Work as an English Teacher in Italy While Living with a Host Family
93% Rating
(11 Reviews)

Work as an English Teacher in Italy While Living with a Host Family

Live with a host family while you 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:
-- February 7 – May 6, 2018
-- Deadline to Apply : November 15, 2017

Program Fee:
$950 for a 3-month volunteer teaching placement
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
Locations
Europe » Italy » Turin
Europe » Italy
Length
1-3 Months
Salary / Benefits
While this is an unpaid teaching position, this program provides an incredible opportunity to live inexpensively in Europe for three months, all while having an invaluable cultural immersion experience. What essentially works out to $400 per month, your program covers 3 months of your living expenses – insurance, meals and accommodation are provided on the program.

For North Americans, paid teaching jobs in the European Union are extremely rare. This program is a chance to get that teaching experience!
Qualifications
Citizen of the EU, UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, or Australia
Native English Speaker
Be in great mental and physical health
No criminal record (with the exception of traffic or other minor violations)
Weekly Classroom Hours
15
Classroom Audience
Children
High School
Middle School
Accommodation
Host Family
Inclusions
Accommodation
Meals
Travel Insurance
Exclusions
Airfare
Age Min.
19
Age Max
35
Currency
USD
Price Details
What’s Included:
-3 month teaching placement in Piemonte (Piedmont), Italy
-Pre-departure support and orientation
-2-3 day arrival orientation in stunning Torino
-Airport pickup from Torino airport
-Accommodation with volunteer host families
-2-3 meals per day provided by host family
-International Medical and Accident Insurance
-Local support and supervision
-24/7 Emergency Line
-Italy Culture Guidebook

Questions & Answers

You do live with a host family in order to live like a true Italian!
In Italy, I did not receive a stipend or need a work visa.
Thanks! I will

Program Reviews

  • Benefits
    92%
  • Support
    80%
  • Fun
    84%
  • Facilities
    90%
  • Safety
    97%

Program Reviews (11)

Default avatar
Jonathan
Male
27 years old
United States
University of Hawaii- West O'ahu

Great Experience!

9/10

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.

How can this program be improved?

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
Male
29 years old
Cleveland, Ohio
Miami University

Wonderful experience in Italy for three months.

9/10

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.

How can this program be improved?

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.

Default avatar
Michael
Male
25 years old
Turin, Italy
Other

Peace, Love, Gelato

10/10

I’m currently about 2 months into my 3 month Teach in Italy experience and I’m having a wonderful time. I’ll try to give you a thorough breakdown of the program and ease some concerns you may have.

I’m 23 years old and I just graduated from college in May. I did not study education or Italian (same with many other volunteers in my group) - don’t let those things dissuade you from partaking in this program!

I believe that there are several factors more critical to your success as a teacher assistant here than formal training in education, such as having an enthusiastic, optimistic, and very flexible attitude.

The high school that I teach at is in the city of Turin and I live about 20 minutes away in the suburb of Collegno. My host parents both teach in the area so I either ride in with them or take Turin's fantastic public transportation.

I’ve worked with over 30 different classes in a variety of subjects (usually English, but I’ve also taught some art history, science, and physical education) and I usually run the hour-long lesson by myself, with the lead teacher there for support and translation help. I’ve always worked less than 18 hours a week, and the school day actually ends at 2 p.m. here, so I’ve enjoyed more free time than I have in years. There’s no dress code and I regularly show up in jeans, sneakers, and a t-shirt.

My first lesson with any class is usually simply a conversation about me and life in America – some classes are eager to ask questions while in others I have to work the crowd a bit. So I’d say it’s good to be comfortable and confident talking to your classes, even when they’re being shy.

Other lessons have ranged from a comparison of the American and Italian education systems to a profile of my home state of Georgia to an analysis of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” lyrics. I’ve prepared a couple of Powerpoint presentations that I re-use often and showed my fair share of Youtube videos.

