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Is it all bad news?
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andrew murphy



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 51
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2003 12:59 am    Post subject: Is it all bad news? Reply with quote

ESLCafe's Job Information Journal makes for grim reading. Italy seems no different from any other country with teflists' stories of woe. How do I distinguish a good tefl opportunity from a bad one. I'd like to teach in the North of Italy but I am apprehensive after reading so many tales of being ripped off. Is it really that bad?
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avahanian



Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 123

PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2003 1:18 am    Post subject: Re: Is it all bad news? Reply with quote

andrew murphy wrote:
ESLCafe's Job Information Journal makes for grim reading. Italy seems no different from any other country with teflists' stories of woe. How do I distinguish a good tefl opportunity from a bad one. I'd like to teach in the North of Italy but I am apprehensive after reading so many tales of being ripped off. Is it really that bad?


I haven't taught in Italy but I have in Spain...and as you will notice, there are many stories of woe in the Spain forum as well...

But I can say I had a great experience in Spain. So it really matters on each person and whether they approached their journey with an open mind or expected it to be just like their home country.

I know people who have taught in Italy and have had a very good experience, and I know others who haven't had such a good experience. Here is the advice I can give you:

1. be sure to have the necessary qualifications (BA degree, TEFL, etc.)

2. decide on a city or cities and learn as much as you can about them from native Italians. Venice and Milan are VERY expensive and 700 Euro a month salary won't be enough! Try to avoid those cities and go to Florence or Bologna for the true Italian experience!

3. learn from the mistakes of other teachers (very important!)

4. go there with a sufficient amount of money (as I mentioned the north of Italy is not cheap!)....do not go there with less than 5000 Euro.....the more you take with you the easier it will be and the more options and time you will have in case it takes a long time to find a job or flat

5. advertise yourself and teach private classes (pay is higher and you get a more flexible schedule....of course, cancellations are more common)

6. realise that it won't be like your home country....some things will be different and that is a fact of life

7. learn Italian before you go

8 learn Italian before you go

there are of course more pieces of advice to dispense but this should be a good start for you

cheers
Arin
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Caroline



Joined: 23 Jan 2003
Posts: 29
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2003 12:12 pm    Post subject: Teaching in Italy Reply with quote

I have been teaching in Italy for four years.

I agree with most Andrew's reply - especially the value of learning some Italian before you go. A few minor differences of opinion, though.

1. You should stay out of the expensive cities, but I would place Florence in that group. The rents are very high and there are tons of Americans studying in university exchange programs. I was offered a job at a good school in Florence when I first came over and I turned it down due to the high rents. I would suggest looking at less-known regional centers, preferably a town with a university.

2. Yes, it is a good idea to bring some start-up money, but I don't think you need $5000 (although it would be nice!) In my opinion, $1,000 - $2,000 is enough.

A bit more general advice. Italy is a place to come if you're looking for a relaxed lifestyle - but it's a not a place to save money. Prices have gone up quite a bit since the introduction of the Euro and salaries haven't kept pace.

Hope this helps. Don't get too discouraged by what you read. The nature of this type of forum is that it attracts a lot of people who are unhappy with their jobs.

Caroline
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dkcaudill



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2003 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I former exchange student in Milan, I'll agree that it's very expensive. Venice is unquestionably expensive...Florence too. In fact, most large cities in Italy are expensive...which should be no surprise because cities every where are. For every large city there are dozens of smaller, quieter, nicer towns within range of short train trips. Most all of them have high schools which teach very advanced english classes.
From my involvement with Italian organizations I can tell you to expect general disorganization, but very nice people. Friends are what get you jobs in Italy. 100%
Personally, I think that the smaller towns would be a more pleasant place to live, dealing with the insanity of traffic and the cost of living in Milano is enough to get to a person after awhile. There are so many gorgeous towns in the north of italy...Como, Vicenza, Bergamo, etc in the prealps are fantastic.
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andrew murphy



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 51
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 1:25 am    Post subject: Genova Reply with quote

Thankyou all for the advise. I was suprised by the suggestion of having 5000 Euro. Do I really need to have that much in reserve. I get the point too about the expense related to living in big cities but I have discovered, having done my homework, that working in a smaller city/town means that you will invariably have to do more travelling to lessons. Certainly I would want to avoid large crowds of anglophones too. Therefore what do people think about teaching in a "less fashionable" city such as Genova?
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andrew murphy



