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Tefl in Italy vs government job?

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Joined: 07 Dec 2004
Posts: 10
Location: Canada, on the shores of Lake Superior

PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2005 7:03 pm    Post subject: Tefl in Italy vs government job? Reply with quote

Hello all,

Thanks for a great forum for interesting discussion.

Firstly, sorry to bore you all. This is another - I am thinking of going to teach overseas, but have another job, what should I do - should I go to thread. I have family living near Venice and thought it would be exciting to spend some time there.

I am a 31 year old working on a 6 month contract with the Ontario government as a building inspector and I am already getting tired of the 9-5 grind. Also terrified in one way that this will turn full-time and I will be a lifer there. Not that there is anything wrong with a full-time job these days.

I graduated from teachers college in '96 majoring in elemetary teaching, hated the kids at the time. Took a graphic design course and wanted to get into Instructional Design but the jobs are just not there. So now I have 2 degrees, 1 college diploma and kind of fell into a gov't job where they pay me $35,000 a year to inspect houses. After almost 2 months it's all a complete bore.

I have an EU passport, I am single and have nothing holding me back really. I just dont know what to do, if it's worth the time and energy.

Any advice on leaving the comforts of job security to live in Italy?
Am I totally nuts leaving?
Am I totally naive about the expectations and what I will encounter when I get there?
Do I just need one of you in this forum to tell me to "shut the hell up, punk, you have a government job , stop complaining!"

Thanks in advance for your help and guidance. Go easy on me please, I'm new here Smile !

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Teacher in Rome

Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1283

PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2005 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds more like you want someone to tell you that leaving your safe gov job in Canada for an insecure, possibly poorly-paid job in Italy is a good idea.

Only you can decide what you want to do, but it sounds to me that you have an itch for Italy. If I were you, I'd scratch it and at least spend a few months here. What do you have to lose? If it all turns out to be a complete failure, you can at least return to Canada and start the govt grind again.

The important thing is that you have an EU passport, which means you can work legally. What would really help you is having some sort of TEFL certificate under your belt, as at the moment you have no EFL experience or TEFL training. If you did such a course in Canada and realised that you loathed teaching, you might have to rethink your plans, but it would at least save you the time and energy you'd spend coming over here - or going anywhere else for that matter.

There's a fair amount of work in North East Italy, but you need more than "good will" to get it. Get qualified and perhaps do some voluntary EFL /ESL teaching. Italy is definitely worth it, in my opinion.

Good luck!
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Joined: 17 Aug 2004
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2005 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DO IT... especially if you have an EU passport. What's the point in having it if you are not going to take advantage of it.?

30 years from now, as you look at your enlarged wasteline and are sitting on your government pension, are you going to have the energy to travel abroad with the openmindedness that you have now? I doubt it.

Government jobs are a blessing and a curse. They are kind of like hitting the lottery, but having to show up, do the 9-5 thing, and all the politics behind it make it kind of like a prison. I used to work for the United States Geological Survey and that was my situation at least.

Anyway... sorry for my rant, but that's my advice.
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Joined: 06 May 2004
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


What have you got to lose! you know whats happening at home, and it's not going anywhere, it will be there when you get back.

I have just left Italy after living there for 2 years, I have been home for 6 months and dying to go back.

The people, the lifestyle, food, it's great!

I lived in Vico Equense, near Napoli, & taught English in Napoli when I 1st arrived I didnt speak a word of Italian or know anyone, Now I can make myself understood & know most of the people in Town & everyone is willing to help! I felt like I had known some people all my life & thats how they treat you like family!

Yeah there are lots of dodgy people but its the same with every country,

The 1st 3 months will be your hardest but if you keep positive & this is their way of life you will have a great time!

You know what you will be missing at home so why not go & see what you could be missing by not going! the worst that could happen is you dont like it & get back on a plane & go home EASY!!!

I'm Planning to go back in July because I have come home & back to 9-5 job, its no fun!

So go for it!
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Joined: 07 Dec 2004
Posts: 10
Location: Canada, on the shores of Lake Superior

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to all for the positive feedback and advice. I am going to spend some time mulling over my options and make a decision ASAP. I will let you know how it goes.


