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Camp jobs for non-EUers?
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MilanTeacher



Joined: 08 Mar 2011
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

little green bicycle,

have you checked into ACLE's theatrino program? i knew a bunch of people who did it, and if ACLE is interested enough, they will help you get a year long student visa (and a guy i worked with managed to renew his another year). you have to REALLY love kids and theater, and have a ton of energy to do it. the people i know who did it loved it, but said it was also a "burn out fast" kind of job. basically you travel up and down italy in groups of 3 or 4 doing theater programs at italian schools. there is usually only 1 day off a week, and you spend 99% of the time on the road, sleeping in hotels. the good thing is that your travel, housing, and meals are paid for, so you get to save most of the money you make. people usually do it for a year, max 2, but it is a great way to get theater experience and see a ton of italy (and not from a tourist perspective). the downside is that you don't get to establish much of a "home" or get to know/integrate with one community.

if this is the kind of thing you want to do, i would suggest applying directly to them (i think there are a couple of similar ones too, but i dont know if they can get student visas) and skipping the CELTA (which is good if you are looking for a language school teaching job, but won't help you much with theater or teaching kids. as i said before, i would recommend the summer camps too if you are looking for a short term (max 90 days) way to get a non traditional way. prague is definitely a good choice in europe for a non EU citizen. definitely keep up to date on their changing immigration requirements as well though. i have a friend there right now who did a TEFL course there and has spent months tangled up in paperwork trying to get her work visa validated (it took her forever to get, she had to go to slovakia to get it, and now that she is trying to get a stay permit they are telling her that the rules have changed... so its all very confusing).

check out the acle website for more info on the theatrino program though- it sounds like it might be what you're looking for!
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littlegreenbicycle



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MilanTeacher,

Awesome! Thanks again for the info. Good to have some 'insider' information as far as people who've done the Theatrino program before!

I actually was thinking about that, but thought that I might have a better foot in the door, so to speak after doing the summer camps for a season. Also--that way I could see (as a sort of trail run) whether or not it's something that I'd be interested in doing long term with this particular company. From what I saw on the website, the auditions for the Theatrino troups is in Sept/Oct in London. But I was sort of wondering if I did the camps in the summer and got to know the admin staff, if they'd just let me audition in Sanremo instead. Hm... I've been emailing back and forth with them this past week about getting specific dates for the August training/session of camps. Maybe I will toss them a few questions about the Theatrino tours as well. That year long visa idea is certainly appealing! After all the visa stuff I've read, I just figured the same probably applied with these guys (not being eligible as an American). But I suppose if it's considered 'educational'---that might be a little loop hole? I'm not looking to get rich. Just break even at least. I will have just finished paying off the last of my debt before I go, so I'm not looking to get into debt again.

Living in LA the past 5 years since graduating from college--working from entry level in the film industry--I've realized there is one blessing that comes from being broke and living check to check all the time. I'm not tied to the industry here. If I can live check to check here, I can certainly do it somewhere else Smile So that's sort of freeing. I've just come to find I need more 'people' focused work, and less of sitting in front of a computer for 9 hours a day (though it is providing me a great opportunity to read up on these forums right now while things are slow. So I am grateful for that!).

I've loved mentoring college students the past few years --and am interested to see how I do with younger kids--as I haven't spent large chunks of time with them since about 2004. Interesting to see how perspectives change.

I was contemplating doing the CELTA in Prague because it's about $500 cheaper than doing it in Italy. And they're also one of the few places that offer CELTA training in July. Also had a friend who did TEFL training in Prague and said that there's a lot of teacher networking out of that city--and she loved it Smile

Not necessarily doing it as a prep for working with ACLE--but more to open up other options as far as being hireable for other places in case Italy doesn't happen (and I recognize realistically that there's a good chance that I'll have to go somewhere else). I'm trying to sort out the best use of the time that I'll have on a tourist visa. Basically I want to travel and teach, but I'm trying to be realistic about what my options are and give myself as many advantages as I can. The CELTA seemed like a good way to do that. Though if you have other recommendations as well--I'd love to hear any advice! (I do have a BA as well).

I'm open to most places, though the idea of going to Korea sort of freaks me out (strangely enough as my mom was adopted from there and I'm half Korean myself). My sister just got back from teaching English in Korea and she had a tough time. Kind of faced a weird sort of prejudice in that people expected her to speak Korean fluently because she looks Korean--and they were sort of offended when she didn't. Mostly the admins at her school. But she did learn quite a lot while she was there.

