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Tutor English To A Family In Italy

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • The School/Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Pay and Benefits

    N/A

  • Teacher Support

    7

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    7

Oh Italy

This was such a neat experience!! I really lucked out by having such an amazing family as a host!!
They were all so kind and welcoming and really went out of there way to show me the best of Italy. I also really enjoyed being placed in Northern Italy. I was close to Turino and Milano and the town I stayed in had so much character. Of course it is a bit strange staying with people you've JUST met and who don't speak the same language as you but you find ways to communicate just the same which is such an amazing part of this experience.

The lessons were definitely a touch challenging though as my student ended up being far more advanced in English than I anticipated. (His parents only knew a few words so when my student wasn't around we'd get creative with our communication). My student was in post secondary so I had to scrap a lot of the lessons plans and ideas I came prepared with because they were far to basic. Thank goodness I brought a laptop! If you have the means, I definitely recommend bringing a laptop or tablet to assist with your lesson plans. I found I did a lot of research trying to find activities for us to do that focused more on grammar than basic "every day" English. I used quite a bit of the materials provided by GeoVisions but even ran out of those sooner than expected so I had to source other free lessons and ideas online too. I also found the language app/game Duolingo to be quite helpful. It's a great language program (and free!) and having a native speaker go through it with you adds another element. I had a basic knowledge of written Italian so when we'd get stuck on a phrase or word, between my english and my student's Italian, we could find the answer. So that was really cool!!

I hope my student was happy with our lessons. I do wish I was more prepared for that aspect. It's one thing to speak it everyday, it's another to teach someone the nuances of grammar when one doesn't think of them in their every day speech. I also found myself brushing up on the specifics of grammar as well so that I could better explain the rules and irregularities of English.

Outside of our lessons, my student would also take me out with his friends which was great! We'd go for coffee in the square on weeknights and out for dinner and drinks on the weekend. His friends are wonderful and it was so nice having a good social network out there.

As mentioned at the beginning, the whole family was just the greatest. They took me on a few day trips to Venice, Florence, Milano, and the coast and were just so proud of their country (as well they should be). I even went out on a few excursions of my own to Milano and Turino. The Trenitalia platform announcer is engrained in my brain now having gone on so many train rides around that region. And they were so generous at the house too. They always made sure to have breakfast items on hand, and made the best meals for lunch and dinner. I felt a bit out of sorts not being able to help out in the kitchen though I offered many times.

GeoVisions was easy to get a hold of too not that I needed to much after I was on my way. The application process was great and everyone who I spoke with via phone and email was really kind and helpful. The only delay I found was in getting access to the lesson materials and once I had them I didn't know where to begin. Maybe mine was a unique situation because my student was more advanced but it would have been nice to have a bit more direction with how to make the best use of the guides provided. And of course I was super nervous travelling across the globe to stay with a family I'd never met before. But thanks to GeoVisions for scoping out a great family for me to stay with! I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did. All in all, it was a fantastic experience and if you're reading this and wondering if you should go for it.....you totally should. It was an amazing way to travel and really get to know a culture outside of North America with such a personal touch.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Teacher Support

    10

  • Pay and Benefits

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • The School/Placement

    9

Can be tough, but worth it.

I have done lots of traveling and it's been great, I've experienced many cultures in Italy. I think it's very rewarding, and can be tough at times, but so worth it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

2 Months Not Enough Time!

I am on the program now and wanted to write that things are going really well here, I couldn't be happier with my placement!

The family is so friendly and accommodating and the kids are adorable. The tutoring is very informal, mostly I go with my host mother to pick up my host brother and sister from school, then spend time with them in the afternoon and evening and help with any English homework they have.

I'm really happy to be in Rome, it's a huge city with so much to see! I don't know now if two months will be enough :)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • The School/Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Pay and Benefits

    10

  • Teacher Support

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Time Flies When You Are Having A Great Time

In a flash, I'm going to conclude my time with my host family in another week. I have been doing Conversation Corps Italy. For me, this is a better way of getting myself immersed into local cultures.

