Some of you can’t wait for the summer months to arrive: the heat of the afternoon sun, cold beer and baseball games, and melty ice cream cones. And then there are those of you who brace against the first waves of heat. You get grumpy when you sweat and prefer to blast the AC, creating an arctic sanctuary in your home and in your car.
If you fall into the latter category and you’re presently wondering how you’ll survive another summer of brutal heat, perhaps you should consider teaching English in South America this summer. Forget about your expensive AC bills this year. Just hop on a plane and head south, where winter is in full force.
In the Southern Hemisphere, it gets colder the further you head south. Here are some places you might want to teach, depending on your preferred level of winter intensity.
Patagonia: Winter on Steroids
If you love snow sports and huddling next to a fireplace, head all the way down to the lower reaches of Patagonia. Patagonia is a geographic region that is comprised of both Chile and Argentina. On the Chilean side, you will find the impressive sights of Torres del Paine National Park, and the windswept regions of Aysén and Magallanes. Chilean Patagonia tends to be less developed, with smaller towns and less infrastructure for tourism. You may also find higher-paying jobs in Chilean Patagonia, as the region is considered an “extreme zone” by the government and warrants higher salaries. On the Argentine side you’ll find Bariloche, a touristic hub of skiing, chocolate, and beer, as well as Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Argentina is also home to the impressive Perito Moreno glacier and the looming peaks of Fitz Roy. Argentine Patagonia has more paved roads, hostels, varied eating choices, and better infrastructure for getting around, but you probably won’t make as much money teaching there.
Middle Latitudes: Blustery Days and Cozy Sweaters
If braving snowstorms and stoking the fire sounds like a bit much for you, try the middle latitudes of Argentina and Chile. Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, offers an unbeatable cafe scene and plenty of bohemian bookstores for cozying up when the wind and rain start to blow. Nearby Rosario on the shores of the Paraná River is another solid choice, with a large student population. Rosario is the birthplace of Argentina’s most famous “che,” Ernesto “Che” Guevara. On the Chilean side, try the colorful port city of Valparaíso, or set up in busy Santiago for access to a great TEFL job market and some of the best ski areas in the world. If you’re looking for a slower pace, try Uruguay, Argentina’s sleepy neighbor. Uruguay’s beautiful coastline is quiet and peaceful during the winter months.
Southern Brazil: Not too cold, Not too Hot
Alright Goldilocks, if you insist on being neither hot nor cold, you can head a little further north into Southern Brazil. Florianópolis is a beach city with a party vibe and quality surfing that stays mild (around 60 F) from June to August. You can also try Porto Alegre, one of Brazil’s top cultural, political, and economic cities, which sits at the junction of five rivers. The cost of living in Brazil is higher than in Chile and Argentina, but TEFL teachers are in high demand and most jobs pay fairly well.
Let me say this: I don’t want to hear you complaining this summer if you decide to stay home. You’ve got plenty of options to spend an Austral Winter in South America, improving your TEFL skills, making friends, and shifting your perspective upside down. Just don’t expect me to join you; this is my first summer in North America in a few years and I’m going to enjoy the heck out of it!