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Asian-Canadian woman teaching in Italy

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Joined: 27 Oct 2004
Posts: 49
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:49 am    Post subject: Asian-Canadian woman teaching in Italy Reply with quote

I'm an Asian-Canadian woman planning teach English in either France or Italy. I'm a little concerned that I might have difficulty getting hired because I am of Asian descent, even though I was born and raised in Canada.

I have a TEFL certificate and have taught in Buenos Aires for one year. I don't speak Italian but, I do speak Spanish and I intend to spend the first month learning the local language. I will be coming with a working-holiday Visa.

I'm wondering how difficult it would be for an Asian woman to find work as an English teacher in Italy.

Any comments or experiences with this? I would appreciate any advice.

[EDIT: Comments below added.]

Sorry, I should have clarified by what I meant when I said working-holiday visa.

There is a bilateral agreement between Italy and Canada for Canadian youths to obtain a one-year, working-holiday Visa.

In addition to Italy, there are a few more EU countries that have agreements with Canada. Details can be researched here:

So, Visa aside, would there be unbearable challenges for an Asian female teaching English in Italy?

(Side note: In Buenos Aires, I found work fairly easily... although I seemed to have taught a lot more grammar classes than conversation classes than my non-Asian colleagues.)


p.s. I'm also posting the same question in the French forum.
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Teacher in Rome

Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1286

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You may end up having a completely different experience depending on where you live in Italy. In the larger towns and cities, there's much more diversity than in the smaller towns, and unless you find people to hook up with, you might be viewed with greater "interest" than is warranted! Italians are polite, curious and sociable though, so even if you find students surprised to be taught by you at first, this should very quickly wear off.

Knowing Italian will most definitely help. It doesn't really matter how fluent or accurate you are (though if you know Spanish, this should help you enormously) as most people will be absolutely delighted that you make an effort to speak with them. Go into small shops, ask how they'd cook the food they're selling, ask for advice and tips - in short, you'll be charming the socks off people without really meaning to!

Regarding the hiring question: as long as you make it clear on your CV and at interview that a) you can legally work here, and b) you have experience and qualifications, you shouldn't have much difficulty. Language schools vary in scope - some send teachers to local state schools, others focus on corporate training, and others do lesson revision / young learners. The greater your range of abilities, the easier it will be for you to find work at one school, or to put together hours for different institutions.

And as a final aside, personality counts for a great deal. If you're easy to work with, eager to please clients / customers, and happy to put in hours, you'll do brilliantly here. You'll get recommended on, given more hours, and invited to all sorts of events and gatherings. Italians are very close, temperament wise, to Argentinians, so I've heard!

Let me know if you need more info.
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