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ICANEWS Noviembre 2010, Año 7 # 20
A teaching adventure down south
by Carolina Conde, Adrián Colombet and Romina Rasmussen

Have you ever considered teaching English in the uttermost part of the Earth? Three teachers who graduated from Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata are enjoying this priceless opportunity and want to share it with you.
“Everything started two years ago”, Adrián said, “I was living in Buenos Aires and I realized that I was prepared to go on a new adventure. It was at that moment that I saw an advertisement on the web for a job at an English School in Tierra del Fuego and I decided to apply for it. ”

One year later two friends, Carolina and Romina joined Adrián. This is how these three teachers were hired to work for CEP, one of the largest English schools in Tierra del Fuego. CEP is located in Río Grande, 220 km north of Ushuaia.  This school, which has been running since 1987 and has more than 1000 students, follows a communicative approach and prepares students for international exams.


Once in Río Grande the three friends found themselves living in a safe and quiet community. In the last two decades Río Grande has experienced an important increase in its population thanks to job opportunities in different factories which are the city’s main source of wealth.  Moreover, salaries in this city are much higher than in the rest of the country and living expenses are lower. All these factors considered, Rio Grande offers newcomers the possibility of making money yet; those who decide to come to the city have to cope with dreadful weather conditions. Carolina said “During the icy winter, I had to learn to walk like a penguin without lifting my feet from the ice covered sidewalks so as not to fall on the ground and hurt myself. Similarly, when I crossed the street I learnt to wait for some seconds once the traffic light was red because cars found it hard to stop due to the slippery roads”. Romina pointed out that “in Río Grande most people own a car because they are cheaper than in the rest of Argentina and also because harsh winter weather makes it extremely difficult for people to move around without one”. Carolina added “I love walking and I used to walk to my job when I lived in Mar del Plata, but that is something which I cannot do much here. Not only because it is very cold but also because in summer and spring the city is very windy with wind gusting at up to 100 kilometers per hour”.  Adrián also commented that “daylight length is also crazy in Tierra del Fuego. At the height of summer there is sunlight for more than 17 hours while in winter, light only lasts for about 7 hours.”

In spite of the cold windy weather, the three teachers soon began to enjoy the many attractions of the surrounding areas. Romina said “I suggest that people come and visit Ushuaia where they can sail across the Beagle Channel, visit the National Park with its breathtaking landscapes, see the Martial Glacier, and take a tour through the historic prison of the end of the world”. Carolina, Romina and Adrián, profit from their free time and they visit Ushuaia whenever possible. Adrián said “what called our attention as regards transportation was the scant availability of means of transport and schedules”. In Río Grande there is just one flight a day and only one airline company that flies to the city. Similarly, if you need to travel to Ushuaia and you do not own a car the only option is to take a van. Vans for Ushuaia depart every two hours but the last one leaves at 9 p.m. Moreover, the length of the trip varies according to weather conditions. So, after a series of bad experiences with transportation, this group of friends learnt to plan their trips carefully, taking this information into account.

To conclude, the south of Argentina is a wonderful place with incredible landscapes and great job opportunities. People who like being in contact with nature and enjoy some peace and quiet will like living in Tierra del Fuego as long as they are aware of its drawbacks. Therefore, Adrián, Romina and Carolina strongly recommend those teachers with an adventurous spirit to come to Tierra del Fuego and experience life in the southernmost part of the country.


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