Some teachers use me more as a sidekick to read passages and assist with their existing lessonplans, while others want me to come in with my own thing. The most important thing is to communicate with them in advance and make sure you’re on the same page.

I’m the first American TA my school has hosted and it makes me a bit of a celeb :) Every time I walk down the hall I get hellos and smiles from most of the students, and just about every teacher wants me to help out with at least one lesson. I’ve gotten to go on fieldtrips to theaters and museums and even to the expo in Milan.

My host family is really nice and helpful, taking care of everything from meals and laundry to rides to the airport. One Italian stereotype that seems to hold true is that of the very helpful Italian mother – their hospitality is unparalleled and a level above anything you’d expect in America. We already spent a weekend at their mountain house in the Alps and they’re taking me on a vacation to Florence with them in a couple of weeks and covering all the costs.

Knowing Italian would definitely be helpful, but I spend most of my time at school or with my host family, and in both of those situations, I’m basically there to speak English (a big reason for families to host is for their kids to get better at English from being around you). Around town, I get by easily on basic Italian phrases and emphatic hand gestures.

On just about every weekend, I’ve been able to travel – in under two months I’ve hit Munich, Venice, the Alps, Cinque Terre, Barcelona, Bari, and London. Whether you go by train or plane, it’s pretty affordable and a lot of fun. I take most of these trips with fellow Greenheart volunteers who I never met before this, it’s a really fun group and we get along well.

Most of these trips have been Friday – Sunday, but I asked for Friday off for a couple of them and my school was totally fine with it. They’re happy to have me here, understand that I’m not getting paid for this, and want me to experience the beauty of Europe.
I am giving you a look at my personal experience, and not a guarantee that it’s a standardized one. I have spoken with other teachers who have various struggles that I have not faced, but I think one factor that holds true for any volunteer is the importance of that enthusiastic, optimistic, and very flexible attitude.

You’re going to encounter misunderstandings and confusion, you’re going to get frustrated at people’s broken English, and you’re going to miss your family and friends back home. But you’re also going to authentically experience one of the most remarkable and beautiful cultures in the world while positively impacting young people and travelling around Europe at a low cost. I say it’s a win :)

I would do this program again in a heartbeat. I encourage you to do your research, take some time to think and pray about it, and go for it if it’s right for you! Feel free to check out my blog at heymikea.wordpress.com for a fun take on my experience in Italy.

How can this program be improved?

I think that additional screening of host schools and families would help standardize the experience for all volunteers. For example, they should make sure every family has a couple of members who speak English.

Default avatar
Veronica
Female
24 years old
Fullerton, California
California State University- Fullerton

Teach, travel, learn Italian, and meet amazing people

10/10

It has always been my dream to travel to Europe, and I was searching for a program that allowed me to immerse myself in a foreign culture. 3 months was a decent amount of time to enjoy a taste of Italy. I had gelato at least 3 times a week and got to eat amazing Italian food every day. During the 3 months I was there, I visited Torino, Venice, Florence, Rome, Milan, Bologna, Modena, and the Cinque Terre, and met amazing people along the way. I was able to pick up the language fairly easily because I knew French, and the people in Piedmont speak a dialect called Piedmontese which sounds similar to Italian and French.

I was placed in Cuneo, about an hour away from Torino. Most volunteers were placed in Torino since its a large city. Cuneo was a small and beautiful city. I was really happy with my placement because the high school I taught at was an Instituto Technico Commerciale. The curriculum focused on business and economics, which I enjoyed teaching in addition to English grammar and vocabulary. The teaching commitment was only 15-18 hours per week, and the school was pretty flexible with my schedule giving me plenty of time to travel. I was pretty fortunate because my school allowed me to go on 2 school trips with the 4th and 5th year students. I went to Rome, Salzburg, Prague, and Munich. I also went to Paris and Barcelona with some of the other volunteers in the program.