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 51
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 1:42 am    Post subject: Italian High Schools Reply with quote

David, you speak about advanced english classes in Italian High Schools. Are you suggesting that this might be a possibility? I would have thought that this would be something of a closed shop requiring all sorts of pieces of paper and general Italian beauracratic angst. I have dual Australian/British citizenship and am a recently qualified secondary school teacher here in Victoria, but I don't know that I'd really want to teach in a secondary school in Italy. As to your own desires to teach overseas remember, if someone hasn't already told you, that the European Union is a closed shop for those without a EU passport including wannabes from (greater) Nashville. Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised
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dkcaudill



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went to Italy pre-EU, so the paperwork, I couldn't tell you about. My exchange student showed me pictures of his english class at school... the teacher was a scrawny, unshaven british man with a cigarette in his mouth at all times. My german exchange student had a teacher by a pretty similar description. oh yes, and the genovanese have a reputation for being cheap. I worked for a construction firm owned by a genovan man and the first thing my exchange family says is "ohhh no!" but of course thats a custom thats ages old. if you want to have fun, sit down with italians and ask them what they think about different groups, esp the french, whom my exchange brother told me were, clearly, all gay.(but avoid the albanians subject, ha)
so, by closed door, do you mean totally impossible to get a work Visa? or just "buried under paperwork and fees" impossible? I know that the EU has changed that whole procedure, but no one's yet explained it to me. can someone link me to the topic?
"bureaucratic angst" that so well describes anything involving the italian government.[/i]
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andrew murphy



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 51
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 11:49 pm    Post subject: nonEU citizens Reply with quote

I might explain that I have previously lived in Italy for some four years.

As to nonEU citizens/passport holders working in the EU in general and in Italy specifically the rule is NO PASSPORT = NO RIGHT OF WORK.

I'm not sure how this operates within the framework of the 1999 Schengen Agreement on mobility of residency and work rights between EU member states, but Italy does have a miserly quota of work permits for "extracommunitari" = nonEU citizens, but this either relates to highly specialized positions of "importance to the national economy" (which an EFL teacher is not!) or to seasonal (=fruit picking) work.

However many people from outside of the EU through parents who were born in the EU have the right to obtain a passport/citizenship and therefore work in the EU. This is the case with many wannabe EFL teachers from the U.S.A., Canada, New Zealand, South Africa & Australia. To see your rights, or lack thereof, have a look at this from the Italian Polizia di Stato, which unfortunately is only in Italian and in beauracratic-speak at
that: http://www.poliziadistato.it/pds/cittadino/stranieri/stranier.htm

If you are tempted to teach illegally then you expose yourself to being taken advantage of and at the very least likely to be paid considerably less than what is already the standard jejune EFL teacher salary in Italy. An unscrupulous employer, when you are no longer of use to him or her, may at any moment decide to dob you in to the police and you will be deported.
Crying or Very sad
Sorry if this is not what you wanted to hear, but it is the grim reality.
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dkcaudill



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

so do you know much about italy's kaws regarding dual citizenship? I've looked it up, and the US law about it is very lax, they don't require that you renounce all other citizenships. If italy is the same, then both nations would treat me as a member of only that nation..I think Italy is phasing out mandatory military duty, but i'd imagine i'm required to be fluent in italian. it would be tough to be fluent in italian without living in italy. It would be tough to live in italy without getting citizenship. sheesh what a racket.
there has to be some international organization to help with this or something...some kind of teacher exchange program maybe? I know that the US department of defense offers great jobs in any NATO nation, including those in the EU. That'd be a great way to get to Europe.
oh yes, and thank you Andrew Murphy for being so terribly knowledgeable. I appreciate the help.
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Harry Swindells



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 39
Location: Warsaw,Poland

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dkcaudill wrote:
It would be tough to live in italy without getting citizenship. sheesh what a racket.


It is just as difficult for a citizen of the USA to get a job legally in the EU as it is for a citizen of the EU to get a job legally in the USA. The laws are designed to mirror each othe. Don't whine because you find yourself on the wrong side of the laws. Lots of Europeans would like to go and work in the USA but are stopped from doing so.

