Alumni Spotlight: Ashley Davis

Ashley Davis, 22, is an English teacher in Florence, Italy originally from Killeen, Texas. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Baylor University and, thanks to LanguageCorps, a TEFL certificate from Via Lingua. She is currently working for two language schools and she also gives individual lessons. Right now her goal is to become fluent in Italian as fast as possible and become a true Florentine!

Ashley Davis is an English Teacher in Florence, Italy

Why did you decide to teach abroad with LanguageCorps in Italy?

I decided to teach abroad with LanguageCorps because they seemed to be the most economical and trustworthy choice out of the several other programs I researched. The application was quick and easy and the response time was frankly startling.

I had been searching for job opportunities in several places and none of the other companies and programs were half as efficient and understanding as my first contact with LanguageCorps. As for choosing Italy, I had been there years before on a study abroad trip in college. It was love at first sight and I always knew I wanted to come back. LanguageCorps was the perfect opportunity to make that happen.

What made this teach abroad experience unique and special?

This experience has been truly life changing, not to sound cliche. Because I made the decision to make such a huge move, I've made such valuable connections and deep friendships that would never have happened if I remained complacent with where I was previously.

My TEFL instructors were true experts and some of the most inspiring, honest and caring people I have ever met. The instructors took so much of their time to help everyone in the class develop as teachers individually and really relate to us on a personal level. As a recent college graduate, having that kind of support was invaluable and much appreciated.

This experience was also unique in that the course was so intensive. Some may find it overwhelming but I found it to be challenging and inspiring, seeing as we were all there to build a new career. All the hands-on experience made the course well worth the money and then some. Also, the opportunity to be immersed in the culture that I wanted to teach in made me even more motivated than I would be in a regular class.

How has this experience impacted your future? (Personally, professionally, academically, etc.)

A view of the Ponte Vecchio from Ponte Santa Trinita

As for my future, so many doors have been opened that I never dreamed of. As I'm walking around the city or just hanging out at home, it'll still hit me like a ton of bricks that I'm making a life for myself in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Even with all the practicalities and logistics (and money) I have to think about my life still seems so surreal.

Personally, I've learned so much about my own character, my strengths and weaknesses. Even with the struggles of day-to-day life, I'm still happier than I ever was in my previous circumstances.

Professionally, I feel like I have a valuable, challenging career that I can take with me anywhere in the world. I love to travel and the knowledge that I can work anywhere with my TEFL certificate is both comforting and rewarding. The job guidance from the instructors amazing!

Academically, I gained so much from this program. I received master's level seminars and coursework from the instructors in grammar, teaching (theory and pedagogy), phonology and a lot more. Everything I got from the program, I've been able to apply in my real jobs as a teacher.

What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering teaching abroad in Italy?

A view of Florence from a terrace in Palazzo Pitti

I would say do your research and once you do that, don't be afraid to take a big step. Make a decision and stick with it. Language teaching is in high demand all over the country, but you can easily get lost or misguided in your goals if you don't make a solid decision on your location before you get here.

I've observed other teachers who get here and have a wonderful time throughout the course and do some traveling, but afterwards they have trouble finding jobs because they miss out on interviews because they can't decide on where to settle down, which leads them to waste a lot of money and opportunities.

When I started the job search, my biggest fear was that I wouldn't find anything and I'd have to go back to the states empty-handed. But once I made a firm decision to stay in Florence, all the other details kind of sorted themselves out. I hit the pavement and applied for dozens of jobs every day and things just started coming together. I got a ton a rejection letters, but all it took was one 'yes.' If you have purpose, things will come together and all the little details and setback won't seem like work. Also, if money is a problem for you, like it was for me, just be frugal. Research the cost of living, wherever you're going, and plan accordingly.