Apologies if I'm rambling. It's late and I'm a verbal processor. But thanks again Milan and others for the good postings. I've learned a lot reading through these boards. Excited to see what the summer will bring.
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MilanTeacher



Joined: 08 Mar 2011
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know that at least in the past they let non-Europeans audition via video, so I'm sure they could arrange you auditioning in person in Italy or via video. Remember that whatever visa you get (for Italy) you will have to get it in the US. So if you do ACLE camps in August, and wanted to come back in October for Theatrino, it would mean a trip to the US to get the student visa in between. Why do you want to do August btw? There is extremely limited work in August, and camps end in mid-September when kids go back to school. You would only get a couple of weeks of experience. Starting in June you could get your full 90 days.

In Prague, unlike Italy, you don't have to go back to the US to get a visa, just to a neighboring country (but like I said before, keep up to date, because these things are changing fast). But you have 90 days to find a job and an employment contract, and you might need all of them. The best time to get hired is usually September. From what I hear it is like a big gamble that when you go their you will be able to take the class, find a job, and make it legal within 90 days. A lot of people do it though.

And dont rule out SouthEast Asia, everyone's experience is different! Yeah, I have heard that Korean-Americans are expected to know Korean and that can be rough though. Unfortunately Italy is not immune to racism/discrimination at all, especially in the North. I looked obviously foreign (blond hair, blue eyes, pale skin) and was perceived as an Eastern European (one of the most disliked immigrant groups) and put up with a huge variety of C*&^ on a daily basis. Sad
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MilanTeacher



Joined: 08 Mar 2011
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PS- Yes, TEFL in Europe definitely won't get you in rich. If you live extremely modestly you will break even. Here are some examples of my expenses (in euro):
500 per month (tiny studio flat in suburban area outside of milan)
150 per month (heat, water, internet, electricity, "communal building expenses")
200 per month (minimum of groceries- approximately 50 per week)
80 per month (monthly transit card)

OK, so these were my "baseline" expenses. My average salary was 1,000 a month. Some months I made 600, some months I made 1,500, in August and December, when the schools close but teachers are unpaid, you make 0. So you have to budget ahead just to survive. Note that there are 80 euros left over- if you are really willing to go to "0" these 80 euros would come out to around 20 a week for "entertainment budget" (travel, going out to dinner, drinks, nightlife) They would be just enough for a coke and pizza in a pizzeria in Milan, or a couple of beers on an evening out. Then you would be at 0. Obviously weekend trips etc would be out of the question, unless if you have money saved when going into it. My budget was pretty much identical to all of the other single teachers I knew. Most of them either travelled on mommy+daddy's credit card, with a boyfriend/girlfriend who paid, or racking up debt themselves.

So you can make it work, but with zero-frills. If you rent a shared room, you could probably add an extra 100-150 to your bank account at the end of the month, but I have heard stories ranging from decent to nightmare on these. I personally cannot live with strangers, so I didn't do it. The exchange I took was living alone far outside the city center. The best advice I could give you (for Italy or prague) would be to save as much as possible beforehand, so you can enjoy your time abroad more. The alternative is doing lots of private lessons, but these take a long time to set up, and it creates a bit of a paradox (students generally want evenings and weekends, you want extra money to enjoy your evenings and weekends, but have to work them to get the money!) If you are in Italy for the long haul its the way to go though!
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littlegreenbicycle



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hm...My original thought in going to do the camps in August was that I wanted to do my CELTA first thing right off the bat (hence the July time frame). That way I'd have it in hand if I needed it to help qualify for a job--which it sounds like you do for most/all of Europe.

There are other courses in June and 2 tutor trainings for ACLE in June--but I feel like I need those extra 6 weeks or so to get things in order/finish paying off the last bit of that credit card/save another weeks worth of traveling expenses. I won't have a ton of savings, but if I live and travel modestly, I figure I should have just about enough to keep me going for the 3 months until my tourist visa is up--and a little longer if I make some cash doing the ACLE camps. Before I leave the US I plan to sell most of my stuff here in LA, drive my car and a few things up to my parent's house in Seattle to store, and then leave my car with them for the first 3 months. From what you've mentioned (and other postings I've read too) seems like most countries hire teachers end of August through mid September. I just wanted to have my CELTA out of the way by then to make myself a more appealing candidate.

