Hello everyone, my name is Sofia, and I am so excited to be able to tell you about the teaching experience that I had in Fermo, Italy through International Experience! I went from January to March of 2015. If you or someone you know is interested in teaching in Italy, I would highly suggest this experience.
As my plane landed on Roman soil, I was filled with emotion. Because this wasn’t my first time to Italy, my feelings of home were confirmed as I traveled through the countryside to Fermo. Before I left, many people told me how brave I was to live with a family that I didn’t know for two months. Much to my delight, my host family was the most amazing family that I could’ve received. They took me in as one of their own children, and took care of me beyond what I know they needed to do. We always had lively discussions at dinner, and they really helped me to not feel homesick because I was “adopted” into their family. Tutoring my two host siblings in English was a delight, and we had the most fun time learning from each other even when it wasn’t a formal “lesson”. When going to any country, I would highly recommend staying with a host family. You truly have the opportunity to become a local and immerse yourself in the culture. The Italian culture is one that I have been thankful to know and practice. From my family in America to my host family in Italy, I’ve been able to begin thinking with a more open mind like the Italians do, experience their daily routines, and have a piece of la bella vita.
The most important aspect of this trip, the main aspect, was getting to teach at an Italian school as a volunteer. I graduated from Baldwin Wallace University with my degree in Early Childhood Education, so I was incredibly interested in being a part of this type of cultural classroom. I was placed at “L’Isola Che Non C’e” which is a bilingual “scuola maternal” or preschool. What I found most intriguing about the school though was that it featured a 0-6 program meaning that they also included kindergarten into their school. I was one of three native English speakers. There was myself, a teacher from New York who moved to Italy 20 years ago, and a teacher from England amongst four Italian teachers. The children were responsible for learning and speaking English throughout the day as they practiced the calendar routine and curriculum on a daily basis. Because this school was Montessori based, it was much different than anything that I had worked with in the States. The language barrier was difficult for the children at first, but they absorbed English like a sponge, which made it so much more exciting. With the help of International Experience I was able to grow not only as a teacher and do more to develop my skills professionally, but I was able to grow as a person. From this trip I became more independent, understanding of the world around me, and grateful for all that this world has to offer.