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Teach English in a Homestay in Italy with Greenheart Travel
Greenheart Travel participant Greenheart Travel participant

Teach English in a Homestay in Italy with Greenheart Travel

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Compensation & Benefits

    N/A

  • Support Services

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Community

    10

The experience of a lifetime in Sicily

I know the title is cliche, but it's true! If you are reading this, wondering whether or not to take the jump... just do it. I promise that you won't regret it! I truly appreciate the help of the program managers in preparing me to the best of their abilities for what would come before, during, and after the experience. They made sure I was physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for the experience. The attention to detail in the selection process for my host family was evident as soon as I arrived in Sicily and got to know my family. Although Sicily was my last choice of placement (strictly due to the ease of travel), I was placed with a family there. They were an absolutely perfect match, and are like true family now! Greenheart Travel truly looked at my preferences, and told me that they knew this was best. They remained in contact with me throughout the entire process, and gave me outlets to share my experience! I was able to blog for the agency, and network with other members of the agency. The entire program was wonderful, and I suggest going through Greenheart to do such an experience. Their approach to travel is what I appreciated most, and it impacted how I went about teaching English and living my life in Sicily. I lived with a family in Ragusa, Sicily. Ragusa is absolutely beautiful, and I felt more safe in this town than I do in my hometown. Both the province and town have rich history, and everything you would want in a visit to Italy. My host family was more than accommodating, and better than I could have imagined. Personally, I was there to primarily teach the mother of the family, but I truly ended up teaching an entire community. I lived in a family with a mother, father, and 4 year old daughter. Of course, all of the family members learned English from me. Anytime that I would be in public and speaking with my family, I would have total strangers ask to practice English with me! It is a highly valued skill to non-native speakers, and Ragusa doesn't have many English speaking tourists. I taught much more than 15 hours a week, usually more than 15 hours a day! My family was a perfect match for me, and I tried to savor every moment with them. I spent so much time "teaching" (it didn't feel like teaching) because of my personal approach to this experience. My approach to teaching English was to make it as applicable and conversational as possible. Language learners cannot have this experience through a classroom setting or studying from a book, so that was I sought to offer them. My host family encouraged me to travel once or twice while in Sicily, so I chose to travel once. It was perfect for a two month time frame. Greenheart emphasized this to me, so I'll emphasize it to you having done this experience - Do NOT do this experience to use your family as a place to stay while you can travel. These families truly consider you a part of their family and want to make the most of this experience. Value what they are doing for you, and what they give up to have you in their home. Spend every moment that you can with them, and clearly communicate your hopes for travels while staying with them. My best overall advice to anyone considering a program with Greenheart Travel is to consider your heritage. Try to choose a program (if it's a place that you're interested in traveling to), that is a country of origin for your family. It is a great opportunity to not only learn about your family, but also about yourself. I have a lot of Sicilian heritage, so I feel that my experience was even more meaningful and that I learned about myself. Teaching English abroad is an incredibly rewarding experience, and I will continue to share my stories of teaching abroad for the rest of my life.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Compensation & Benefits

    5

  • Support Services

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Community

    10

Best Experience of My Life So Far!

I want to say a big, genuine, and heartfelt "thank you" for all the personal touches that Megan (my program manager) & the Greenheart Travel team gave me. My experience in Sicily on the homestay program was transformative and it is, without a doubt, the best experience I have had in my life thus far. I was not prepared to be so fully embraced by my host family and their friends. They took me on every outing, and I celebrated their birthdays, and other special occasions with them. Everything about my time spent there exceeded my expectations and I returned to Canada firmly believing that the world is full of wonderful people and that traveling is the best way to learn about ourselves and the world around us.

When they were dropping me off at the airport and I was saying my last goodbyes, one of the members of the family typed a message for me into the Google Translate app on his phone (yes, google translator is truly a wonderful thing!) He wrote, "Always remember you are a member of our family now," which of course, made me cry (whoops).

I think this pretty much sums up what my month was like for me in Sicily. Greenheart Travel not only gave me an experience to travel, to meet new people, to teach English and to learn another language- you also gave me, in a way, another family half a world away that I will cherish always. I can only hope other members who have completed this homestay program have had as much luck as I did with this experience, and I look forward to members from my Sicilian family coming to visit me and my family this summer in Toronto.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Community

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Support Services

    9

  • Compensation & Benefits

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Host School or Placement

    10

My Homestay in Sicily is Great!

I am adjusting very well the family and we are already so close. They are amazing, the girls (my host sisters!) already know a bit of English and I understand Italian so the lessons are going really well. We have done so many amazing things on the weekends already. Everyday is a new adventure. Sicily is so beautiful!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Compensation & Benefits

    5

  • Support Services

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Community

    9

Falling In Love With Italy

My host family is fantastic, and they've already taken me around to see some great places in the nearby countryside. Rural Italy is so beautiful, I'm happy I'm not placed in a big city. I've also been able to take one of the family's bikes out during the days and explore the nearby town. The adjustment and culture shock was pretty easy for me, and I really love Italy now. Thanks for making this all possible!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Compensation & Benefits

    N/A

  • Support Services

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Community

    10

My job in Italy was very fulfilling!

The best part of the program to me was being part of a family and community that truly wanted me there. Although, I believe a session to brainstorm lesson plans and activities in the school would be helpful (during orientation). Especially for those who have never taught before. Savannah and everyone from Greenheart was so helpful and passionate about this project. You really do have a support system to help guide you every step of the way!!!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Compensation & Benefits

    N/A

  • Support Services

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Community

    10

A fantastic experience

Living in Italy for 3 months was a fantastic experience! Learning to make gnocchi and ragù sauce from the grandmother of one of my host families was certainly awesome, but the best part would be all the people I met and new friends I made who come from all around the world. A big thank you to Greenheart Travel for helping to make it all possible!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Host School or Placement

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Compensation & Benefits

    N/A

  • Support Services

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    9

  • Community

    8

Good experience overall

Overall, my experience on this program was pretty good. It was very relaxed and flexible and my language skills definitely improved. I enjoyed getting to know my host family and experiencing life in Varese, Italy. I would recommend that future participants do as much as they can to learn the local language before you go - especially as regards speaking! It will make a real difference in your experience.

I think one way the program could be improved in the future is to clarify expectations. While the unstructured nature of the program allows for flexibility (which is nice), it didn't feel as though the local coordinator had had any real conversations with my host family as to what to expect, so the first few weeks were a bit stressful. I suppose that’s normal with exchange programs because it’s an adjustment, but it might be worthwhile having some sort of form which host family and guests could read/work through early on in the placement to articulate expectations on both sides!