I had my own floor when I stayed with my first host family, and I stayed with them for the first 2 months. They were super nice and helpful, and I grew really close to them. We travelled together throughout Italy, and my host brother is coming to visit me in California this summer. During the last month, I was with my second host family. My second most mom taught me how to make authentic Italian food from scratch. My host sisters in my second family were very kind, and I had a really beautiful view of the alps from my backyard.

Overall, it was a great experience and I highly recommend it for people who want to travel and experience the culture. My advice for people who are seriously interested in doing this program in the future is to keep an open mind. Every experience is different.

How can this program be improved?

I wish the program could be longer. Near the end of the program I felt 3 months was too short. When I had finally started to feel comfortable and settled living in Italy, it was time for me to leave.

Screening hosts/host families more. I was fortunate to have two really great placements. Both my host families wanted to make sure I was well taken care of. They welcomed me and made me feel like I was real member of their family. That being said, every volunteer's experience is different. Some people in my program were not as satisfied with their placements for various reasons.

Default avatar
natalie
Female
24 years old
Pinerolo, Italy
University of Oklahoma

Fall in love with Italy

9/10

This program was perfect for me because I have always wanted to live in Italy, but close enough to visit France. Prior to this homestay I studied French and Italian,so I was lucky to have background knowledge of the language. During this program I ended up living in a small town (about 45 minutes southwest of Turin) that speaks Piemontese, a combination of French and Italian.
In this particular region many people speak this dialect, so it is quite a bit different than Italian. But, that being said Italians really do speak with their hands, so it has not been difficult for me to communicate. Another critical language aspect is that when you use the English textbook in Italy you will be speaking British English, not American English. For example, students in Italy are taught "Have you got a pencil?", Whereas in American English we say, "Do you have a pencil?" So at times I felt a bit awkward being an American speaking British English, but not a big deal.
I taught 18 classes with different ages (14-19) and skill levels (1-5 yrs of english). Some were quite eager to learn and others not so much. Teaching is not so hard, it is just engaging 18 different classes who are all teenagers.But living in Italy makes the struggles of teaching worth it.
My host family has been exceptional! They really are the warmest, inviting, culture. You will always have friends and family around and spend many hours at the dining room table. Italians really love quality,and freshness when it comes to food! This region is known for many appetizers, so having 10 different dishes before the main meal is normal! If you love wine this is definitely the region for you! So my family has been very accommodating and loving. My host dad is a ski instructor on the weekend and took me to ski for the first time in the alps! My host parents also took me to Alba, a region where many wine connoisseurs go to learn about wine! I also have gone shopping in Turin with my host sister. I was fortunate enough to stay with one family the entire 3 months and I'm very grateful! I truly feel like I have been adopted into an Italian family and will remain friends forever.

How can this program be improved?

If I could change one thing it would be to make it so that teachers only work with certain age groups, like only 4th and 5th year students. Having younger and older students makes it difficult to create lessons that all ages will enjoy, but also comprehend. I felt I was most useful with the older students, because they could converse the most.

Default avatar
Emmanuel
Male
24 years old
Turin, Italy
University of Texas- Austin

Make of it what you want

9/10

This program is very unique. I live in a suburb of Turin, and it takes me about 50 minutes to reach the city center. That means I am less than an hour away to catch trains to virtually anywhere in Europe (reasonable distance by train). It is important that you learn to use the train system and take advantage of the highly discounted airfares by being savvy with your planning–not programmed, but smart.

My favorite aspect is vast array of opportunities for growth. Culturally, I have developed more sensitivity by living in Italy, and I have learned an incredible amount of Italian. I did not expect this, but being here has helped me find direction in life and decide how I want to live the next decade of my life. For me, this program has been inquisitive about my purpose in life, and there is really no better time or place to do this than when you are removed from everything and everyone you know.