Also from numerous postings I've seen that anyone's best chance at getting a job is being 'on the ground' at the right time of year so that you can go in person and knock on doors/meet with potential employers. So initially I just counted back from September and ended up with July as a good beginning period (for the 3 month tourist visa). The CELTA in Prague ends August 8th I think (just checked this week) and the ACLE August training starts on the 15th. So that would give me a bit of time to recoup/rest and get myself back to Italy and do some sight seeing before doing the camps for 2 to 3 weeks. Then after the camps, I would have a better idea of what ACLE admin is like and also be on the ground to go do interviews for potential language school jobs throughout Europe. I guess you could say my original idea was to go over and maximize my exposure to potential year long employers, while also gaining at least a little experience in the field. (This as opposed to just going over to do the camps for the summer).

If I could audition for Theatrino while I'm there and get to know the folks at ACLE--I would suck up the round trip ticket to get my visa if it meant having a contract for the school year. Fortunately my cousin works for an airline and has graciously offered to give me one of her buddy passes for my initial trip---so that will cut my first ticket down by about 2/3 of the cost. Of course I would rather not have to buy an additional international ticket--but I feel like this whole thing is sort of a huge revolving door. That in order to have greater advantages in the overall job market for teaching and to maximize my options, I should go over there during the hot hiring months--and that meeting the ACLE folks ahead of time would be preferable as far as maximizing my chances with them. I definitely want to teach abroad this year--Italy would be ideal--but it's more important to just find my first 'post' if you will. I feel like waiting around til October for the Theatrino auditions would then put me out of the game as far as other potential jobs and if I decided against it or wasn't chosen, I'd have to wait a full year to try again.

I guess emailing ACLE with additional questions this week is my next step in all of this! Good questions though! It's really helping to get my wheels turning and figuring out if my 'logic' actually makes practical sense.

There is also a SLIGHT possibility that there may be a post for me (this year or next) at a private international school in North Eastern Italy (Udine). A friend of mine that I met while he was interning at my work is Italian and his mom works as an English teacher and is in charge of helping find teachers. I've been emailing back and forth with her for the past year or so. I've sent them my CV and copies of my transcripts and an official query letter---but with the economy there things are rather uncertain. Also, the post I was gunning for would be to teach conversational English and be the director of the extra curricular theatre program. Their current director/English teacher is from Chicago and is retiring this year--BUT she is apparently staying on next year as a consultant for the theatre program, so there is no salary for an extra full time position. All the things I've heard from my contact there have been great, that the school would like to meet with me and is very enthusiastic about my experience/credentials (especially after their current director from Chicago spoke up for me after reviewing my materials). It's just that they don't have an official spot for me this year. Still, despite all the visa work that would require, I feel inclined to at least go meet with the principle there as it might be an open door in the future.

By the way, do you Milan Teacher (or anyone reading this) know the actual process that would be required to successfully get a work visa as an American? Perhaps since it would be to direct theatre I could get an Artist's visa instead (I know they have them, but not sure of the requirements)?

I've read lots of posts saying that it requires a crap load of paper work and is basically impossible because no one there wants to chase down all that paper work. But if I had someone willing to help me and do the paperwork (and I recognize that this is a very big IF--requiring intervention from God basically) can anyone tell me what those steps would be?

I know I've read a post from Teacher in Rome saying he had a well qualified and connected friend who had to give up after trying for a long time. So maybe the answer is just , "After doing all that paperwork the answer from the government is still 'no'" ?

As always, any thoughts are welcome! Whether they be in regards to visa stuff or the best way to be strategic about planning by initial 3 month tourist visa.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8998
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

littlegreenbicycle, if you're set on Italy, then I think that ACLE would be a good place to get your feet wet. I won't be going to Europe to work due to a medical condition, but I'll be there this summer to travel and tie up some loose ends on paperwork. Best of luck to you.
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1216

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi littlegreenbicycle

It wasn't me, but Spiral, I think.

But this is what I loosely know about hiring US teachers.

The school likes a US candidate, and offers US candidate a full-time dipendente job. (i.e. permanent contract, full contributions etc.)

Candidate goes back to US with this "offer" and applies for work visa with consulate.

Waits.

School waits.

Consulate grants visa. US candidate returns to Italy to take up post.

There are a number of problems with the whole process, as I'm sure you can imagine.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9498
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've read lots of posts saying that it requires a crap load of paper work and is basically impossible because no one there wants to chase down all that paper work. But if I had someone willing to help me and do the paperwork (and I recognize that this is a very big IF--requiring intervention from God basically) can anyone tell me what those steps would be?

I can't tell you exactly about the steps in a case like yours. An artist's work permit is entirely out of my experience. The bit that I can elaborate on from TIR's post is this:

The school has to do more than 'like' the US candidate. They have to make a case that 'you' have qualifications that no EU candidate for the position can match.

