Working to Live..not Living to Work.

Io sono una insegnante di inglese e una studente della lingua italiana.

I had one main goal when leaving the states: travel and explore the world. In order to achieve this, I created a plan based on what I already know and am capable of - teaching.  Therefore, my dream of living abroad manifested itself by means of being an English teacher.Prior to my departure, I did my research and found that most schools only hire ESL teachers with a Visa and proper documentation.  Since it is close to impossible to get a work Visa in Italy, I chose the second option which was obtaining a student visa. This was a win-win solution; I get to legally teach English as well as learn Italian.

The first two weeks of my arrival in Florence was a haze of beginner Italian courses and countless visits to Language schools. A routine quickly developed where I would spend my mornings learning Italian at Parola Scuola and later use my afternoons job searching. Clearly at this point mornings were my favorite part of the day. I embraced this new beautiful language. Thankful for my previous knowledge of Spanish, Italian came fairly easily. I loved every minute of grammar and conversation lessons. I wanted to take what I was learning, nurture it, and have it blossom into fluency. Alas, I needed a job to pay the bills and allow me to stay in this cultural haven. 

Before I left Croatia I e-mailed my CV and cover letter to every English language school in Florence letting them know I was headed their way. During the first week in Florence I visited each language school and hand-delivered my CV and cover letter. Then I waited. By the second week panic began to fester and my future in Italy did not appear as solid as I thought it to be. I refused to resort to waiting tables – I have done that for far too long in my life. However, with grace on my side, the emails and calls poured in and all of a sudden I had 8 interviews lined up. Once again, another test to prove that worrying gets you nowhere and everything works out the way it is supposed to.  

Nevertheless, by the end of my third week in Italy I landed a job at a highly credited language school and was no longer a beginner in Italian. I was getting an income and able to fluently give people directions to Santo Spirito. Eight weeks later, I have continued to fulfill my roles as a student and teacher. I have graduated to the “green books” at Parola and am spending my mornings attending classes when I can and enjoying the easy pleasure of being a student.  Scattered throughout the days and week, I teach English to Italians where we share common ground on the frustration of not being fluent in a language we are so eager to know.  I am a teacher and a student; balancing responsibility and pleasure.


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