An Italian job

It’s a well known fact that those who can’t, teach. So whilst several of my maths and economics-studying friends lined up summer internships with high profile international firms setting themselves up for lucrative career in the City, I, a humble history student, decided to cut my losses and apply for a job teaching English to Italian school children at summer camps. Teaching was something that I had virtually no prior experience of, unless you count ten days of voluntary work in Moldova (well, you’ve got to start somewhere). So naturally I was apprehensive about the whole process. As it turns out I needn’t have worried; I had a fantastic time and would fully recommend it to anyone looking to work abroad, do a bit of travelling and gain a qualification in the
I began with a week-long orientation course in San Remo, a town close to the French border in northwestern Italy, during which I was essentially taught how to make an idiot of myself in front of my peers with the assumption being that I would therefore have no problems with doing so in front of a class of Italian school children. Had any of my friends from Warwick seen the songs, dances and sketches that I participated in then I’m fairly certain I would have been living on my own this year.
Before I knew it orientation had finished and I was off to my first camp in a small mountain town in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy. Accommodation at ACLE camps is generally with host families, and this was one aspect I was particularly nervous about, having never participated in a language exchange at school. In fact my host family were fantastic and I was made to feel completely welcome. So welcome in fact that the twenty-year-old son of the family offered to take me to a rock concert twenty kilometres away in the mountains, on the back of his motorbike, at night. I politely declined, muttering something about having to get up early for work the next day. At the camp itself I found myself working alongside three other tutors and despite our relative inexperience we did a decent job of teaching, organising games and generally doing our level best to prevent the kids from running off or attacking each other.
I was with the same group of tutors for my second, and final, camp of the summer, a two week one in Milan. As previously my host family were incredibly generous and welcoming, and the camp itself went relatively smoothly despite one child learning the hard way not to try to run and jump down a large, concrete flight of stairs. She survived. I also got the chance to have a look around Milan at the weekend, a city I had never visited before and one which definitely has a few sites worth seeing, particularly the magnificent Duomo cathedral.
All in all I found teaching at English camp to be an exciting, exhausting but above all a rewarding experience. It was a hell of a steep learning curve, but I would definitely consider doing it again.


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