In my case (in the Netherlands) the uni was required to submit a copy of the job advert, a summary of the quals of other candidates, and my CV.

My friend in Italy had a private corporation willing to do the same for her, but in the end her quals (experience and trainng in translation IT/EN in medicine) was not considered specialised enough to be acceptable.

The exact laws do vary by country - and by job type - but the basics are essentially the same. If you wanted work in a 'high need' category (engineering, perhaps), you'd be eligible regardless of your nationality.
You can get lots of this info on the Embassy websites.

On all other points, I agree with TIR about the process - it's necessary to apply from your 'home' country, and there are wait times - and it's not a sure thing until your passport arrives with a work visa in it.
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MilanTeacher



Joined: 08 Mar 2011
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LittleGreenBicycle,

I think you might want to try to focus more on one place in Europe, since you only have 90 days. In Italy, no matter what, you will have to go back to the US 90 days. If you don't enter the country with a visa, you will be heading back to the US. If you think you want to go the Italy route, I would either recommend doing ACLE for 90 days, and then planning on coming back, or waiting til the Theatrino auditions, doing it via distance, and hoping they select you and can help you get a student visa. It's not a guarantee, but it would allow you to save the most money by far.

The problem with doing a CELTA in Prague and then going to Italy is that you will likely need the whole 90 days to find work and get a visa. If you overstay your tourist visa by even one day in Prague, they will likely reject a work permit. So you finish your CELTA in early August, and then begin to pound the pavement looking for jobs. It likely won't take a week, but several weeks to find one. As soon as you have the job, you will immediately have to begin the process of getting your work and residence permit, which involves a trip usually to Slovakia or Germany. Going to Italy right after your CELTA means that you would be giving up precious job hunting/visa securing days to live in Prague. So once again, I would try and choose one thing, focus on it, and try to do it well. Trying to do too many things, there is the risk that after 90 days you will have to head home without even the possibility to return anytime to soon.

As far as the international school job goes, definitely keep those connections active. I have heard a couple of stories of people getting visas for international schools. They key is the school being so interested in YOU personally that they are willing to lay out some money, jump through hoops, and wait. Even then its not a guarantee- as said before, they must prove that no other person in the EU can do the job, and that they have advertised it to EU citizens. The only people I have personally met who have gotten work visas were super-qualified super-specialized in a field (usually at a manager/director level) and generally over 30. But that doesn't mean its not possible for a recent college grad. Like I said, keep those connections open!

Let me know if you have any more questions!

PS: I chatted with my friend in Prague yesterday, and her budget situation is pretty much the same as mine was in Italy. The cost of life there is much lower, but so are salaries, so she is living month to month, and for 6 months used up all of her savings to travel/go out/etc. Now she is planning on finishing her contract out (another 3 months) living hand to mouth before heading back home. So make sure to have plenty of savings to enjoy your time more!!!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9498
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The problem with doing a CELTA in Prague and then going to Italy is that you will likely need the whole 90 days to find work and get a visa. If you overstay your tourist visa by even one day in Prague, they will likely reject a work permit. So you finish your CELTA in early August, and then begin to pound the pavement looking for jobs. It likely won't take a week, but several weeks to find one. As soon as you have the job, you will immediately have to begin the process of getting your work and residence permit, which involves a trip usually to Slovakia or Germany. Going to Italy right after your CELTA means that you would be giving up precious job hunting/visa securing days to live in Prague. So once again, I would try and choose one thing, focus on it, and try to do it well. Trying to do too many things, there is the risk that after 90 days you will have to head home without even the possibility to return anytime to soon.


I was also thinking earlier about the timing issue here. The thing is that many of the private language schools in Prague are, in fact, closed for holidays in August. I am not sure how many interviews can be really accomplished until early September - you might get one or two - or you may find none at all.....Europeans take holiday time much more seriously than Americans, and it can be really dead time!!

With the 90-day clock ticking, you'll likely need to try to line up interviews even before your CELTA course is over (possible) - but that's in Prague, obviously.

I agree with MilanTeacher that trying to focus on both Italy and the CR as a backup may mean that you will run out of time before your 90 days are up. You might maximise your chances of success to focus primarily on the CR, going for interviews before everything shuts down at the end of July. Then, if you get a solid offer, you could enjoy a couple of weeks in Italy (assuming you can afford the travel) before returning to Prague to start your new job - and the paperwork involved.

