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Italian Cities Underpopulated With Schools
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JRCash



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:36 pm    Post subject: Italian Cities Underpopulated With Schools Reply with quote

Anyone know any Italian cities underpopulated with schools? I'm asking because I'd like to establish my own operation.
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1216

PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Um, don't you think that if people knew that sort of thing, they'd keep the info to themselves for their own operations?

A little research tool that you might find useful: the yellow pages. (pagine gialle - look it up - it's on the internet) Armed with a map of Italy, you can then look up scuole de lingua in the yellow pages.

Just a thought...
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd imagine smaller cities woudl fit the bill.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not necessarily. I know of quite a few smaller European cities which are very well-populated with language schools.
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naturegirl321



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is the OP talking abotu a school-school, like K to 12? Or a language school?
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JRCash



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teacher in Rome wrote:
Um, don't you think that if people knew that sort of thing, they'd keep the info to themselves for their own operations?

A little research tool that you might find useful: the yellow pages. (pagine gialle - look it up - it's on the internet) Armed with a map of Italy, you can then look up scuole de lingua in the yellow pages.

Just a thought...


Sarcasm, wit and information all in one post! Very Happy I had thought of and been using pagine gialle, and another site where you can find the listing of schools, but its hard to know based in another country what that means in hard figures. For example, Athy, here in Ireland, has zero language schools to my knowledge, but as its full of old Irish people who can speak English anyway and has zero cultural attraction you'd probably be hard pressed to open a business there...

naturegirl321 wrote:
Is the OP talking abotu a school-school, like K to 12? Or a language school?


A language school.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
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Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Anyone know any Italian cities underpopulated with schools? I'm asking because I'd like to establish my own operation.



It's a pretty big deal to establish a 'school-school, like K-12.' Requires all kinds of state certification or international accreditation. Opening a language school is far more feasible.
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1216

PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Sarcasm, wit and information all in one post! Very Happy I had thought of and been using pagine gialle, and another site where you can find the listing of schools, but its hard to know based in another country what that means in hard figures. For example, Athy, here in Ireland, has zero language schools to my knowledge, but as its full of old Irish people who can speak English anyway and has zero cultural attraction you'd probably be hard pressed to open a business there...


Sorry - didn't mean to come across as rude!

Nothing is going to beat a bit of on-the-ground research - and I really recommend you do that - but in a "mature" market, shall we say, most towns where there's a working population, schools, etc, will already have at least one language school. Don't forget the chains, like Wall Street, or Inlingua, which are all over Italy.

Going back to your earlier thread on north vs south Italy, I'd say that in central / north Italy, all mid-size towns and above (say with a population of 20,000 +) will have one smallish language school. That doesn't mean you shouldn't also start a school, but it may be that you'd be up against local, established competition.

If you've got the cash, check out some of the school biz listings on the tefl dot com site. There often seem to be schools for sale along the Adriatic. Not such a bad place to be (it's sort of where I live.)
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JRCash



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teacher in Rome wrote:
Quote:
Sarcasm, wit and information all in one post! Very Happy I had thought of and been using pagine gialle, and another site where you can find the listing of schools, but its hard to know based in another country what that means in hard figures. For example, Athy, here in Ireland, has zero language schools to my knowledge, but as its full of old Irish people who can speak English anyway and has zero cultural attraction you'd probably be hard pressed to open a business there...


Sorry - didn't mean to come across as rude!

Nothing is going to beat a bit of on-the-ground research - and I really recommend you do that - but in a "mature" market, shall we say, most towns where there's a working population, schools, etc, will already have at least one language school. Don't forget the chains, like Wall Street, or Inlingua, which are all over Italy.

Going back to your earlier thread on north vs south Italy, I'd say that in central / north Italy, all mid-size towns and above (say with a population of 20,000 +) will have one smallish language school. That doesn't mean you shouldn't also start a school, but it may be that you'd be up against local, established competition.

If you've got the cash, check out some of the school biz listings on the tefl dot com site. There often seem to be schools for sale along the Adriatic. Not such a bad place to be (it's sort of where I live.)


