Teach English in a Public School in Italy for 3 Months

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About

Live with a host family while you volunteer to teach English in the local schools of the Piedmont region. This 3-month teaching program involves 15-18 hours per week of classroom hours as an English teaching assistant in local high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools. Accommodation and meals are provided by a local volunteer host family.

Gain teaching experience in Europe, have free time to travel and perfect your Italian while living with a local host family during this unique cultural experience.

Program Dates:
January 29, 2020 – April 24, 2020

This program provides an incredible opportunity to live inexpensively in Europe for three months, all while having an invaluable cultural immersion experience. Your program covers 3 months of insurance, meals and accommodation.

Highlights
  • 15-18 classroom teaching hours per week; the rest of the time is yours to explore
  • 2-3 day arrival orientation in stunning Torino
  • Accommodation with volunteer Italian host family
  • Placements throughout the Piemonte (Piedmont) region of Italy
  • Personal Greenheart Travel program manager to assist you before, during and after your teaching program

Questions & Answers

Hi Roshini. Per visa regulations we do have citizenship requirements. We can only accept those with passports from these countries on the program: EU, UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, or Australia.

You do live with a host family in order to live like a true Italian!

The program has no salary rate, but you are provided room and board with a host family which more than makes up for it. I think you can pretty much apply whenever you want - they take people right up to the start date if I recall correctly.

In Italy, I did not receive a stipend or need a work visa.

Reviews

9.29 Rating
based on 17 reviews
  • Benefits 8.8
  • Support 8.3
  • Fun 8.4
  • Facilities 8.8
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 8 of 17
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Abigail
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Went into this experience on impulse...and I'm so glad I did.

I am writing this while still in Italy, having just completed my 10 weeks of teaching in Verbania, Italy. I could not recommend this program enough.

Greenheart provides incredible support and preparation, and the orientation we received was thorough. Orientation was also a blast because I was able to meet the other 20 teachers also being placed in the Piedmont region (most of them near Turin). Everyone was instant, effortless friends and all of my trips around Italy on the weekends involved at least one of these new friends, sometimes more (like the 10 of us who took on Florence for a weekend---such a blast).

I had 2 host families during my stay, and each one was fantastic. I consider them close friends now and living in their homes meant traveling with them to their favorite local spots, eating incredible meals together, and sharing our worldly perspectives around the dinner table over local wine. Staying with host families was certainly the most rewarding part of this adventure as I feel I got a very deep sense of Italy culture.

Teaching at the local middle school was a really great experience. It boosted my future teaching career so much. And, be warned, Italian school systems are very disorganized. If you can go with the flow, you'll be okay. That being said, be prepared to run an entire class by yourself because the teacher usually with you took the day off to go skiing. Be prepared for teachers who harshly yell at students and students who yell right back. It's a different system in a different culture so be prepared for it to take a lot of time and energy.

During my time, I've been able to travel to Florence, Venice (for Carnival no less), Naples, Rome, Genoa, Turin, Milan, and even into the Swiss Alps. Every day is an adventure and a chance to eat the most incredible food you've ever had in your life. And the gelato is so good, you'll seek out the best places in every town and have it at least 3 times a week. Embrace it.

I highly recommend this program for anyone who wants to be immersed in a culture, work hard at school, eat amazing food, and travel around Italy/Europe. I never had any issues.

What would you improve about this program?
Implement some sort of program where travelers can set up tutoring services for money as we're working full time and earning nothing for three months. Perhaps would make the program more feasible for more people.
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Elise
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Volunteer Experience

This was the best! I taught middle schoolers in Verbania, Italy for three months and four years later, I think about that time in my life every day. Greenheart transformed how I saw traveling by giving me a purpose in an amazing lakeside community with a terrific homestay family. My host teacher was lovely and spoke English very well. I did not choose where I would go, but was extremely happy with my placement in Verbania. Most of the program participants are placed in Torino, where there is a rich historical culture and nightlife. I was actually a bit closer to Milan, where I went for day trips on a couple of weekends.

I am still in touch with a couple of my fellow teachers in the Greenheart program and was so lucky to have made such great friends to travel with while I was in Europe and remain close to long after the program. The orientation before you go to your homestay town or city was very helpful in meeting folks to travel with or even to meet up and explore their temporary home for a bit!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The most surprising thing I did was joining a friend for a trip to Budapest and Vienna. I normally arrange most of my own trips but it was fun to go with someone else's plan and we ended up only sleeping 13 hours across 4 nights. I was able to explore two cities I probably would not have chosen myself and am dying to return to them. It was a major highlight of the experience.
Katie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent program and opportunities

I was able to teach on the North Eastern side of Italy, about 45 minutes from Venice, and it was amazing. The teachers I worked with were very excited to utilize the skills I have and I found that I ended up learning a lot more than I ever thought I would! I taught primary, middle and high school Science, English, Media, and History 18 hours a week. The students were all very interested in learning English and it was a great opportunity to learn a lot about Italian culture. The host family I stayed with were incredibly welcoming, encouraged me to travel by train on my days off, took me to see different cities and famous sights around that area, and I was able to try numerous delicious dishes from all over Italy.