If the international school comes through, great - but trying to find anything legal in Italy will most likely take FAR more time than you will have, and is likely doomed to failure. Other than the theatre job noted in this post, of course!
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littlegreenbicycle



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once again, MilanTeacher thanks for the additional info. TiR and Spiral, nice to have your experienced input as well!

I really have spent the last couple days digesting all of this. I think a lot of it is the frustration with wanting to move forward---but because the economy sucks pretty much everywhere---realizing that this may not be the wisest move. Though I'll be totally debt free by July (which is why I had originally considered leaving in the summer) --once that debt is paid off, any additional months I spend working, I could be shoveling all that extra cash into savings--basically doubling the amount I would have in July if I just stayed an extra 6 months or so.

As of now, I think I will just suck it up--continue to research from here, put together a killer show reel (will be better because I'll have more time) and apply for the touring theatre troup in the fall. My understanding in the past is that it's slightly easier to justify 'special skills' or qualifications for actors because every person is specifically unique inherently--which for acting is more important. Again, not expecting it to be my golden ticket, but worst case scenario, I save up extra cash and leave this time next year and have a more leisurely time of things (like everyone has suggested). Also need to look into the specifics of artists visas in Italy...Will post that info for other interested parties when I find out.

And to clarify (in case I sounded like a recent college grad before--which I might have Smile ) I'm 29. I've been working in the film industry doing largely administrative tasks and some casting (and independent acting gigs) for the past 7 years since I graduated from college. It's been good and I've learned a lot surviving in LA in a time when many have had to leave for financial reasons. Just realizing that this isn't what I want to do for the rest of my life. I'd much rather invest in people and the educational process. Though if I've waited this long to get myself into a better financial position, I guess another 6 months won't kill me Shocked

Thanks again! Looking forward to more insightful info.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9498
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This sounds like very solid reasoning. Good luck on the artist visa front - it will be interesting to find out how that works! Italy, and the rest of Europe, will still be here in 2012, and you'll clearly be even better prepared in terms of both information and funds.

Do let us know how things work out! People so often just drop off the grid, and that leaves a gap in the knowledge loop - what's the end of the story??
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MilanTeacher



Joined: 08 Mar 2011
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck! That sounds like a really solid thought out plan. I think having the extra savings cushion will really help you out and let you enjoy your time abroad. I'm in the opposite position- had a few years abroad, and now have to get back to a financially sound situation! Like spiral said, Italy will still be there in 2012, 2013 2050- whenever. I was anxious to jump back to Italy right after I finished college and left a solid desk job when I had no savings. I can't complain, because I ended up meeting the guy I married and learned a ton, but making that jump when I wasn't financially ready definitely has led to some consequences. I think my experience would have been a lot better if I could have relaxed and enjoyed it more, rather than counting pennies to pay my rent etc. And I think I just misinterpreted that you were a recent college grad, because that was about 95% of the people I worked with at ACLE, and at my language school (usually early 20s, or over 40 and had been there forever) it sounds like with your experience you might be able to work out that artist visa. Don't rule out the student visa option too. Good luck, and check in if you have any more questions- keep us updated Smile
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littlegreenbicycle



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 5
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all for the encouragement! It's certainly helpful as I have to admit I do feel a bit of disappointment with not leaving in the summer (but that's because I'd expected to leave sooner than later). Granted in the grand scheme of things, it's not that much later. I've already spent 2 years to get myself into a better financial place and I know it's time well spent. That if I can manage to stay out of debt in the long run, it's worth it. It's just the 'while you're going through it' part that's tough. Just have to keep reminding myself that I'm closer to the finish line than the starting block!

MilanTeacher--I had a similar experience here in LA--without the getting married part Smile I got a great entry level industry job that paid pennies, right out of college. And then after I wrapped my first feature about 2 years later, I took off to do more acting/freelance stuff for a while. As with what you said, I don't regret any of it, it was a fantastic experience, but I did have to put a few bucks on my credit card during the heavy unemployment periods following the writer's strike, etc. Now I'm being a responsible grown up so that I can start again in a new field.

And don't worry all! I'll be around. I will definitely tell you how the story ends and what I find out about artists visas.
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1216

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can only reiterate what the others have said. I think the more $$ you have in savings, the better. Especially if you end up not being able to work for one reason or another.

Whatever you decide, just make sure it's legal. The mood in Italy is changing, with the far right in power, and (at least now) boatloads of immigrants trying to get to stay. I don't think that makes the average Italian any less welcoming, but they're not the ones enforcing the regulations.
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