Volunteering in Italy for 3 Months
Updated: May 2, 2022
Volunteering Abroad First
My first experience living and teaching abroad was through a volunteer program. I moved to Turin, Italy to live with an Italian family (who became the highlight of my experience) and teach conversation skills. I paid for the program & my flight to Italy. Yes, you read that right. I came outta pocket to go volunteer & I regret nothing.
I finished undergrad a semester early and decided to go abroad. Studying abroad was also something I wanted to do, but engineering was already hard in English and I didn't want to fall behind in my studies. When I finish early, I accepted a job offer in my field, but I knew that wasn't the move so I took a shot. I knew I enjoyed traveling and working with kids so I found a way to combine the two. Boom. Teaching abroad.
Through the global department at my school, I was connected to Academic Programs International. I found a program that fit my dates and what I wanted to do. I wasn’t dead set on going to a specific country or place and the best opportunity was in Turin, Italy. Being open minded and flexible can make a huge difference when traveling or living abroad. There are often dream locations or destinations at the top of our bucket lists, but there are so many hidden gems around the world just waiting to be explored. I completed my application, paid the fee and impatiently waited for it to be time to go 😩
Volunteering was definitely the right choice. I learned about classroom management, lesson planning, and countless other tools for teaching without having the weight and pressure of being a full-time teacher. My school and co-teachers were also extremely supportive and guided me through the process of becoming comfortable in the classroom. It was definitely a two way street between all of us through language and skill exchange. Three months was just enough time to fall in love with teaching abroad and life as an expat.
Getting a paying job teaching abroad is definitely possible, but volunteering first was HIGHLY beneficial for me. From gaining real life experience to getting to fully immerse myself in another culture, volunteering abroad opened my eyes to a new way of life. My time in Italy changed my life and lead me on a new career path. Teaching abroad was my life for three years and it all started with that first leap of faith in 2019.
Whether you’re looking for a semester abroad, a sabbatical with a purpose, gap year plans or a way to move abroad, add volunteer teaching to your list. I highly recommend. 10/10. 5 stars.