Andrea spent spring semester 2019 teaching English at the Instituto Maria Consolatrice as part of the English for Everybody program, a network of public schools in the provinces of Brescia, Italy, and Oxford, Bath, and Cardiff Universities. She recently completed her assigment, and writes about her experiences:
For the past three months, I have had the absolute pleasure of spending every day with the intelligent and kind-hearted students and staff of Istituto Maria Consolatrice, a joint elementary and middle school located in Sant’Omobono Terme, Italy.
After completing my undergrad a bit earlier than I had expected, I knew I wanted to take advantage of what would have been my final spring semester at UB. I learned that there were opportunities to teach English abroad and with my undergrad completed, I decided that spring 2019 would be the perfect time to apply for the English for Everybody program. English for Everybody is a program run by Professor Gianfranco Serioli where American and UK college students, with a BA in Italian, are sent to different schools throughout Northern Italy to teach English to children. Through this program I was paired up with IMC and my mentor at the school, Professor Francesco Salvador.
At the school, I had a weekly schedule where I spent a certain amount of time with each of the classes. My days were spent in the classrooms with the students, conversing with them and attempting to improve their English skills. I often planned English lessons for the students, sometimes alongside the other teachers. At first, the students found my American accent particular, sometimes even difficult to understand. After each day they became more comfortable with me, as I did with them. Having the opportunity to be able to watch the students learn and grow was truly amazing experience for me.
Professor Salvador, along with the rest of the IMC staff, made sure I felt welcome right from the beginning. They are a group of young, brilliant professors are passionate about teaching and constantly putting the children of their school first. Seeing firsthand how special the relationships between the students and teachers were made me realize that teaching may be a potential career for me in the future. I’m pleased to say that my time at IMC has led me to the decision to pursue an MA in education.
Aside from the school itself, a huge part of why my time in Italy was so special was because of my wonderful host family. From the first day we met, they have made me feel nothing but welcome in their home and community. They immediately made me feel as if I was a part of their family.
As my time here in Italy comes to an end, I can’t help but reflect on these last three months and feel so incredibly lucky to have had this experience. I could not have asked for a better school and family to have spent my time with. I now consider this tiny, close-knit community to be another home of mine. Throughout my time here I have made forever friends, gained new family members, and have developed a passion for helping students learn and achieve their goals.