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Lombardia, Italy English Teaching Q&A with Madelyn Harrick

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What is your citizenship?

United States

What city and state are you from?

Marquette, Michigan

How old are you?


What is your education level and background?

Some college

Have you traveled abroad in the past?

Some international travel with friends, family, etc.

If you have traveled abroad in the past, where have you been?

Italy, Switzerland, Canada

What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?

I was going to school and had no idea what I wanted to get a degree in, or what career path I wanted to follow. I decided to travel to Italy for the summer of 2015 as an au pair and it was a great experience. I had the best host family in the world, and being in Italy made me realize I was unhappy with what I was doing in college. My mom suggested I should try being a foreign English teacher. At first I wasn't sure about how that was even possible, but after I looked into it, I found the International TEFL Academy in Chicago and decided to go for it. I plan to finish school at some point, but for the moment I am happy with what I am doing in Italy.

What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad?

Other than a little worried about finding a job, I wasn't worried about anything.

What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad?
I think that when it sunk in with some of my family that I was actually going to go, they were concerned and apprehensive, but in the end they were supportive. Apart from the worries, most people were very excited for me.

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Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?

I decided to get TEFL certified because I wanted to have a better chance of finding a job. The ITA website was the most informative compared to others, and I liked that I could take the course in Chicago because I have family there.

Which TEFL certification course did you take?

USA - Chicago TEFL Course

How did you like the course?

The course had a lot more work than I was expecting. I am happy about how much work we had though because I feel a lot more prepared now compared to how I felt about teaching abroad before. The instructors were helpful, and I am happy with them. I feel like they put a lot of time and effort into their jobs and try to create the best teachers they can in such a short amount of time.

How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?

My TEFL training helped me the most with creating lesson plans. Also the practicum was so helpful because we taught actual ESL students.
Which city and country did you decide to teach English in and why?

I chose to teach English in Italy in the Lombardia region because I have relationships in this location and I wanted to live near these people.

How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?

I have been here since June, and I plan to stay until next June when my study visa is up, but at this point, I don't think I will want to leave!   

What school, company, or program are you working for?

I found my own students on FB groups,, through the English play group.

During which months does your school typically hire?


Did you secure this position in advance of arriving?


How did you interview for this position?

- Skype/phone interview
- In-person interview

What kind of visa did you enter on?

Student visa

Please explain the visa process that you went through.

The visa process was extremely lengthy, time consuming and stressful. You have to make sure you have every detail right. If you are thinking about coming to Italy, know that everything is slow so start your process way ahead of time.

What is the best way to apply?

- Email
- In-person

Tell us about your English teaching job!

Most people make 20 euros (approx. $21 USD) an hour private tutoring and work around 10-20 hours per week. I don't save much of the money I make because I go on trips to see new places with it. I teach young kids, ages ranging from 5-13 and vacation time is flexible.

How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates?

I am lucky because I knew people in Italy before coming, so they found me a place to live.

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Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, travel opportunities, etc...    

I really enjoy Italy's culture a lot, and I have met a lot of great people. In Milan there is a huge expat community. I live an hour north of Milan, though so I am not surrounded by any expats which is actually nice. Don't be afraid to make friends other than fellow expats and teachers! Where I live is in the mountains, so there are so many beautiful places to walk and visit if you like nature. North Italy is perfect if you want to be able to travel to many other places! Flights are so cheap between countries. Also there is the option to take a train or bus.


What are your monthly expenses?

I pay 15 Euros per month ($16 USD) for my phone and wifi together, 20 Euros($21 USD) per week for food, and usually the public transportation is rather economical. Where I live the rent is about 400 Euro (approx. $420 USD) per month.

How would you describe your standard of living?


In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably?

800-900 Euro per month (approx. $835 - $940 USD)


What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? Would you recommend teaching in your country?

Do it! You won't regret it, and Italy is a great place to be.

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