Alumni Spotlight: James Disalvatore

James in Florences

Why did you decide to get TEFL Certified with ITTT in Florence?

James: The reason I chose Florence was because I took several courses of Italian in college, and I wanted to get some practice in Italian. I also wanted to take in the beautiful scenery and vast amount culture that the city has to offer. I chose ITTT as a school because it seemed like it would provide me everything I would need to get settled in Florence as well as provide me with adequate training. Not to mention I got to dine on some of the finest cuisine, and palate a plethora of the best wine the world has ever known!

Did you teach abroad? How did this TEFL Course impact your experience?

James: Yes, I am currently working for BKC International House in Moscow, Russia (an entirely different experience compared to living in Florence, but exciting nonetheless), and ITTT provided me with ample experience to deal with the various situations that I face with inside the classroom. First of all, it gave me some real classroom experience dealing all different types of students at different language levels ranging from Beginners to Advanced students, and believe me when I say that experience proves to be extremely valuable in teaching. Secondly, this course awarded me the opportunity to live in a foreign country while still having a safety net to help if I encountered any problems. And last but certainly not least, I had the opportunity to engage and understand different cultures and how to operate within a multicultural workplace.

What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering this TEFL Course and teaching abroad?

James: The main thing I would say is go into this experience with an open mind, and not just in a cultural sense. When I first signed up for the TEFL course in Florence, I thought I was going to live and work in Italy. When I realized that it’s next to impossible for an American to work as a teacher in Italy (legally that is…), then I had to look for job opportunities outside of what I originally anticipated. I’m glad my eyes were forced open, as I would have never decided to come to Moscow otherwise, and I wouldn’t trade my interesting (and at times really strange) experience for anything. Above all else, it’s important to note that there are thousands of friendships and experiences to be forged in countries you can’t pronounce and places you didn’t know existed.

ITTT Florence Graduation

Anything else you would like to share?

James: I’ve recently embarked on several expeditions across Europe in which, due to the nature of my job, allowed me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, acquaintances, and friends alike all across this vast cultural landscape. This was only possible because I have former colleagues that have moved on to new jobs in cities such as Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, Milan, and they have been able to show my friends and I around Europe in a way that we could see not only the tourist traps, but also the hidden locations, cafes, bars, etc. that only locals know about. Just as an example of how diverse my colleagues and friends are in Moscow currently, I’ve had the opportunity to watch the sun rise over the Kremlin in Moscow with a New Zealander, and an Englishman, including myself we had 3 guys from three different continents enjoying the same experience, and sharing in confusion, amazement, and personal growth that comes with going out into the world. Had it not been for this job I, would have never had this. I got to broaden my mind with cultural experience and not to mention broaden my belly with an assortment of foreign beers!