I came to Europe over a decade ago as a tourist and upon finishing my visit, I felt something's missing. Then, I returned to Europe again but this time as a backpacker. Armed with Lonely Planet books and deluded with a sense of invincibility, I started to do the backpacking scene but after a while, I felt that something's still missing inside.

Whilst it's true to a certain degree that backpacking provides you with an opportunity to meet myriads of people from different countries and from different way-of-life, after a while, you would identify that there's also a pattern associated with it: drinking, late night, irresponsible behaviours.

Then, I decided to volunteer myself to stay with local families for a while and I would like to see Europe from their perspectives. With this particular type of travelling, my host family's priority comes first. My travel comes secondary.

If you were lucky enough to be placed with caring and emphatic host families, you would realise that the mutual respect attribute would benefit both parties. By placing yourself with host families also meant that you are relinquishing control and that you are embracing the unknown. For me, this provides me with an opportunity to learn to adapt to handle myself in trying circumstances.

Also, if you were being good listeners, you would get tips from host families to go places that are not even mentioned in Lonely Planet books. There seems to be local scene versus the traveller's scene, which I appreciate immensely.

Italy holds a special place in my heart for some inexplicable reasons. Somehow, I find Italian's appreciation of beauty, their grounded humility and sincerity, their total devotion to their family, their intuition with their food and drinks are simply admirable.

My host family has given me all of that and more! I think the most touching of all is that they give me this opportunity to come to grasp of what it meant to be Italian. I also found that there won't ever be any clean break. Somehow, we grew attached to each other. After this volunteering session is over, I would make my way to visit my two other host families in Italy and France, who I have also come to know as friends. They even proclaimed me to be their brother from another mother!

This type of volunteering may not be suitable for everybody. That being said, if you were genuinely curious and inquisitive, and that you want to give (rather than take), then, this program is definitely something that you should look at seriously. I would like to think that once you give enough, the rewards would present themselves one way or the other. I am utterly blessed to be a part of this program and I am immensely joyful to share my experience to the readers out there.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • The School/Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Pay and Benefits

    10

  • Teacher Support

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The Best Way To See "Italy"

Excellent experience for both host & myself. I would do it again!

I only hope My host got as much out of it as I did. Key - I left her with resources to continue practicing her English.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • The School/Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Pay and Benefits

    10

  • Teacher Support

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

All In All A Good Experience

My host family was very accommodating. They were quite patient with my almost non existent Italian. My host mom was the only one in the family who spoke at a level I could have a conversation with. So if I had it to do over I would probably want to learn the language a bit better so I could have a better idea what they're saying and contribute to the conversation. The kids seemed to enjoy the games I brought along for the most past, although it was hard to compete with the Adriatic Sea.

The highlight of the trip was the many dinners they took me to with their friends and extended family. They took me to several restaurants and insisted on paying for everything. I think that's probably above and beyond what was expected in the program. They also took me to many parties and always tried to introduce me to their friends that spoke better English.

All in all, a good experience. I'm glad I did it, but I would advise anyone entering the program to try and learn as much of the native language as you can.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • The School/Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Pay and Benefits

    10

  • Teacher Support

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Incredible Experience

This program set me up with the best resources and the right family. They were more than helpful in the application process and were there for me the whole time. I knew I was in good hands.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Go With The North

I'm an older participant and was worried that GeoVisions was too geared for the younger crowd. I was pleasantly surprised at how eager Marybeth was to have me in the program and she placed me in Northern Italy, with a great family. They offered to include me on a lot of things they did, but I also wanted my own time to explore Italy and be on my own.

If you're older and you want to do this program, GeoVisions will take you. Just make sure you're upfront with your host family in the beginning that while you want to be there with them, you might take off for a few weekends and go off on your own. It also provides some needed space between you and the family.

