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Rome, Italy English Teaching Q&A with Alyssa Darah
Written by: Alyssa Darah
Last Updated: February 18, 2021
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
What is your citizenship?
What city and state are you from?
How old are you?
What is your education level and background?
Have you traveled abroad in the past?
If you have studied abroad in the past, where did you study?
What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?
I attended several info sessions about teaching English abroad during my senior year of college. These were conducted by alumni from my university who shared stories and pictures of their experiences. I also spoke to friends who had taught abroad, and they highly recommended it.
What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad?
Money and finding a job.
What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad?
All of the above. My friends were excited for me, while my family was supportive but also apprehensive.
TEFL CLASS INFORMATION
Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?
I decided to get TEFL certified because I knew it was absolutely necessary to teach English abroad. I chose ITA because I read positive reviews and was impressed by the content and huge amount of resources on their website. Moreover, I was living in Chicago, so I had the luxury of stopping by their office whenever I wanted to (which I did).
Which TEFL certification course did you take?
Online TEFL Course
How did you like the course?
I enjoyed the course because it presented new and interesting information in an easy-to-follow format. My background is in economics and business, so the education field was completely new to me. I was working full-time, but the course load was manageable. The instructor always provided supportive feedback.
How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?
As mentioned above, the education field was completely new to me, so the TEFL training helped me get into the right mindset to become a teacher. The course gave me helpful advice as to how I should balance activities and promote student learning effectively.
Which city and country did you decide to teach English in and why?
I decided to teach English in Italy in the city of Rome. I visited a friend who was studying in Rome while I was studying in the UK several years ago, and I fell in love with it! I knew I had to go back someday.
How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?Over 4 months. Not sure yet!
What school, company, or program are you working for?
During which months does your school typically hire?
Random months, but I was hired in October.
Did you secure this position in advance of arriving?
How did you interview for this position?
What kind of Visa did you enter on?
Please explain the visa process that you went through.
The visa process is quite lengthy and complex, but I enrolled in classes at an Italian language school.
What are the qualifications that your school requires for teachers? Please check all that apply
- Bachelor's Degree
- TEFL Certification
- Native English speaker
What is the best way to apply?
Tell us about your English teaching job!
I used to work at my school 36 hours/week making merely €10 euros/hour (that's right... save your money before you come!). I was not able to save when I only worked at the school, but now I am teaching more private lessons and earning much more. The school offers courses in several languages, and my English students are anywhere from 11-65 years old. Children, university students, business or government professionals... you name it. Most of my "classes" are individual sessions or small group courses. I do not get vacation time, I simply request time off (standard time off is given for holidays).
How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates?
Finding a good apartment in Rome was not an easy task, for both myself and fellow ITA alums in Rome. I used a variety of resources online, and even searched through the local Italian newspaper, Porta Portese. I ended up finding my apartment through a website called EasyStanza. I live with two Italian sisters from southern Italy... they're the sweetest!
COUNTRY INFORMATION - FUN!
Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, travel opportunities, etc...
The culture and food in Italy are world-renowned... and for good reason! Overall, the people are quite friendly, and the food is some of the best in the world. The country itself is absolutely beautiful, with amazing monuments and picturesque streets everywhere you turn. I have to stop myself from taking pictures all the time!
However, as with any place, there are cons - including the unreliability of public transportation. The metro is good (as long as there aren't any strikes, which usually only happen on Fridays), but it does not reach many of the popular spots in the city. Moreover, the buses are notorious for being spotty and not adhering to their timetables.
The nightlife and social scene are great. It's common to hang out with friends in the piazzas late at night, and the affordability of wine is a bonus. There is a substantial expat community, but it may take some effort to discover it. I recommend joining groups on Facebook, the obvious one being the ITA Italy group.
COUNTRY INFORMATION - MONEY
What are your monthly expenses?
My rent is about €600/month and the monthly metro pass is €35/month. Communication is affordable if you buy an Italian SIM card, and I cook a lot to save money.
How would you describe your standard of living?
In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably?
Depends, but I'd say €800/month to get by.
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE ENGLISH TEACHERS
What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? Would you recommend teaching in your country?
DO IT! You have the rest of your life to live in America (if you want to), so why not try living abroad for a bit? It is an incredible experience that will open your eyes and teach you invaluable lessons that you will never learn if you don't make the jump and do it.
I highly recommend teaching in Italy - there's a huge demand for English teachers in Rome!
For more on Alyssa's adventures, check out her blog: www.darahthexplorer.com
A native of Toledo, Ohio, Alyssa Darah first heard about opportunities to teach English abroad during her senior year of college. Keen to expand her international experience, Alyssa earned her TEFL certification by taking ITA's online TEFL course and headed to Rome, Italy on a student visa to teach English and take classes.
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