Italy is a wonderful country with great food, lovely people, spectacular beauty, architecture and a rich history. Nothing is ever plain sailing though, take a look at Danny (an i-to-i TEFL teacher) and read about his experience teaching English in Italy.
Why Teach English in Italy?
Plain and simple, I love the coffee in Italy. It seems an obvious one but you can go to the little bars and get a great cup of coffee for about €1.20 away from the tourist areas. When I go for a coffee back home in England it is always of inferior quality and several times more expensive.
The weather in Italy, especially in the south, is absolutely magnificent. I once spent over 6 months without once wearing anything on my feet except sandals, even to work! Being English, I was at the beach at every opportunity from around mid-March, the other English teachers probably thought I was mad; but even the cold blooded Italians, who wear coats in 25C degree heat, are there by the end of April.
The long lunches
Most people living in southern Italy have a lunchtime that begins around 1pm and can end as late as 5pm. It really breaks your day up and although everything is closed except the supermarket and the gym, and people are home with their families, it does give you a great opportunity to chill out, have plenty of time for a long lunch and have a little nap.
The piazza culture
Most evenings Italians dress up and go to the local square. They take the kids along and stand around chatting to friends, moving slowly around the different bars, and maybe taking a little stroll around the town centre; and it’s a fantastic way of getting to know everyone, and if you’re teaching English in the area you’ll run into loads of your students, who then introduce you to half the town, and before you know it you are saying hi to people every time you walk down the street.
The people of southern Italy are the friendliest, most down-to-earth people imaginable . They make you feel like a member of the family when they have only just met you! I have been all over the world and met lovely people, but southern Italians are up there with the nicest.
Like what you see so far? Take a look at our guide to TEFLing in Italy for more information!
Things you’ll need to get used to if you’re teaching in Italy
If you go to the beach in summer, you quickly realise Italian men have never heard of shorts. Every one of them will be wearing speedos, which is fine except when they invite you to play volleyball or beach football with them.
As a TEFL teacher in Italy I really tried to get to grips with the language as I wanted a real cultural experience: English in the classroom but Italian outside it. So as you can imagine it really irritated me when waiters insisted on speaking English to me despite my replying in Italian, especially when I was a beginner because I just wanted to have the chance to practice.
Graffiti in Rome
I have no idea why Italian youths would want to spoil one of the most beautiful cities on the planet by daubing graffiti all over it.
It takes ages to get anything done when it comes to paperwork. My employer was very well-connected and as such, was able to cut through a lot of red tape, but it was still difficult to register for the doctor, get a codice fiscali (tax number), set up a bank account and other bits and pieces. It must be terrible for those from outside the EU, having to deal with the visa problems too.
Always being late
It is just a consequence of the laid back lifestyle, but having lived in Japan it irritates me greatly when you make an appointment or schedule a lesson with someone and they are invariably late. You find yourself deliberately turning up late for things, only to find they come even later – Ii just introduces so much dead time to your working day, and takes quite some getting used to!
Thanks Danny! Fancy your own adventure teaching English in Italy? Are you teaching there already? What do you love most about teaching there?