The kids I tutored thought of me as their Grandpa, and that was fine with me. I always felt included and I highly recommend the experience for an older crowd, not just a younger one.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Absolutely Wonderful

Since I have done a month abroad in the past, I am very aware that the experience can be wonderful or disastrous. In this situation, it has been absolutely wonderful. From the moment of my arrival, my host has done everything possible to make me feel at home. She is very competent in all matters of housekeeping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. therefore, I always felt very comfortable and cared for. She has been very willing to share her culture with me and made my stay here very interesting. She is also a very good student. I feel that we have accomplished a lot in my time here.

Also, my host is a very caring and loving person. She has always taken into consideration the fact that I am old enough to be her mother, and has been very patient with my health issues. I can't say enough good about her. GeoVisions did such an excellent job of matching me with her. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to get to know her and her father, and I wish for many wonderful and amazing things to come her way as a result of her desire and effort to learn English.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Oh Goodness The Food

Well my program was truly amazing! I loved every minute of it, loved the town I was in, the family and oh goodness the food. I got to better my Italian and learn some dialect as well, I left family there when I came back :).

Aside from teaching the two boys, I got to volunteer at a local elementary school and made amazing friends there. :) during my free time I also got to travel around and took sooo many pictures ...

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • The School/Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Pay and Benefits

    10

  • Teacher Support

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

What A Memory GeoVisions Gave Me

I am half way thru my stay here in Italy and can not thank GeoVisions enough for placing me here. The family is wonderful and I do believe we will be friends for a life time. The children are so sweet and their mom said I am teaching them a lot. Perhaps I should have been a teacher in life and not a construction worker. LOL

I have been able to see Florence and next week I take a train to Rome for a couple of days. Just thinking like that is kind of beyond words and I truely love Italy. What a memory your GeoVisions gave me. The entire staff has been wonderful.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

I Want To Move To Italy

I had a great time. I felt so lucky to be placed with a family like the one I had. Things couldn't have gone any better. I felt like a part of the family and enjoyed all my time with them. I had chances to travel to a few places myself and with them also. The family said they prefer to learn English mostly through conversation and the cultural exchange process, although I sat with my host brother everyday for about an hour to work with him out of a workbook. I have developed such a great connection and relationship with everyone in the family and wish I could have stayed here forever. I also love Italy so much that I want to move there! Thank you, GeoVisions, for all your help coordinating this.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Teacher Support

    10

  • Pay and Benefits

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • The School/Placement

    10

My Stay Was Flawless

I had the time of my life. I am impressed with GeoVisions. I spoke to other women in Italy who were doing the same program as I am, only they went through other organizations. I could not believe the lack of support they received from their program. On the flip side, my stay was flawless. Also, I now have a friend who is signing up for the same program simply because I cannot say enough positive things about my experience. I highly recommend this program with GeoVisions.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    7

Change of Pace

I had an unbelievable time living in Rome for 2 months with my host family. I was able to immerse myself in Italian culture and live freely while getting my feet wet in teaching English. These two months were the best of my life and I will always remember this journey! I also still stay in contact with my family and I hope to be able to see them soon!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • The School/Placement

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Pay and Benefits

    8

  • Teacher Support

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

My experience with the Walk and Talk in Italy

La dolce vita is real! That is all I have to say about my wonderful 3 months in Italy. It was by far the best experience I have had to date. During this time, I grew in ways I could not imagine possible and met a lot of beautiful souls along the way. If you are wondering if you should take the gamble and do something out of the ordinary like this, the answer is a million times YES!

I searched for many different opportunities that would bring me to this beautiful country and Geovisions had the perfect program for me. I decided I wanted to partake in the Walk and Talk program with them because it was part-time au pairing and part-time tutoring and they had great reviews. I have heard many wishy washy stories about au pairing because sometimes all isn’t as it seems. You never really know what type of family you will have until you arrive. This program felt more like a gurantee that I would have some freedom during my stay and the family would be on the same page as I am. It also felt a lot safer because everything done is through an agency. When I got there I was put into contact with their sister agency, who made the process of easing into a new culture a lot smoother.

