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You’re TEFL qualified, you’re planning to become TEFL qualified or you’re already an experienced TEFL teacher and fancy a new location. You’ve cracked open a maze of potential career-paths, all across the globe. But the real challenge is choosing where you want to teach! I’m here to tell you all about why you should choose to teach English in Italy.
I mean, where better to get your first taste of teaching abroad, or simply a change of pace, than Italy? The only requirement: bring your appetite. But first, let’s talk a bit about the lovely sponsors of this blog post – TEFL.org.
Dreaming about living and working abroad or a job that lets you work from home and set your own hours? Well then teaching English abroad might be for you! To get the ball rolling, if you haven’t already, you need to get yourself qualified by obtaining your TEFL certification.
Recognised worldwide, and with a range of courses to suit every individual’s needs, TEFL.org is a great place to start. Not only can you read first-hand experiences on their blog from teachers who qualified with them, they also have tonnes of useful tips on where to get started once you’re qualified.
Get your TEFL qualification with the UK’s most experienced and accredited TEFL course provider and soon you’ll be out earning while you explore new places. Qualify to teach English as a foreign language with one of their classroom TEFL courses held at various locations across Ireland. Find out more information here: www.tefl.org/courses/locations/ireland/
Reasons to Teach English in Italy
The Delicious Italian Food
Food is an integral part of Italian culture, and exactly the reviving remedy you’ll savour at the end of a long day of teaching. I mean, pizza, pasta and GELATO! Need I say any more?! Every region boasts its own specialities, and none will disappoint, so eating well is pretty much guaranteed.
Make sure to read my guide to the best cheap eats in Rome.
In Venice you can head to a bar after work and experience the classic Aperitivo, like the locals. Usually served before dinner, from 18:30 to 20:00, you can enjoy an Aperol spritz, in the region where it was invented, alongside the cicchetti (normally small slices of bread or grilled polenta, topped with the classic Venetian baccalà mantecato, a creamy dish of salted cod.)
Discover the famous fiorentina steak and chianti wine in Florence. Or head further south to try pizza napoletana, in its birthplace: Naples. The method of making this type of pizza is so important to Italians that it is protected by TSG status (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed).
Long lunch breaks reflect just how valued food is in Italy. Public schools finish at lunch time and teachers and children alike head home to have lunch with their families. It is more than just eating well – it is sharing that experience with your loved ones.
Teaching English in Italy is an opportunity to become part of that community. Relish the opportunity to learn how to make the local dishes (top, sneaky, teaching-tip: get lower-level classes to write their favourite recipes in English). Embrace the long lunches with flatmates. And don’t be surprised when you eventually find yourself talking about food during mealtimes – that’s when you’ll know you’ve truly integrated.
The Wealth of Italian Culture
The culture and history of Italy is pleasantly inescapable with every twist and turn down cobbled streets. Shakespeare himself took inspiration from Italy to create many of his plays – most famously, Romeo and Juliet.
From the iconic and commanding, gothic Duomo di Milano, to losing yourself within the labyrinth of Venice, where even Google maps can’t save you (you either embrace the sensation of the unknown, whilst soaking up the architecture or follow the hordes of tourists and hope they have a better sense of direction than you). Whether you are seeking inspiration for creative pastimes, or not, Italy makes for utterly absorbing weekend breaks.
Education has also held an integral place in the centre of Italian culture for thousands of years. The University of Bologna, founded in 1088, is the oldest university in the world and a vibrant student life continues to thrive there today.
In Padova, Elena Cornaro Piscopia was the first woman to be awarded a degree from the University of Padova on June 25th 1678. It is a country rich in depths of literature, art and music – all of which can make great conversation points when teaching.
Beginning with Shakespeare, your students will lead you to Dante Alighieri, Alda Merini, Giuseppe Sanmartino. Those weekend trips are shaped by the expert advice you’ll receive in your very own classroom, as you learn from each other.
If you’re thinking of planning a trip to Italy but
don’t know when to visit make sure to check out
my post all about Italy in December.
The Italian Outdoors
Italy is home to nearly every landscape imaginable. For mountain-lovers, there are the Dolomites in the North (Tre Cime di Lavaredo makes for both a good social-media photo-op and the perfect place for an adventure), where you can find hundreds of hiking, trekking and mountain-biking trails.
For those into more extreme sports, there are ample climbing routes and paragliding is ever increasing in popularity too. The ski season attracts tourists from all across Europe (and beyond) every year, and for teachers there is the “settimana bianca” (one in December/January and one in February) which usually aligns with the school holidays so that families can get their fill of mountain air and snow together.
If a warmer climate is more your thing, then the South of Italy will no doubt accommodate your needs. The lowest yearly temperature in Sicily will seldom drop below 10°C, and if you somehow tire of the beaches and Mediterranean Sea, The Aeolian Islands lie to the North of Sicily in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
On Isola di Vulcano you can take an early morning walk up to the top of the volcano and soak up the views and silence, sandy earth beneath your feet (and potentially in your shoes). On the opposite side of the island resides a “secret” beach of black sand that you’ll need to take a boat across to get to (the locals will point you in the right direction). Though you may have only gone to Italy to teach, with no intention of falling in love, it’s unavoidable if, after a long morning of walking, you try the arancini.
The Regions of Italy
As diverse as it is in landscape, the atmosphere in every region of Italy is equally and uniquely different. This is reinforced by the fact that each region typically has its own dialect, alongside speaking Italian (they are all extremely distinct in their own right, and some Italians from two adjoining regions might not understand one another were they to speak only in their native dialects). The great thing about this is, if you find yourself in a region that doesn’t quite suit you, Italy is so diverse that simply moving region can be enough to find that pocket of Italian life that’s perfect for you .
While hopping from region to region may seem daunting to some, it is a way of life that TEFL teaching is well adapted to, that TEFL teachers are often excited by – and exactly why it pairs so well with Italy. They are a match made in movement and change.
Teaching English in Italy is a special experience purely because of the overwhelming amount of choice it provides. Italy allows you to experience a variety of ways of living as you progress in your teaching career – you get to develop as a teacher while also narrowing down what kind of environment you might like to live in when you finally settle down. If you ever stop travelling, that is!
If you’d like to read more about becoming TEFL accredited or teaching English in Italy then make sure to check out tefl.org for all the info, testimonials and tips you might need. You can also check out more of my articles about Italy below!