test or related subjects such as math. Even though the Argentine public education system is free and high quality, there are still folks in Buenos Aires here hoping to continue their education abroad at institutions that require these exams. If you don’t have professional experience teaching exam prep courses, don’t worry. Sometimes a high score and enthusiastic attitude is all you need to facilitate a weekly study session.
If you have experience with childcare, babysitting can be one of the easiest ways to make good money Buenos Aires. Especially as a native speaker of a language other than Spanish, you can find bilingual families that will pay more for language exposure for their children. World Class Nannies is a great site for people who have at least three years of childcare experience and solid references. Greataupair has a similar system for childcare, and also connects clients and workers for housekeeping, tutoring, senior care, and other home services. Craigslist postings allow you to skip the middleman and don’t always require the same amount of experience as professional sites. Another option is going to your home country’s embassy and publicizing that you are available for any parents who work at the embassy. You may have to go into the province of Buenos Aires for these babysitting jobs, as many wealthy international families live in the suburbs north of the city. Yet there are plenty of buses and trains that can get you from Palermo or Recoleta to suburbs like Vicente Lopez in around an hour.
In a city full of professional local dog walkers, try the homestay angle instead. Craigslist and Greataupair are full of pet sitting requests. Another unique option is the site Doghero, which allows you to take care of someone’s pet in your own home for a short period of time. The average pay per night is $200 Argentine pesos, but some pet owners pay as much as $400.
Both Craigslist and Mercado libre receive new requests weekly for guitar or piano lessons. If you are already tutoring or babysitting for a student or family, it cannot hurt to offer to add an hour of music lessons on to your meeting time. Even if the client does not have an interest in learning an instrument, they can always sing in your native language while you play an instrument. This can be a great way to diversify their language learning techniques and makes for a fun cool-down after an hour of studying. Music lessons are also a great way to take time to learn about the other person’s favorite music and musical culture.
If you don’t have experience teaching music, yet love to play it, you may get some good tips at open mic nights. At the very least you’ll get complimentary entrance and drinks, and the chance to meet people who might hire you for future gigs. Playing at the subte stations is always an easy way to make a quick buck. Even if you only know a handful of songs, the beauty of the train stage is the constantly rotating crowd. The station platforms offer more friendly ears than the moving train cars, and a little more balance too. If you’re brave and talented enough to take on street performance, scope out the stations and trains around rush hour first before you step on the toes and territory of local musicians.
An additional note – Facebook community groups for immigrants and foreigners living in Buenos Aires are also helpful networks for long-term tourists, students studying abroad, and people working here temporarily. Although colloquial use of the term “expatriate” is problematic, the facebook page “Buenos Aires Expat Hub” is one example of a popular forum for english speakers living in Buenos Aires to post helpful tips about living in the city as a foreigner, and you can post there if you are looking for work. People who call themselves “expats” tend to have the extra money to spend on tutors and pet sitters. There are also many country specific facebook groups that might serve you if you are from that country (ie. Colombianos en Buenos Aires).
For job searches on a time crunch, word of mouth and connections are ultimately the best bet. Even though a friend didn’t need me to babysit her kids, she passed on my availability to a social media group for parents from her child’s elementary schools and help me make new contacts. After I began tutoring English for a family of two kids, I also became a part time music teacher / babysitter. Then after just one week with that family, the porter of their building asked me to tutor English for his son. Once you put your name out there the offers come in eventually, and they tend to bring other unexpected opportunities for work, friendships, and cultural exchanges. Buenos Aires winter and summer vacation times are great windows to find short term jobs with a lot of hours per week.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s what I’ve noticed in my search process. If you find any good strategies for finding jobs, pass them on to other students and visitors in Buenos Aires! Be sure to help your contacts to continue the services you provided after you leave by referring them to other people living in Buenos Aires (But maybe not until after you head home).
Have other suggestions for finding short term or part time jobs in Buenos Aires? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.