As someone who has traveled a fair amount, I felt prepared to step out of my comfort zone and really embrace Italian life, and my host family encouraged me to cook American meals and share American culture with them. The weekend before halloween, we carved pumpkins, had an American dinner, and also made pumpkin gnocchi!

SavannahMcDermott was an incredible asset for this program and was always timely in responding to emails and answering any questions I had. She was a great person to work with and I felt very prepared once I arrived in Italy because of all the behind the scenes work Savannah did. Thanks Savannah!

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Nic
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Tre mesi in Italia

My three months in Italy was one I will always remember. The thing that made the most impact on me in my time in Italy was the hospitality of the Italians. The families that I stayed with, the teachers in the school I taught in and especially my students all welcomed me as part of their own. This made transitioning into my daily Italian life easy and I was reassured that I was in good hands.

The teaching experience is something that I also enjoyed. Whether you come with years of experience or none at all, the support and content you are given is there to make your lessons fun and enjoyable.

I highly recommend this program to anyone that is even having the slightest urge or curiosity about taking part. Because after the three months, you will definitely come out feeling accomplished, content and feeling like you want to go back.

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe a more planned out orientation at the start of the program, ex. activities to get to know other people in the program more.
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Cassandra
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A great

I learnt a lot during this experience. I had lovely host families, I especially bonded with the first family and I already miss them so much! I always felt very very welcome by the families, neighbors,teachers,students and everyone else in the small town I lived in. The English teachers at the schools took me under their wing and were almost like other host mothers . The children at the school were lovely to teach, always cheerful and lively. I loved living in the European culture and walking through the streets of the cozy town i lived in. The school timetable was also very flexible and I was also able to go to Rome, Venice and Germany during this trip.

The biggest challenge I faced was the language barrier. Sometimes it can be isolating not understanding what people are saying around you or not being able to have a hearty conversation with anymore for a few weeks. The other challenge is living with the host families. Don't get me wrong, I'm so so glad I stayed with the wonderful families I was placed with and got to experience the local Italian culture first hand, however if you're thinking about doing this program just consider that for 3 months you will be a guest in someone else's home and you have to *always* be polite,friendly and clean up after yourself. Lastly, another challenge I faced was preparing the lessons. I prepared all the lessons for the 3 different years each week myself. I enjoyed this freedom, however I sometimes wished I had more help as I was not always sure what level of understanding the different classes had and sometimes my lessons were too easy or too hard for the class.

Overall this was an unforgettable experience! I was overwhelmed with love and generosity. I got to live out my dream of living in Europe for a few months and being able to teach young children. I will hold on to the beautiful memories I made in Italy for all my life.

What would you improve about this program?
I think Greenheart should maybe try organize a date where the participants have the option meet at certain main spots around Italy and create a platform where they can plan this all together. For example Greenheart can say the 13th to the 16th of March could be a good opportunity to visit Rome, would anyone be interested? And then those who are can be put onto a facebook group and can organize accommodation etc. I just feel that the few days in Turin weren't long enough to meet everyone properly and plan trips together.
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Anna
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching in an Italian School for 3 Months through Greenheart

After graduating from college and working a job I didn't love, I knew I needed something different. I could go back to school, change careers, or get a new job....but then I remembered how much I wanted to travel, and how many times people have said to me "you're so young, now is the time!"

So I did a ton of research, and found Greenheart Travel - and I'm SO glad I did. I knew I wanted to go to Italy because I minored in Italian and wanted to work on my language skills, and I knew that I was a bit too nervous to do a full year somewhere, so this 3 month program was perfect for me. I also wanted something social, and after seeing the Facebook page full of interactions of people currently and previously on the program, I knew that would be the case.

The best part of the program for me is being around other teaching assistants. Almost everyone in the program is in the Piedmont region, with Turin being the central city. Although we are all spread out, most of us have no problem getting into Turin for drinks or a dinner, and many of us have done traveling together. It's so reassuring to know that there are others you can call on if you have questions or concerns, or just want to vent about the things you miss from home. We also all got to meet each other at orientation, so we all had friends going into our host stays.

I was most hesitant about not having any teaching experience, and I didn't have the money to spend on a TEFL certification, but turns out that is totally fine for this program! I feel comfortable in the classroom even without any experience, since I am always in the room with another teacher and am getting guidance on how to structure lessons and what to teach about. You also have other the other teachers to reach out to for suggestions on games to play or lessons to teach.

I was also hesitant about not making any money, however getting housing and meals makes it a lot more doable. There are some possibilities of making money on the side (tutoring or giving music/sports lessons), but if you want to travel while you're on this program, you'll need to have money saved up ahead of time.

Overall, I would highly recommend this program. Especially if you want to be in Italy, there aren't many other programs available. There are a few things to consider (see below), so definitely do your research about Italy, especially the Piedmont region, and make sure this program is right for you and your needs!