Throughout the program, I have felt many highs and lows: It's easy to start to miss your family, your friends, social circle, or college/job. But three foggy are easily made up by a beautiful morning where the snow-capped mountains are visible from my roof. The opportunities for travel are immense, and most families and school administrators encourage you to do it, so when you are here, you had better take advantage of it.

Another wonderful part of this program is that in the town where I teach, I am a small celebrity. Everyone wants to talk to you or have you over for dinner. It is also impressive to be in your early 20s and have a gig like this...

How can this program be improved?

Transparency (or more information) that the experiences are vastly different for everyone in the program. I feel like I lucked out with my school schedule and the level of privacy I get with my host family. Some have complained that the administration at the schools have them work too much, or they do not get enough sleep because their rooms are too noisy. etc..

Default avatar
Sarah
Female
24 years old
Torino, Italy
University of Wisconsin- Madison

Gelato, pizza, and pasta, oh me Odia!

10/10

Ciao! I have been in Italy just over a month now and my stomach has been full!...I mean my experience has been full of amazing people, wonderful opportunity to be immersed in the Italian culture and more than enough cafe and gelato that my stomach can handle!
Prior to coming to Torino, Italy I had so many thoughts run through my head....what will my host family be like? What will my school be like? What teaching materials should I bring? What if I don't speak any Italian? Let me be the first to tell you, these are all normal concerns! But....do not fear, you're travel expert is here!
You could say I don't believe in love at first sight but it was love at first sight with my host family. They are wonderful, welcoming, helpful and mom is always cooking a delicious Italian meal. Living with a host family can be awkward at first but the piece of advice I give you is to be open and honest. Tell them what's bothering you, and ask questions. You're host family will be more than happy to tell you how they cook something or suggest a place to travel for the weekend.....or even bring you somewhere for the weekend! Immerse yourself with the culture through your host family and take all opportunities given ..it is the BEST gift to give yourself from Italy.

As far as the teaching part goes....my piece of advice is come prepared for the first couple days with a simple introduction of yourself and where you are from. The students will love to learn about the state you came from. They will have so many questions for you! I felt like I was on a tv talk show the first few days of class with all the questions asked...what is your favorite color? Who is your favorite singer? Let me remind you I am teaching in a middle school. After the first few days you will get a feel for what your school atmosphere is like. Take it day by day...all of the schools and teachers are different so remind yourself not to compare with the other English teachers. Absolutely bounce teaching ideas off of them, but don't compare the situations. All schools in Italy are different and you will have different schedules, students, lessons, etc. Embrace YOUR teaching and share YOUR values and ideas with the students, they will LOVE it. I highly suggest not brining any heavy teaching materials. Maybe a book or two from your hometown but besides this, your teachers will have plenty for you to do. Do no waste precious packing space with teaching materials.

I do not speak any Italian and it has been tough during some si trust ions but mostly I have been getting by just fine. I would suggest using duo lingo or something similar to get a base of the language to recognize some words. I wish I knew more Italian so I could connect with the culture more. As I said it is not s problem because my host family speaks great English, but note, that not all host families will speak wonderful English.

Overall, embrace your travel and teaching and be you! This is an amazing opportunity to touch lives of students and make them excited about learning. If you have energy, and a passion to travel, try this out. Let the world be your classroom.
:)

How can this program be improved?

Give more detail about what teachers will be doing abroad. Many teachers show up and are doing more work than they thought prior to coming.

Default avatar
Amy
Female
32 years old
Ringwood, New Jersey
Montclair State University

When can I go back??

9/10

The best part about this program was the people! I was placed in Savigliano, and my host family seemed to be tailor-made just for me; my host siblings were all older (between 16 and 24 years old), so we were able to really bond and enjoy spending time together. Aside from them, all the other teachers within the program were just as awesome! We planned weekend trips around Italy together (including Carnevale in Venice, seeing Juliet's Balcony in Verona, and taking midnight walks around the Colosseum in Rome) and could meet up easily in Turin for simple nights out.

