Steps to Begin Your English Teaching Adventure in Italy

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Pursuing your English teaching adventure in Italy is easy when you know the steps you need to take to get there. From getting the necessary qualifications to wrapping your head around a new culture and pace of life, this is the information you need to start living the dolce vita. 

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English Teaching Adventure

Get TEFL Qualified

The first and most important step is making sure you are TEFL-qualified. While a degree isn’t necessarily a requirement, employers will be on the lookout for TEFL-certified teachers who know their stuff. 

A 120-hour course is the industry standard. And this can be taken either online or in person if you’re based near a training centre. During your course, you’ll get the opportunity to pick the brains of experienced teachers and learn the ins and outs of English grammar as well as a variety of teaching methods. 

Consider getting some experience under your belt, too, as this could give you a competitive edge when applying for roles in Italy. You could do this by volunteering for organisations like RefuNet or landing a position teaching online. 


Finding opportunities 

As an English teacher in Italy, there are a range of opportunities you can choose to pursue. These include working in private language schools, going freelance, or applying to international schools.

Be prepared for the fact that, unlike the other roles you can apply for in Italy, international schools usually require applicants to hold a degree in education alongside a TEFL qualification. That doesn’t mean this can no longer be an option if you don’t tick all of those boxes. Instead, keep an eye out for teaching assistant opportunities.  

Where private language schools are concerned, you won’t lack options. However, pay attention to the contract you’re offered, as many only span the academic year. Some ways English teachers in Italy navigate this is by working at summer camps. Or they even au pair with an Italian family during the holidays to cover their expenses.

Freelancers will also have the same issue as work tends to drop off significantly after June when the school year ends. You can prepare for this by setting aside a chunk of your earnings each month. And this way you can spend your summer exploring everything Italy has to offer. 


Things to know about teaching in Italy

English teachers working in private schools in Italy typically teach a range of ages. Some schools will have resources to help with this, others may have a more hands-off approach and leave teachers to approach lessons with their own teaching method and material. 

A typical day of teaching is not the average 9 to 5 and will involve working around your students’ schedules. You may have lessons early in the morning, with gaps during the day, and then lessons in the evening. Although this could seem inconvenient, many teachers take advantage of the time for their lesson preparation and marking. 

Teachers might also be asked to teach Business or Legal English in certain schools. To be as prepared as possible to teach this more specialist English, you could undertake additional courses that focus on these niches alongside your TEFL Qualification. 


Preparing for the move

Depending on your location, prepare for steep rental prices, especially in more popular cities like Milan, Rome, or Florence. English teachers earn approximately €1000 to €1500 per month, so renting a room in a shared apartment instead of your own place is the most budget-friendly option.

Moreover, living with Italian housemates is a great way to learn about the culture, and create a new group of friends you can adventure with. You could even pick up some tips and tricks in the kitchen – no cooking course necessary! 

Bear in mind that while most young people – especially students – may speak some English due to university requirements, that won’t necessarily be the case for everyone. With that in mind, taking a beginner’s course in Italian before you move will help you have the basics down in no time. 

Visa requirements 

If you’re not European, landing a work permit can be tricky as an English teacher. This is due to the length of contracts on offer as well as the costs involved for employers. There are other options, however. 

One of the most common routes English teachers take to teach in Italy is to apply for a student visa. When you’re not studying, you can spend your evenings or weekends teaching your own private clients or at schools. 

For Europeans, things are simpler. All you’re required to do is register as a resident with the local municipal authorities if you intend to stay and work for longer than 3 months in Italy. 


Settling into life in Italy 

Besides getting used to your new career as an English teacher, and a new language, there will be a few culture shocks you’ll need to adapt to. Alongside the many food-related norms, there are a few other important things of note about Italian culture. 

Bureaucracy can be confusing and, at times, slow. To make the process of registering as a resident and applying for your national health card as easy as possible, do your research about what documents you need and go to every appointment prepared. 

When it comes to assimilating into Italian culture, try to embrace their culture of sharing. This is especially true if you’re living with others. Italians enjoy eating together, cooking together, and generally having a community around them. 

Lean into this if you want to form deep and lasting relationships with locals. While you may come from a more reserved culture, that approach could mean you miss out on getting a taste of true, authentic Italian life. 

Overall, whatever your motivation is for teaching English abroad in Italy, the steps remain the same. So long as you’re prepared, you can make your dream of an Italian adventure a reality. 

If you’d like further information on the logistics involved, you can discover how to teach English in Italy with TEFL.Org’s resources. 

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