Living and Teaching English in Italy - Habits, Customs & Curiosities
Italy is one of the most exciting destinations in Europe due to its long history, amazing cultural sites and picturesque landscapes.
It is also a very popular destination for qualified teachers looking to live and work in the field of teaching English as a foreign language.
The following guides should help you decide whether Italy is a suitable destination for your EFL career.
They cover topics such as travel tips, basic Italian words and phrases, the most popular attractions, cultural do’s and don’ts, and Italian food and wine.
Italy is one of the most popular destinations in Europe for EFL teachers as it has so much to offer.
For first time visitors there are a few things you should know before you start your Italian adventure.
A few basic tips such as how to eat pasta and when to order a cappuccino will also help you to avoid standing out as an uncultured foreigner.
The warm Mediterranean climate, fabulous food and wine, fascinating history, and beautiful landscapes all combine to attract thousands of foreign teachers every year.
Learning a few simple words and phrases such as please (per favore) and thank you (grazie) before you arrive will help you settle into your new home.
Finally, don’t be surprised if your new friends keep you waiting as it is normal for Italians to be fashionably late for dinner.
Living in Italy and working as an English language teacher promises to be an exciting and rewarding adventure.
From greetings and pleasantries, to numbers and the days of the week, check out this list of words and phrases to get you started.
However, if you really want to experience the country as a local and not as a tourist it will help considerably if you have some basic knowledge of the Italian language.
Once immersed in your new life in Rome, Milan, Florence, or Venice your understanding of the local language should grow at a rapid rate allowing you to truly enjoy ‘la bella vita’.
One of the many benefits of working as an English language teacher in Italy is the opportunity to indulge in some of the world’s finest cuisine, including the many varieties of traditional Italian pasta.
Take a look at this list of the 20 most common pasta shapes used in traditional Italian cooking and before you know it you will be able to tell your tagliatelle from your tortellini and your cannelloni from your cappelletti.
While you may be fond of your mother’s spaghetti Bolognese, you are sure to find a new favorite pasta dish during your stay with hundreds of shapes and sauces to sample.
For the vast majority of foreign teachers living and working in Italy their stay is an enjoyable and rewarding adventure that is trouble free. However, it is still a good idea to have a few emergency numbers to hand just in case you find yourself in a spot of bother.
There are also several other numbers that are useful to know if you need to contact specific services such as the police, fire brigade, coast guard or ambulance.
Everyone should be aware of 112 which is used throughout the EU as a general emergency number (equivalent to 911 in the US).
If you plan to travel the country by car you should also program 116 into your phone as this will put you in contact with a break down service.
As Italy is the world’s number one wine producer with an output that totals around one third of global production, it is no surprise that vino Italiano plays a very important role in local culture.
No matter where you find yourself in the country there will be vineyards producing fine wines within a short distance.
One of the many perks of working as an EFL teacher in Italy is that you can enjoy some of the finest wines in the world in the very region where they are produced.
Take a look at this introduction to Italian wine and before long you could be enjoying Merlot in Milan, Barolo in Bologna, or Vermentino in Venice.
Although there are foreign teachers working in classrooms all over Italy, the majority of jobs are to be found in and around the capital city of Rome.
Whether you plan to live and work in Rome or just to make a short visit, there are a few do’s and don’ts that could make your stay in the Eternal City run a little smoother.
Of those who find work elsewhere in the country, most will also take a trip to the capital at some stage during their stay.
From eating out to public transport, and from money matters to what to wear, this list covers a wide range of subjects.
Italy is without a doubt one of the most exciting destinations in the world for teaching English as a foreign language.
You should also take the time at weekends and during holidays to venture farther afield as there are countless fascinating places to visit.
However, if you prefer to get off the beaten track, there are hundreds of other smaller and less visited attractions to enjoy in towns and cities across the country.
During your stay you should have plenty of time to fully explore the city you are in and to get to know it like a local.
This list of the 20 most visited tourist attractions in Italy contains most people’s must-see museums, galleries, palaces, and monuments.
Thanks to an efficient public transport system, in particular the country’s extensive and inexpensive railway network, it is relatively easy to visit most parts of Italy at the weekends or during holidays no matter where you are based.
The northern city of Milan, which is famously one of the fashion capitals of the world, is also a top destination for many.
You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring Italy as there are several vibrant cities that are well worth a visit including the capital city of Rome which is home to some of the most recognizable attractions in Europe.
Away from the big cities you will not want to miss unique cultural destinations such as Florence and Venice, or the stunning natural scenery to be found around Lake Como and the Amalfi Coast.
Italy’s capital city is a very popular destination for EFL teachers as it offers an extensive job market, plenty of history and culture, great food and wine, and an appealing lifestyle.
The city’s most famous sites such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and St. Peter’s Basilica are all likely to be on your must-see list.
If you choose Rome as your base or are just visiting for the weekend, you will find an endless array of things to see and do.
You should also find time between attractions to indulge in some of Italy’s famous cuisine, especially dishes such as pasta carbonara, pizza Romana, and torta ricotta, all of which originate from the Rome area.
Milan is the second most populous city in Italy and a very popular destination for teaching English abroad.
World famous artworks such as the Last Supper painted by Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century are a must-see, while the magnificent Duomo di Milano in the heart of the city is guaranteed to take your breath away.
With so much to offer visitors, Milan truly is a great destination for anyone looking to teach English as a foreign language.
Second only to Rome in terms of job opportunities, the city of Milan has a huge number of attractions for those planning to stay for the long term, as well as those visiting during the school holidays or at the weekend.
Elsewhere you will find something to please everyone, from legendary shopping opportunities to world-class museums and art galleries.
If you plan to teach English in Italy you will most likely find yourself living and working in one of the big cities such as Rome, Milan, or Naples.
For those lucky enough to find a job on the island, and those who choose to visit during breaks from their own job elsewhere in Italy, Sicily offers a wide choice of things to see and do.
This must-see list of attractions is just a taste of what awaits you.
However, a smaller number of teachers will land a job on the beautiful island of Sicily which is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.
From ancient Greek theaters and Roman villas to stunning beaches and the majestic Mount Etna, the island’s diversity will not disappoint.
Simply meaning frozen, ‘gelato’ is a very popular Italian-style ice cream that is loved by locals and visitors alike.
Although the history of gelato is said to go back over 400 years, in recent times it has become a staple treat for Italians of all ages, as well as a major tourist draw for millions of visitors every year.
Wherever you find yourself in Italy you will never be far from a ‘gelateria’ selling a range of delicious flavors including traditional favorites such as pistachio, chocolate hazelnut and strawberry.
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