I taught at the local liceo and was used by teachers in many different subjects in order to incorporate English into the various lessons. I helped students become more comfortable in conversation and fixed their pronunciation. I also had the opportunities to take field trips with the classes, including a day in Milan, a trip to the Munchhausen Concentration Camp in Austria, and several days in Prague. The great thing about the Greenheart program is that I only needed to work 15 hours a week, and the rest of the time was mine to explore the town and travel elsewhere.

As a high school teacher, I was able to use this experience to help my grow professionally as well as personally. I am already looking into what other Greenheart Travel programs I can do next year :) I absolutely recommend this organization for ALL opportunities abroad.

Default avatar
Miles
Male
24 years old
Chicago
University of Illinois- Urbana-Champaign

Great trip to Italy!

9/10

I actually taught in two schools, and lived with two host families. My first host family was great, my mother was an English teacher at my school so that made my transition to Italy much easier. I was quite close with my family, and we did a bunch of things together, including visiting Monaco, Turin, and Milan. My second host family was in a very small town, and it was difficult for me. Only my host sister spoke English. So it was fortunate that I lived there second, because at this time I had some Italian knowledge and was able to get by with the second family. However, I expected to have challenges and don't regret it at all. Overall it was an excellent experience.

How can this program be improved?

The host families deserve a little compensation I think, and perhaps making sure the participants will be near a town with things to do.

Default avatar
Andrea
Female
24 years old
New York, New York
Other

An Amazing and Memorable Experience!

10/10

At the end of this experience I did not want to come home! That is how great it was!

I was not placed directly in Turin, but I ended up benefiting more from living in a smaller town because I was immersed in the culture more seeing that not many people were fluent in English. This allowed me to live, think, and speak like an Italian. In addition to this I was fortunate to have been placed with an extremely accommodating family. I was nervous I wouldn't get along with them, but they and their friends welcomed me with open arms and they provided me with meals when I ate with them, I had my own room and my own bathroom, my host parents drove and picked me up from places if I needed, and my host mother even did my laundry!

In addition to having an accommodating family, I was also fortunate enough to work with very sweet students. They were all very eager to learn English and very interested in learning about American culture. My host mother was my co-teacher so we planned to allocate a few days each week where I could plan and teach my own lessons with the students.

The way this program is set up allows you to meet with other volunteers during orientation and during this time we all exchanged contact information so throughout the period we were in Italy we were all able to meet in Turin and go out to dinner, aperitivo, a bar, a disco (club), or travel to other places in Italy or Europe together. This was refreshing because it allowed you to have a network of friends who were already fluent in English and that could relate to your experiences living in a new country.

I think the only issue I had during this program was the communication with WEP, Greenheart's partner in Italy. Greenheart and its staff are amazing, but I think WEP needs to be a bit better about communicating details to Greenheart so there are no last minute surprises. Other than this the overall program itself is a great experience and I definitely recommend it for those who are interested in teaching, immersing themselves in a new and beautiful culture, interested in learning Italian, and/or just wanting to try something different!

Default avatar
Anonymous
Female
42 years old
Ontario, CA
Other

Greenheart is great...WEP needs improvement

8/10

My overall experience was great. I do think that the WEP program needs some serious fine tuning. They seemed very disorganized in the orientation, communication, and other areas. This needs to be improved.

How can this program be improved?

More communication between the Greenheart office and WEP. More clarification on what our role will be. More organization in regards to teaching roles. At times I would go to my school, and then find out I was not needed. Or I would go into a class and be expected to conduct a lesson, without notification. There needs to be more of a clear job description to the host school. It seems as if even the schools did not know what to do at times.

The families should be visited and screened, and recommended.

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Greenheart Travel is excited to provide authentic cultural immersion experiences for teenagers and adults in countries all over the world. Our programs include volunteer opportunities, short and long term teaching contracts and work and internship positions abroad. We also offer TEFL certification, high school study

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