Italy is one of those places that most people will fall in love with the minute that they land on Italian soil. It has a natural warmth and beauty that can only be experienced by an in-person visit. And for many, that first visit results in thoughts of returning, moving or relocating to Italy.
However, the problem for many people is that they would need to find a job in order to pay for the normal day-to-day living expenses. Jobs for Italians are scarce in the land where 20% unemployment is they typical average in some cities. And jobs for foreigners are even tougher to come by unless you have a skill that is in high-demand.
For many, teaching English in Italy is a good way to get your feet in the door, so to speak. If you are a recent college graduate, this can be a great way to gain some valuable experience while traveling the world and learning a new language and culture. This is usually a great time to do it prior to buying a house, starting a family, etc.
But what are the requirements if you wanted to do this?
On my recent trip to Italy I caught up with Frank Adamo, author of the Teach English in Italy guide and asked him about the TEFL certification. It seems that there are a lot of companies that offer these teaching certificates to help you qualify for their jobs. Some of these certificates can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
Mr. Adamo has been teaching English to Italians and Albanians for over 20 years and has extensive first-hand knowledge in this field.
Me: I see a lot of different certifications required when I peruse the web looking for English-teaching positions in Italy. Is that truly required?
Frank: There are a lot of scammers out there that are trying to get your money. They claim that taking their course will get you the job but once you pay for the course and finish the course - the jobs are nowhere to be found! There was never really a job in the first place. The only business they want to do is to sell their TEFL course.
"a certificate from scammers is not going to increase your chances of getting a job" Frank Adamo
Me: So how would someone get started if they want to teach English in Italy? How did you end up in Italy teaching English?
Frank: The best thing to do is to gain some practical experience at home before you depart for Italy. There are now many areas of the United States where people speak another language like Spanish or Chinese that need help with their English. Any type of experience in that regard will look good to potential employers in Italy.
It's also a good idea to do as much online research as possible about your target city prior to leaving. Try to find the classified sites for that particular city. A good Italian classified site to use is www.subito.it.
Another question many people ask is if it is necessary to speak Italian in order to teach English in Italy?
Technically the answer is no. And when conversing with the students, it's probably preferred that you don't speak any Italian. However, knowing a little bit of the language will certainly assist you when you are applying for jobs, looking at online advertisements, etc. And it will also make your stay in Italy a lot more enjoyable.
Another note: If you are an American and plan to stay in Italy longer than 90 days you will need to make sure you have a work-Visa. This can be a time-consuming process. If you are from the UK or any other European Union country, you will also need a work-Visa but in theory it's granted automatically. And of course you will also need to get a "carta fiscale" or the Italian equivalent of a tax identification number.
About the Interviewee
Frank Adamo is an American that has been teaching English in Italy and Albania for over 20 years. For those that are interested in teaching English in Italy you should check out his book which is available on Amazon called Teach English in Italy. You can also find out more by visiting his site www.teachitaly.com.