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Joined: 18 Jan 2005
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 4:11 pm    Post subject: Take a chance! Reply with quote

Hi John, I can't speak from experience, I am writing you from the comfort of a warm den in southern Ontario, however, I suppose I am in the same boat as you, maybe just a little farther ahead. This is a little inspriational advice for you.
Recently married, my husband and I got TESL certified and are now purging all of the household crap we somehow accumulated over the last 5 years. We are ignoring all of the "are you crazy?!" comments from friends and family and we are shucking the 9-5 grinding lifestyle of southern Ontario for some adventure and inspiration in Italy. We are currently looking for jobs in Florence. I recommend that you look into getting TESL certified. It seems that most of the jobs in Italy require this (especially if you have no ESL experience). You will find though that you have an edge with your teaching degree and experience with kids (any teaching experience is experience, period, no matter the age) and this may help you get into the public school system. There is alot of info out there to help with the whole relocating experience and there is alos alot of resources available for lesson planning etc..
My point is, Go for it! The whole process is not as scary as it seems, and you, like us, have an EU passport. Take advantage of that! Carpe Diem!
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Joined: 03 Mar 2005
Posts: 3
Location: Boston MA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 6:34 pm    Post subject: Are you really living if you don't take risks? Reply with quote

First, I am extremely envious since you already have your EU passport. I am trying to obtain mine and it is pure, unadulturated hell.

I am in a similar situation, but I know that I have to get out. I have a B.A. in Gov/Spanish Lit and an M.A. in Span Lit/Culture. I have been teaching Spanish for what will be the past 6 years this June. I honestly don't know what it is that I want to do with my life. What I do know is that I felt the most alive and happy when I was living abroad and leading a pretty stress-free life (I quasi taught ESL in Madrid). I am now taking a class to become TEFL certified so that I can leave my extremely safe, boring, and well paying job to go abroad and hopefully not go through all of my savings.

You have family in Italy that you could live with until you find a place of your own, right? You are lucky- call them and ask if they know of any reputable ESL schools where you could teach or if they know any directors.

I don't want to become a lifer either. We aren't going to be young forever without anyone else to worry about. Now is the time to go and explore. I think that you know that you could very easily come back, yes it would be a bit difficult at first, and find another job in Canada. But how many opportunities will you have to just go and travel and support yourself by teaching? And you have the qualifications, which most people don't. It is hard to take that first step, and it only becomes more difficult as we become older. Do it now. I honestly don't think that you will ever regret it. Plus, who knows what you will encounter in your travels? I hope that this was helpful and that I didn't come off sounding like a therapist...Good luck.
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Joined: 07 Dec 2004
Posts: 10
Location: Canada, on the shores of Lake Superior

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi dea712 and desmondwolf,

thank you both for the words of encouragement. It has been difficult these days making decisions. I am a great procrastinator. THe gov't job is continuing, as good as it can be I guess, but I will have to take do something about it because I can't stay there for the rest of my life, no matter the security and pension.

Yesterday I went to see a local production of Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett's classic play. It was really a pre-Seinfeld play, focussing and pretty much NOTHING! but also waiting to see if there is more to life and waiting for your real life to begin (at least that's what I got out of it)

THanks again and talk to you soon

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Joined: 22 Nov 2003
Posts: 3
Location: California

PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey John,

I am sitting in southern California. Basically the closest to climate and beauty you could get to Italy without being in Italy. I taught in south Korea for 2 years and married a wonderfull and beuatyfull Korean. We both like travel and enjoy realxed stress free living. I have been back from Asia for 4 months and though I am loving being home. I often think about the stress free life I led.

Asia pays more but(listen real carefull) I would give just about anything for an EU passport. I am 3rd generation Italian/Lebanese/Finnish. Unfortunantly I have no luck to get the EU passport. My wife and I are working on getting her citazenship in the U.S.(takes about 3 years) then we can travel together without any problems as far as different visa issues in traveling to different countries. Most countries are not a problem as basic visas are the same it would mostly just be a problem comeing and going from the U.S.

Buddy, I resoundingly echo the words of others. Carpe Diem(by the way, my brother loves is Gov't job, thinks he hit the lottery. but he would have never left the country anyway)

Personally I did not find teaching that great but there are many things to do and see that you will likely never have the chance to experience at home.

Good Luck
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Joined: 19 Jun 2005
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 4:18 am    Post subject: Same Situation Reply with quote

So...what have you decided? I'm in the same boat basically. Only difference is I've already taught English in Italy last year. I took a sabbatical from my government job and flew to Italy on a one way ticket. I now have a Celta and am considering returning to Italy and if I leave the gov job this time it will be a resignation because I am only entitled to another sabbatical five years from now. Hope we can help each other on this one. One thing I did miss whilst in Italy ...was the great salary that comes with the other not so lovely aspects of the gov job...he he he. Teaching English is fine, low stress in comparison but the salary in Italy as an English teacher is oh well....PEANUTS! I supplemeted this with private students so that helped. But also, no benefits, isolation and other things to contend with. All that for Italy. Yes. it was worth it. Am I ready to quit altogether over here. Hmm. Not quite sure on that one. Hmmmmm...decisions decisions. I much preferred teaching English to what I do over here. ( Educator for adolescents in residential treatment centres). It's been 8 years now. I said enough with the social services already try something else.....that was my line of thought.

Let me know what you decided. I understand your dilemma.
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