Harry
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andrew murphy



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 51
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 11:21 pm    Post subject: Genova/EU citizenship Reply with quote

Thanks for your insights, Dave. I seem to have opened up an inevitable pandora's box on the topic of EU citizenship and if people don't mind I'd like to kill it off Mr. Green in this forum and open up a dicussion in the General Discussion section.

I would still welcome further insights into teaching EFL in Genova.
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avahanian



Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 123

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2003 8:09 am    Post subject: Re: Genova - and doing it Italian style! Reply with quote

andrew murphy wrote:
Thankyou all for the advise. I was suprised by the suggestion of having 5000 Euro. Do I really need to have that much in reserve. I get the point too about the expense related to living in big cities but I have discovered, having done my homework, that working in a smaller city/town means that you will invariably have to do more travelling to lessons. Certainly I would want to avoid large crowds of anglophones too. Therefore what do people think about teaching in a "less fashionable" city such as Genova?


hi Andrew,

There is not a set amount that you must have, but think about it this way:

when renting a room in flat you must give two months' deposit along with your first month's rent, which could be 900 Euro (if rent is calculated at 300 Euro per month). It could be much more if you decide to rent your own flat.

and how about hotel/hostel costs when you first arrive?

and how about money to keep you going until you find a job?

even if you do find a job immediately, you won't get paid until a few weeks later (assuming you are paid on time).

and what if your employer decides to give you only 10 hours per week of teaching?

the point I am trying to make is that there is no harm in having more money. Someone (whose name I cannot remember at the moment) said you could get by with $1000 or $2000.

Clearly, you can (if you are lucky and find employment immediately), but knowing the costs of living as stated above would you want to have only $2000 ?

I arrive at my figure of 5000 Euro because it is a "safe" figure. It's clearly not a fortune (and hence easier to come up with) but it will help you get by emergencies and will make things easier on you when you arrive to your destination. You will have a few thousand Euro left after paying for your flat and other expenses, and will have enough money to live on in case you do not find employment immediately.

Now, if you want to avoid anglophones, avoid the touristy places and the Irish pubs..... but really, there are anglophones all over Italy. In short, go everywhere an anglophone would NOT go.

You mentioned Genova, which is rather interesting as most EFL teachers do not go there.....I haven't ever been there but that just might be a good place for you.

most EFL teachers go to Milano, Roma, and Firenze.....fewer of them go to gems such as Bologna and Genova.

my recommendation to you is, even if you get a job teaching at an academy, to get as many private classes as you can and earn your money the Italian way - IN CASH !!

we say, "IN CONTANTI" !!!!

practise that phrase for you will need it....believe it or not most Italians work for cash ! Unbeatable !!

remember, it's all about IN CONTANTI......don't be a fool, earn money the Italian way and spend the money you would have paid on taxes on vino (wine), birra (beer), gelato (ice cream), ragazze (girls), and other such things which are exquisitely enjoyable but at the same time hazardous to your health ! (can't live with the aforementioned things but cannot live without them either mind you !)

cheers

Arin
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SueH



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Posts: 1022
Location: Northern Italy

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2003 3:47 pm    Post subject: private lesson rates Reply with quote

Arin,

Going to Italy and teaching privately is what I have in mind after getting a bit more experience here in the UK. I came to that conclusion after seeing the rates of pay on offer and knowing someone who has just gone out there and is being crippled by the hours they are working. Do have any idea of the rates that can be charged for private lessons in the smaller Northern cities such as Bergamo, Bolzano, Trento etc?

Thanks
Sue
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karenh



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 10:55 pm    Post subject: italy is it all bad news? Reply with quote

thanks for the advice Andrew? Are you still thinking of going to Genova? I've thought about that one and I'm also going to check out Bologna; Does anybody have any tips/advice on these towns? Is it just as hard to get an appt in Italy as Paris-do you need 3 mths worth of pay slips on top of 2/3 monts rent up front? Is flat-sharing common? here in Paris it's rare! Is basic (and I mean basic!) Italian enough to get a job or had I better start cramming?
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andrew murphy



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 51
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2003 11:22 pm    Post subject: Bologna Reply with quote

Good choice Karenh. Bologna is a much underated city, which is a good thing if you want to avoid anglophone tourists! It is not too big. However I believe that it is a little on the expensive side, but not as expensive as Milano. You may also consider the string of smaller cities along the Emilian rail line such as Modena Parma & Reggio. Getting between these cities is relatively easy.
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