The family I was paired with was absolutely amazing! Very welcoming and respectful. I had the pleasure of tutoring and au pairing two lovely boys age 10 and 15, sweetest boys I have ever met. It was an absolute joy to get to know them and experience life the way they do. In Italy family is very important, so we had dinner together every evening unless I had plans or vice versa. It was a great balance of work and play! Also living so close to Milan was a plus.

They give you access to ESL tutoring supplies and you create the lessons yourself. It isn't bad and its pretty easy to just go a long in order. Although i did run out of material it wasn't hard to come up with assignments!

Finding this program was one of the best things that I have done because now I have an idea of where I want my future to lie and that is in Italy. My experience there thanks to
Geovisions was so great that I have been invited back to stay with my host family another three months to continue teaching them, which I will be doing in the next few weeks.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Great Memories For A Life Time!

I couldn't have asked for better! They were really understanding with my travel arrangements because I got sick before getting to Italy. They were friendly and accommodating , they really made me feel like one of the family. Can't wait to hang out with them again, either in Italy or Australia. Definitely recommend the whole experience, except it is harder for Australians then USA with organizing details due to time difference.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

A Great Experience, But I'm Not Sure How Much Of This Is Shaped By Geo Visions Themselves

I had a wonderful experience in Italy. The family was great, and I really enjoyed the entire thing. I must admit that Geo visions were fantastic: the matched me with a family on short notice, and they would respond and help quickly and with ease, and the always seemed there to support you. One thing I should really point out though is that it is really you and the family you're placed with that shapes the programme. In this regard it is a hefty price for what they do, which is essentially match you with someone. But, you most likely won't get a better price anywhere else. And, also, I like the fact that they don't interfere as it makes everyone's programme unique.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

Throwing Myself Into The Deep End and Emerging a Better Individual

Italy holds a special place in my heart. I have visited Italy countless of times but I know that I never wanted to be just a tourist. I want Italy to be my friend, my lover, my confidante, my soul mate. I don't want Italy to be just an acquaintance. To be able to stay in Rome, the Eternal City is a dream comes true for me. I want to take things easy, to live an ordinary existence, to be able to feel the pulse and rhythm of an ordinary Roman life. At the same time, I also would like to be sure that by the time I leave Rome, my host family would have a firmer grasp of English. I am matched with the Gabrielli family. This case is more challenging than my previous postings because the Gabrielli speaks not a single word of English. So, how am I able to communicate with a family who speaks only Italian whilst I only speak English? Thankfully, with advent of technology (WiFi in this instance) and Google Translate, the gap is bridged. Upon seeing the children under my care, Tiziano and Alice, my heart melts as I have a son of the same age. Alessia (the mother) and Silvano (the father) bond with me immediately. The Gabrielli family is very warm and genuine. Three minutes driving to my host family's abode, the whole family starts to talk to me simultaneously. Despite that I say to them earlier that I only speak "Piccolo Inglis", they continue on in Italian anyway with a lot of hand gestures. I say to myself that, it's going to be a very full-on experience in Rome. That thinking is prophetic indeed. Eating is a chore for the children and every day, there will be fight of immense proportion to get them to eat. Somehow, I have become the peace maker to mediate between the parents and the children. Then, there's the challenge of getting the children to switch off from watching their favourite TV programs and to practice English with me instead. English curriculumn in schools in Italy is getting better but nowhere robust enough to enable Italian to become proficient in English. I encourage the Gabrielli family to make good use of Internet and library to source English DVDs and reading materials for the children. In the end, it is obvious that the parents are more eager to learn English than their children. By the time I leave the family, the parents are able to converse basic English sentences with me whilst I am able to speak some basic Italian sentences. In the daytime, when the children have gone to school and the parents have gone to work, I use my spare time to do house cleaning for them. I do laundry for them and sometimes, in the evening, Alessia will compete with me of who would get the iron first to press the clothing. Silvano is very good in making home-made pizza. On weekends, they would take me out to the City Centre and sometimes, to the Vatican City to do Sunday Mass. Whenever opportunity presents itself, we would sneak into a coffee shop to have our shot of espresso and brioche. Silvano and Alessia have been wonderful in helping me to plan my day trip. They have been rather upset when I am mugged in the subway but that could happen anywhere in the world. Furthermore, a few elderly Italian ladies are fending me off from the muggers in the subway, which touches me immensely. Need I say more that soccer is very much imbedded in Italian culture? Tiziano is very proud of his soccer club and he always wants me to watch him playing soccer. On weekends, Silvano and his son would be screaming, yelling, thumping their chests whenever their beloved Roman team wins and their apartment would be as silent as a morgue whenever their team got beaten. I leave Rome with fond memories of gracious but expressive Romans, Romans who wear their emotions on their sleeves; Romans who are understandably proud of their Roman heritage and culture; Romans who are saddened by the aftermath of global recession and yet, that doesn't undermine their dignity and they keep on living their lives in the best way that they could; Romans who have taken me into their homes, sharing their values, families and friends with me unconditonally and the list continues. Being a volunteer is not actually taking advantage of cheaper boarding but in actual fact, it's about immersing ourselves into whole new culture and new way-of-life. This helps us in developing empathy and having a wider perspective and understanding of a very diverse world. This also nurtures our appreciation for new interests, making us more patient, having a keener eye in details for problem solving. All and all, we become a better and richer individual. I come to the Gabrielli's family in the name of friendship but I leave the family as one of its family members. It's not if but when I am going to return to Rome to be reunited with the Gabrielli again. I am utterly blessed and privileged. This may not necessarily work for everyone but with a positive state of mind, I sincerely believe that you shall have the time of your life by not having any expectation but simply throwing yourself into the deep end without asking why.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • The School/Placement

