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Florence, Italy English Teaching Q&A With Samantha Siciliano
Written by: Samantha Siciliano
Last Updated: February 19, 2021
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!
What is your citizenship?
What city and state are you from?
North Adams, MA
How old are you?
What is your education level and background?
Have you traveled abroad in the past?
If you have traveled abroad in the past, where have you been?
If you have studied abroad in the past, where did you study?
What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?
I wanted to try something new. I knew that I wanted to do something "internationally" since my major was International Business. I also want to run my own international travel company some day, so I thought it would be good to work on the other side of things. And the opportunity to travel abroad wasn't bad either!
What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad?
My biggest concern before I went abroad was probably not making enough money.
What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad?
At first, my parents were apprehensive. However, the more I talked about it with family and friends, I knew I was serious about going abroad again. Then everyone started to become more supportive and excited for the opportunity that would lie ahead.
TEFL COURSE INFORMATION
Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?
I wanted to work with one particular company after graduation, but the internship salary they offered me would have left me making nothing with no guarantee of more work after three months. I decided to get certified because a sector of that company teaches ESL so I knew I would have a better job opportunity with a TEFL certification.
I choose International TEFL Academy because ITA had many more benefits than other TEFL schools that I looked into as far as how they repay their students both in short and long-term services.
Which TEFL certification course did you take?
I got TEFL certified in Florence, Italy.
How did you like the course?
I really liked the course! The instructors were AMAZING, AWESOME, and INCREDIBLE. They made the classes go by quickly, and I could tell that they wanted us to do well. The course was intensive. It is recognized by two higher education schools for 6 graduate credits. It is manageable as long as you practice and go through the material regularly!
How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?
I learned how to divide up lessons and make class timing more efficient. I also now know how to teach students varying in English fluency levels.
TEACHING ABROAD IN FLORENCE, ITALY
Which city and country did you decide to teach English in?
I chose to teach in Florence, Italy.
How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?
I have been here two months, and I plan to stay until the end of the year.
How did you secure your English teaching job?
The school in Florence set me up with a teaching position.
What school, company or program are you working for?
It is a private language school in a small town.
How did you get your work visa? If you didn't get a work visa, please elaborate on working under the table without a work visa
I didn't get a work visa. It was really not an option for me, so I just came to Europe on a tourist visa. When I interviewed, my boss didn't even ask me if I had a visa. However, there are still some schools that do require the proper work papers.
Tell us about your English teaching job!
I work about 4-5 hours per week and get paid 240 Euros a month. Because I work so few hours a week, I am spending some of the money that I had in savings when I came to Italy.
The school is owned by women who started it as just a tutoring business, but now she has expanded to teach entire classrooms. I am teaching children ages 3 to 11.
I only work three days a week, so I have the rest of the week off unless I am working private lessons. I also get off the same holidays that the children have.
How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates?
I found a place though a local Italian website. My apartment is really big; there are two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom. I share a room because I wanted to save money so I could travel more. I have two roommates; one who is from the same TEFL certification course as me and the other girl is Italian.
COUNTRY INFORMATION - FUN!
Please explain your countries cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, travel opportunities, etc...
- PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION - There are three forms of transportation here; the bus, train, and bike. Personally, I have a bike because is much quicker to get around.. not that it isn't quick to get around to begin with.
- NIGHTLIFE - There is a lot of night life! YOU MUST GO TO KIKUYA!
- FOOD - OMG! The food is amazing and endless. Let's not even start talking about the gelato, because I could go on forever about which places, but my personal favor is Gelati del Neri
- LOCAL EXPAT SCENE - There are a lot of people who are English teachers living in Florence. They either work for a private school, a public or do their own private lessons.
- TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES - There are a lot of travel opportunities because of Florence for Fun, Ryanair, and Easyjet. It's addicting to travel once you start so make sure you have some money saved!
COUNTRY INFORMATION - MONEY
What are your monthly expenses?
RENT - My roommate and I pay 500 euros total for our apartment, which includes internet, building maintenance, etc. Then we pay around 60 euros per month for utilities.
FOOD - There are several local grocery stores that you can buy food that is cheap. My suggestion is Esalunga, which basically gives the food away or Conad, but if you go there expect to be rushed through the checkout process.
LOCAL CULTURE - There are many fairs and markets where you can see some of the local products and cultural traditions. These are definitely worth looking into, just look at the Florentine it will tell you when all the events are.
How would you describe your standard of living?
I live pretty comfortably. I can pay my bills, but still go out a few times a week with friends for coffee, gelato, dinner, etc.
In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn to live comfortably? *
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE TEACHERS
What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? Would you recommend teaching in your country?
SAVE MONEY before you come! Although I am making enough money to live, there is so much to do here and between you and the friends you make you will end up spending more money than expected so save lots of money from working and also BUDGET!
A 23-year-old native of North Adams, MA, Samantha Siciliano majored in international business in college and hopes to one day run her own travel company. She saw teaching English in Florence as a way to gain valuable international work experience while experiencing the culture and cuisine of Italy.
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