No problem, thanks for the information! This is what I've been thinking too. Any town I can think of seems to have a school. I don't have enough I wouldn't think to buy a school myself though I might be able to start one up. I had some ideas for the south of Italy but you're words on the situation there really put me off.
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MilanTeacher



Joined: 08 Mar 2011
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Italian market is pretty saturated. We lived midway between Milan and Lodi (a town with about 40,000 people) and in Lodi alone there were 2 or 3 schools. In Milan, of course, infinite. Unfortunately, it is a place where many many English speakers have set up shop, due to its attractiveness in many ways. It's good to remember that if a school hasn't been set up yet, there is probably a reason for it. In the North there are a ton, because demand is huge. In the South there aren't many because there is very little demand. My husband's family is from Sicily and we spend a part of every summer there with them, and I can guarantee you that the last priority of people living there is learning any foreign language- many people over 50 don't even speak Italian. Unemployment is massive, and the people who are employed don't have any sort of extra income usually. One of my cousin's made 400 euros a month working 40+ hours a week as a sales girl in a store- and people told her she was lucky to have the job.

I think that a person can get by (living extremely modestly) doing private lessons in most parts of Italy (barring very small rural towns), but opening up a school would be a massive undertaking. You would need to have a perfect grasp on Italian, and the Italian business system. Having local connections would be crucial. Honestly, for me, opening a business in Italy would be a bureaucratic nightmare. If you are really set on it, I would suggest (as mentioned before) taking a trip to personally scope out the situation and make contacts. Start up costs/taxes can be really massive, so make sure to be financially prepared as well! I'm not trying to be overly negative, just realistic! I speak fluent Italian, am married to an Italian (therefore have lots of connections) but I would never in my right mind try to open up a school there. But to each there own Smile If you can do it, more power to you!
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with everything MilanTeacher has said.

You can make money teaching in Italy. There are plenty of growth areas too.

But, and it's a big but, you need a lot more than just financial savvy and teaching ability. Italy is contact-dominated, where word-of-mouth and local connections are probably more important than skill or experience. And if you're coming in from zero, you'll need time to build these up. Students and customers won't just fall into your lap because you've got a language school. You need a bit of form first.

I'd say you should start off small to begin with. Decide what sort of place you want to live in. Start freelancing and build up a few customers. Work out what the income flow is throughout the year. So you might get lots of students in winter, and none in the summer months. Then work out whether it's worth you opening a school, what sort of school that should be, and whether you need to hire teachers.

I know someone who started her own language school in a town near mine. In her second or third year (can't remember which one it is now) she averages about 15 teaching hours a week, spends a lot of time marketing and getting the word out, and works until late in the evening. Maybe she'd work more hours if she had them available, but we're talking small town, small wages sort of living. And she's the only language school for miles around. No competition, but not much work either. I think you should allow for a few years -at least - before you'll see decent returns.
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JRCash



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the information.

Certainly a warning or two, I had been thinking of a school as I don't see how else to make a reasonable living in Italy seen that the wages the schools pay teachers, I was offered 200 a week in Milan, and I travel to Italy REGULARLY so I'm not green as to what 200 a week would get you there, a cardboard box outside Spizzico in Piazza del Duomo maybe.

I'm surprised. A friend of mine opened a school in Spain back in December and already has to employ somebody else because the business is so big. I would've thought Spain was more saturated as the British and Irish would be keener to live in Spain than Italy. Would you mind telling me what these "growth areas" are please because I'm so keen to move to Italy especially given I can't abide where I live now and the place makes me feel like crying all the time (Ireland)?
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're so keen to move to Italy, then move! It would give you the chance to do some research in an area that you like the look of. Really - my best guess on the market conditions in Cremona, say, are as good as yours!

Growth areas (in Marche region) - YL, Cambridge exam prep, CLIL-related training or consultancy.

But don't take my word for it. Move to Italy and ask around! What's hot in Ancona might not be so hot in Bergamo...
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MilanTeacher



Joined: 08 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teacher in Rome wrote:
If you're so keen to move to Italy, then move! It would give you the chance to do some research in an area that you like the look of. Really - my best guess on the market conditions in Cremona, say, are as good as yours!

Growth areas (in Marche region) - YL, Cambridge exam prep, CLIL-related training or consultancy.

But don't take my word for it. Move to Italy and ask around! What's hot in Ancona might not be so hot in Bergamo...


I agree! Why not starting slow? Get to Italy and begin to set up shop doing private lessons and making contacts/getting the lay of the land. Getting these contacts/talking to people on the ground/perfecting your Italian (if it's not already) will be invaluable. Instead of making the leap and trying to start a school immediately, I would give myself a couple of years to gradually work up to that- this will allow you to have the best chance possible when you do start up.

PS- no idea on Spain, I have always assumed that it is similar to Italy in terms of expat infiltration, but in Italy you couldn't even finish business paperwork in 3 months, let alone get one up and running!!!
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rafaella



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say that overall there are probably more British and Irish expats in Spain than in Italy. Spain has its fair share of red tape but it's a walk in the park compared to Italian bureaucracy!
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