Italy is one of the most popular destinations in Europe for teaching English abroad. With a fascinating history, Mediterranean climate and an easy going lifestyle, it is no surprise that it is the number one choice for a large number of prospective teachers from all over the world. To help you plan ahead and to ensure you have the best possible chance of landing your dream job, we have put together the following guide to finding a job teaching English in Italy.
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The most important thing to know about teaching English in Italy is that you will need to be TEFL certified. Employers across the country almost always insist on their teachers having completed a reputable TEFL certification course prior to applying for a teaching position.
Although it is sometimes possible to secure a teaching position from within your own country, the vast majority of positions in Italy are filled locally following a face-to-face interview. The best advice is simply to head to Italy and start your job search on the ground with your CV/resume and TEFL certificate in hand. It may seem daunting to head overseas without a job lined up, but the demand for teachers is high enough to all but guarantee success for those who are prepared in advance and determined to take the initiative.
To ensure you have the best choice of teaching positions it is crucial that you arrive in Italy at the right time of year. The main hiring season across the country takes place in September, so this is the ideal time to hit the ground running. During the summer months thousands of teachers who worked the previous year either head home or move on to another destination, creating a large number of openings for new arrivals. Another option is to arrive at the beginning of January to take advantage of the secondary hiring season.
The good news for citizens of EU countries is that they do not need any kind of visa or work permit to legally teach English in Italy. Subsequently, teachers from the UK and Ireland have a significant advantage in the job market. Unfortunately for non-EU citizens, work permits are difficult to obtain for teaching English in Italy. However, this doesn't stop thousands of non-EU teachers working in the country every year on a basic tourist visa. Although not strictly legal, this practice is extremely common and rarely causes any problems for the many that choose this option. There are other options open to non-EU citizens that prefer to have everything legal and above board. One option is to apply for a student visa which also allows you to work under certain conditions. To obtain the visa you will need to enroll on a government approved course such as an Italian language course. A second option open to citizens of Australia, New Zealand and Canada is to apply for a working holiday visa. This option allows you to work in the country for up to one year but is usually restricted to those between 18 and 30 years of age.
As you will need to be on the ground in Italy to begin your job search it is vital that you have the finances in place to see you through until you receive your first paycheck. Realistically you should budget for a minimum of four to six weeks living expenses, including accommodation in a budget hostel, which equates to around $2000 to $3000 US dollars.
Although most teaching vacancies in Italy are filled locally, it is still worth checking out online job forums before you head off. Once on the ground, the best approach is to simply contact as many schools as possible to enquire about vacant positions. Contact information for schools can be found via an online search or through the local Yellow Pages. Teachers already working in the area can also be a valuable resource when looking for work. There are several things that you can do before and during the interview process to give yourself the best possible chance of securing a position. Firstly, make sure you have a professional looking CV/resume and cover letter that have been translated into Italian. Business cards can also be useful for handing out to prospective employers or private clients. On arrival, it is a good idea to purchase a phone or SIM card so you have a local number for employers to contact you on. Finally, don't forget to dress the part, as nothing will ruin your chances quicker than by turning up to a job interview in Italy looking anything other than smart and professional.