Kieran was an ACLE Trainee Tutor for three summers before moving into a permanent position in the office. A student of International Studies, he has lived abroad since he was 18, and has always been a keen traveller.
What is your favorite travel memory?
Italy has given me many a happy memory, and it is very hard to choose one in particular. However, I have always kept a gelato diary of my favorite gelaterias across the country, and reading through this reminds me of some particularly special occasions.
One that stands out is a day I spent exploring Venice. I had met a group of fellow ACLE tutors the day before for the very first time and we had agreed to spend our Sunday together. It was possibly the warmest day I have ever spent in Italy, and after a few hours in the sweltering heat, we came across a tiny piazza where there was a giant tree, a water fountain, a gelateria, and a man playing the violin.
We laid under that tree for what felt like forever, drinking the refreshing, cold water and listening to his wonderful violin playing. It was there, on that day, that I tasted the best gelato I have had in Italy to date (I'm still on the hunt for the best ever made)! And some those tutors remain my closest friends, and we often reminisce about that day.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
When I first joined ACLE, for my orientation four years ago, I was a naive teenager with no real understanding of teaching English, or how I would even be able to survive a summer in Italy.
By the end of my first summer I was hooked, and I kept coming back for more. Now, I feel I have the tools, the drive, and the experience to forge a career in language education. ACLE has taught me so much about myself, about what I'm capable of, and has certainly given me opportunities I would never have imagined having before I came to Italy.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
One tutor who came through our program spent several summers in Italy, teaching English through Theatre and Play on our camps, before deciding to move back to the UK to pursue his new dream of becoming a drama therapist for refugees. He also assisted and helped to train a refugee who was sponsored to complete our program.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
The TEFL-TP program. Having done it for three summers, it is by far the most rewarding and enjoyable course I have ever been part of.
The chance to see Italy in a way that very few people will ever have the chance to, to influence the lives and futures of so many young people, and to make friends for life from all over the world are just some of the things that make this such an amazing opportunity.
Plus, receiving a study-grant, accommodation, food, and travel while on camps made it so much more viable to do as a young person. It really is a great way to spend the summer.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
ACLE has over 30 years experience, and it really shows when you talk to people within the organization. Not only are the staff very knowledgable, they are also really passionate about ACLE's mission.
The great thing about ACLE is that everyone has their own unique experience. We have those who have worked for ACLE since it was founded, those who attended ACLE camps as when they were at school, and those who have been tutors on camps but are now in other roles.
The summers are very intense for everyone associated with the organization -- whether you're a tutor or a student, or working in finance, or logistics. But at the end of it, we can look back and see what a great time everyone has had, and how much of an impact we might have had on the lives of all of those involved with ACLE's activities.