What would you improve about this program?
Support: Greenheart is the American organization, but in Italy you work directly with WEP. While Greenheart provides great support prior to the program, WEP needs to work on its support during the program while teachers are in Italy. After orientation, WEP virtually disappears. They are available if you need them, but they don't initiate much communication. I got one email about 2 months into the program asking if everything was okay, and that was the only time I heard from WEP. My host mom got two emails as well, but it does not seem sufficient. Adjusting can be really difficult, and I think support needs to be offered maybe two weeks into the program to ensure that teachers can communicate any issues or concerns.

Cost: while the program was less than most I found in my research, it is still a bit pricey considering you are volunteering. The host families do not get any compensation, and the schools do not receive or pay anything. You need to have money saved up to do this program.

Length: this program is exactly 90 days, and that is the exact maximum amount of time that an American can be in Italy, or any of the Schengen countries, without a visa. This gives no wiggle room on either end of the program, which can be frustrating when trying to be economical with booking flights (i.e. forced to choose a more expensive day to travel as it is the only option). It is not something that Greenheart can really help, but it is something to consider.
Read my full story
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Jonathan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Experience!

My time in Italy was awesome!
Before I begin… A fun fact! Italy is literally on the opposite side of the world from where I live (Hawaii). Okay, you must go a bit directly north on the map.

Location:
So, Piedmont has a lot of history behind it. Sure, you hear a lot about Rome, Venice, Florence, etc. but if you look up the location there is a lot to see and do within the region. I really recommend going to Langhe and to the mountains.

Communication:
With technology these days, Google Translate will be your best friend. Make sure to download the Italian language pack so you don’t have to rely on the internet connection. Also, Google Maps, make sure to download the Italy region into your offline maps. In the Piedmont region, there are less English speakers than if you go to the tourist regions so make sure to practice some basic Italian.

Driving:
The stereotype is that Italians are crazy drivers. This is true in some ways but in regions outside the city there were no problems. Thankfully, the family I stayed with had an automatic car! One important thing I should mention is that STOP signs do not really mean stop. It means slow down to check and just drive on through (almost like a rolling stop). So, proceed with caution. Oh, and you'll need an International Drivers License. Get one before you go to Italy.

School:
Italians are very expressive and vocal. So, do not be discouraged when they tend to talk a lot in your classroom. There was only one quiet/shy class that I had and that was when I was guest teaching in another school in the region. The organization in the school is rather poor and if a piece of equipment breaks (like the computer in the school) it may take a LONG time before it gets repaired. My advice is to try incorporate some fun English game days during the week (especially at the beginning). This allows you to gauge the students current understanding of the language.

Travel:
If you have access to a train station, you are pretty much set. The rail system runs on-time 80% of the time. I was not one of those who traveled every weekend to cities across Europe. I only traveled to Verona, Turin, Venice, Pisa, Florence, and Rome. I do recommend traveling and it is extremely easy with the rail system.

Family:
So, the reason I did not spend so much time traveling was that I wanted to feel like I wasn’t a tourist and live more like a local. This included going to the gym, helping the family, and meeting new people around the town. The family I stayed with had a maid that cleaned the house so I didn’t have to change my sheets or anything. The mother also offered to wash my clothes for me, but I wanted to do them myself which was no problem. All families are different, but always try do your best for them and help when you can. By spending a lot of time with the family I never had the difficulties of being homesick believe it or not.

Phone & Credit Card:
I have T-Mobile and it is fantastic. The cost to call to the US is relatively cheap. If your family and friends are also on T-Mobile then texting is free. (So, text more often than you call.) In Europe the use WhatsApp and since you have free 2G data you are always in constant contact with them. I have never had any connection issues unless I was underground. During my time abroad I used the VISA Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card. The USD to Euro rate is fair and I highly recommend it and no foreign transaction fees!

Hope this review has helped you. I really recommend this opportunity if you can meet the steep costs.

What would you improve about this program?
Transparency & cost . The cost for this program are pretty steep taking into account that the families nor the schools receive any compensation. The accommodations, at the beginning of the trip for the orientation, were on the cheap end of the spectrum in the not-very-nice part of the city (Turin).

Communication with the School. When you are in Italy the program falls under WEP (World Organization Program) and not Greenheart. There is much improvement required in the preparation prior to your arrival in Italy because when you are placed in the school you can easily be overwhelmed by what they want you to accomplish. This could easily be solved by asking the schools to fill out a form that provides how many classes you will be involved with, what they are currently learning in the class, and what chapters will be covered during your time with them.

So, I recommend really reaching out and asking those questions to your school's teachers prior going to Italy. It will save you a lot of time.
Default avatar
Nick
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful experience in Italy for three months.

Currently, I'm two months into this program. Greenheart Travel was always responsive and helpful during the application process and during the months leading up to the departure. After arrival, WEP staff is available to assist with any problems, but I haven't had any. My host family, the teachers, and my students have all been very nice and welcoming and I will miss them when I leave. Also, weekend travel opportunities are plentiful if you like.... but I would recommend spending some weekends with your host family, meeting their friends and seeing how they live.

What would you improve about this program?
I have been lucky to be with the same students and the same host family for the full three months. From talking to other participants, some people have had to switch schools, host families, and classes mid-program. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed that, because it would be hard to develop relationships. I've really prized the relationships I've built.