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Pay and Benefits

    8

  • Teacher Support

    8

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    8

Great match!

GeoVisions matched me with a wonderful couple in Italy. They were my age with no kids, and we became fast friends. I had no issues during my placement that warranted intervention from GV. Everyone was very professional and helpful in getting me set up for Italy.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Community Impact

    6

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    4

Conversation Core

Overall, this was a very cultural experience. It was difficult for me to settle in because I am not used to not going out and seeing new things and being very active, but I am grateful for the lesson in sit and stay and just relax in what it is. It was nice to live with a family and experience their life style and customs. The food situation was difficult for me because I eat very healthy and high protein meals, so sometimes I had to go out on my own and buy my own food. I'm glad I did it and felt like I was helpful and a part of something.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    6

  • Program Administration

    4

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Viva Italia!

At age 55, I finally became the exchange student I always wanted to be. Only at this age, I was the teacher. The total submersion into the Italian culture and schools was a very rewarding experience for me. I have made friends for life, I stay in touch with my students, and I can't wait to do this again. I was treated like royalty at the schools. The students were always smiling and happy when I walked into the classroom. They looked forward to their English lessons when I was their teacher.

My families always included me in all activities (I had two families) and made sure my comfort was a priority. They seemed genuinely happy to have me in their homes (there were tears shed when leaving my first family).

Although I was matched with wonderful families, I expected more academic direction from GeoVisions. I was able to take the bull by the horns and figure out a "teaching" program for my students with the assistance from the local teachers. I think GeoVisions should prepare its volunteers with where to find materials and how to use them to their best advantage. Being an older volunteer and having never taught, it took me a couple of weeks to get in the groove. I feel my first students did not get the best out of me.

I had the wonderful opportunity to stay with two different families (it was a new program in the area where I was assigned and families were hesitant. Now, there are all eager to have a volunteer!) My families made sure to include me in all activities and to show me around their towns and nearby communities. We went to local festivals and local sites. I felt like I knew how Italians live by the time I left.

Both homes made sure my comfort was a priority. Coming from the land of internet availability, it took some time to figure out my connectivity in Italy.

It took a few weeks for me to figure out a program for my students, but once I got the hang of it it was smooth sailing. As I pointed out below, more direction for new GeoVision volunteers from GeoVisions would be very helpful.