TEFL internship in Italy! Meet best friends: Una & Rebecca
Una & Rebecca are two teachers that decided to move to Italy together. This is their inspiring story, of how best friends started teaching during our TEFL Internship in Italy. Read this interview to get more insights about their TEFL Journey.
Introduce yourself, and tell us about your journey to teaching English abroad.
Rebecca: My name is Rebecca and I’m 23 years old, and originally from Laois. I had finished university in 2020 and was working in a local hotel before I moved to Treviso. I enjoyed the work and the people, but after coming out of lockdown I felt like I needed a change of scenery. When I found out about the TEFL internship in Italy I knew that I had to seize the opportunity! I and another friend decided to apply for the programme together and now we teach in the same school.
Una: My name is Úna, and I’m 23 years old. I first thought about teaching English abroad in 2019, before the pandemic. At the time, I was working in a hotel in Scotland and I didn’t have the time to dedicate to studying a TEFL course, so it was put on the long finger until 2020 when I moved back to Ireland and I had more free time. Once I started the course it wasn’t long until I had my sights set on teaching abroad, and TEFL internship in Italy.
What were your initial thoughts when you moved to Italy? Was there anything that surprised you?
Una: It’s a very easy-going lifestyle here. People enjoy the little things and nothing is rushed – bureaucracy included. Make sure to plan things like sorting your Codice Fiscale ahead of time.
Rebecca: I never expected to build such great relationships with the teachers, commercial staff and even students! Our teaching method here means that it’s quite easy to create a relaxed and fun environment in the classroom. We’ve also had some events outside the school which can help the teachers learn more about Italian culture, plus help students improve their English in a more natural environment.
Which TEFL course did you do? Did it prepare you for teaching?
Rebecca: I completed the 180-hour level five-course online. It was ideal as I was working full time with hours that consisted of both morning and evening shifts, so it was great that I was able to work on my own schedule. The course was comprehensive and prepared me for both online and in-person teaching. They were always on hand to help with any questions that I had, I even joined their discord channel where other TEFL students offered advice and help.
Una: I did the 300-hour TEFL course. I was working at the time and being able to work away at my teaching qualification on my own time made for a very relaxed approach – I had no deadlines to stress over or classes to fit around a work schedule. It definitely prepared me for teaching in Italy and the next step was a TEFL internship in Italy.
Why did you choose Italy?
Rebecca: A friend of mine had a really positive experience with TEFL in the past, so they were my go-to option to get my qualification and secure a position abroad. After some phone calls and emails with their super friendly staff, I knew that they were the way to go. Although teaching abroad wasn’t always my first option, it was definitely something that I had always thought about. Eight months down the line, I can’t see myself on any other career path!
Una: I wanted to stay in Europe, considering it was my first time teaching abroad, and taking the pandemic into account I wanted to be relatively close to home. I’d been to Italy on family holidays before so it made sense to go back!
How was the orientation experience? did it help you feel settled?
Una: Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, the in-person training in Florence was canceled, so we did our training on zoom. In all honesty, the school I was placed in made settling in very easy – everyone was so helpful and made me feel so comfortable.
How was the application process? Any tips for completing a TEFL interview?
Rebecca: Although it was quite a long process it was super easy and relaxed thanks to the TEFL team. There was constant communication and updates so we never felt out of the loop in terms of how the application was coming along. They were also super helpful in making sure that me and Una would be positioned in the same school.
For the interview, relax and be yourself, the interviewers want to get to know you! Come prepared with reasons why Italy and teaching is the job for you, but this is also the chance to clear up any questions that you may have about the job and its responsibilities.
Where in Italy are you teaching?
Rebecca: we’re currently living in Treviso in the north of Italy, which is roughly twenty minutes by train to Venice. We arrived in September so COVID restrictions made it a little difficult to travel over winter. However, with the train network, we’ve been able to visit some of the cities in our region, as well as fly to Catania in Sicily for a long weekend!
Una: I usually work from 6-9 pm most evenings, and occasionally throughout the day. Usually, I spend my free time reading on the balcony or exploring the city in between classes. In Italy, the night starts much later, people usually don’t have dinner until later in the evening, so by the time we finish work people are only just sitting down to eat.
Future plans? Will you continue to teach?
Rebecca: I can definitely see myself staying here in Itay for a long time to come as I was recently offered a permanent contract! It’s a beautiful country full of culture and art, and the people are incredibly welcoming. The job has helped me grow, not just as a teacher, but as a person too. It’s an experience that will definitely benefit me going forward in the future.
Una: At the moment, I’m loving the pace of life that I have. I’m staying at my current school because I was offered a permanent contract along with another TEFL teacher that started at the same time as me, which is great!
Would you recommend the internship? Have any advice for TEFL teachers?
Rebecca: I’ve really enjoyed the TEFL internship in Italy experience so far! Getting to experience such a unique and beautiful country is definitely a privilege that I would encourage everyone to try. I would recommend that you do lots of research on the city/town that you will be moving to, for example, the weather in your region! Here in Treviso, it gets quite cold during the winter, but the humidity can be a killer in the summer.
Also, look into how easy it is to travel to other parts of Italy. The country is well-connected by trains and buses, so take advantage of this while you can! Tickets can be cheap, but for long-distance routes, I recommend booking as far ahead as possible as buying tickets on the day can be a bit more expensive.
I would advise you all to organise your Codice Fiscal prior to your arrival (it’s a very quick process in Italy, but in Ireland, it can be quite slow so give yourself lots of time to apply to the Italian embassy). You need this document for everything – from working and accommodation, even for healthcare.
Una: my advice for anyone starting out is just to lean into it! It’s definitely nerve-wracking, especially at the beginning but it wears off quicker than you’d think. Remember the students are there to learn from you, focus on them, and not yourself and the nerves will disappear in no time.
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