Want to work in Italy without a visa? No problem!
The universe (and one awesome company) is providing you with a way to work in the land of pizza, pasta, and wine that’s both easy and legal. All food, transport, and accommodation is also paid for, and did I mention you get paid?
I know it sounds too good to be true (I thought that same thing), but it’s not. It’s very real, you can apply right now, and I’ve answered a bunch of questions you might have:
What is this magical company and what’s the job?
ACLE (Associazione Culturale Linguistica Educational) is basically an organisation designed to teach kids English through movement and play.
It’s a non-profit organisation endorsed by the Italian Ministry of Education, and it’s popular throughout the country because Italian schools largely operate on a rote learning system (where the teacher stands at the front of a large class and dictates and the kids have to memorise everything), and ACLE don’t follow that model. This means even though the kids are technically at summer school, they choose to go to camp and love it because they feel like they’re playing games all day.
So in a nutshell, the job is to play games with Italian kids all day and teach them English.
Do I need to speak Italian?
No! And if you can speak Italian, you’re encouraged not to so the kids have an immersive experience.
I hate kids…
ACLE gives you the option of teaching primary school students (ages six-14) or high school students (ages 14-17), so it’s not a huge deal if you’re a non-kid kinda person.
Do I need teaching experience?
One of the best parts of this company is that they teach you everything you need to know at the orientation program, and you come out the other side with a TEFL-TP certificate. Sure, it helps to have experience with kids, but it’s not a requirement. Even if you’re a teacher in your hometown, the teaching strategies and lesson plans at ACLE are probably really different to what you’re used to. The only real requirement is that English is your first language, or you have to be so fluent in English no one would know it's your second language.
How much do I get paid?
Payment depends on the amount of time you teach for, and whether you’re a returning tutor (returning tutors get paid more). If you only do the introductory course (one week of training, three weeks of teaching), you get €520. If you continue on after those four weeks, you get €220 per week up to week 10. After that the pay goes up by month, but you can take a look at the chart.
What's the accommodation?
You stay with Italian families throughout your time with ACLE, which makes for a very authentic cultural experience. The families cook for you, pack you lunch, give you a bedroom in their home, treat you as part of their family, and show you everything they love about their country – it's a very unique and eye-opening thing to be a part of.
What do I have to pay for?
You could theoretically spend the whole summer at ACLE and hardly pay for anything, minus a few important things:
Getting there: Your flights to and from Italy, and transport to orientation.
Orientation: This costs €200 because you’re being trained, the people training you are being paid, and all food and accommodation is covered. Given that you make €520 after three weeks of teaching, it’s still a pretty good deal. You also only have to do orientation once, even if you return the year after, so it’s a one-off payment.
Holidays: If you want to have a week off to explore Italy, you have to pay for transport from your last camp to your holiday destination, along with food and accommodation during that time, and ACLE will pay for transport from a major Italian city to your next camp.
Things you want: Sometimes tutors go out for a drink or gelato after school or on the weekends, and it’s not really fair to ask your host families to pay for that, so it’s always good to have cash on-hand.
Insurance: For legal reasons, you need to have travel health insurance for the duration of your time with ACLE.
Why don't I need a visa?
You can work in Italy without a visa because ACLE is classified as a distance learning course, so the money you receive isn’t pay for the work you’re doing, it’s a study grant – you’re not required to get a working visa because you’re technically not working.
Most English-speaking countries can work in Italy without a visa with because they have an agreement with Italy (and all areas within the Schengen Agreement) allowing you to enter the country for 90 days as a tourist – this means everyone from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S can teach with ACLE for a maximum of 90 days, and if you’re from Ireland or the UK you’re free to work all summer (pending Brexit). If you’re from South Africa, you will need to apply for a 90-day tourist visa (ACLE will give you a letter to help your application).
How long can I work with ACLE for?
You have to teach for a minimum of three weeks, but you can teach for the whole of summer if you like (June-September), so it’s really flexible.
If you’re teaching for more than a month, you can opt for a week off and get back in to it the following week, so during that time you’re free to explore Italy as long as you make it to your next camp by the weekend before it starts. You don’t get paid for the time you take off, but if you’re pretty skint, ACLE own property in Bajardo and Castel San Giorgio that you can stay in free of charge, and they’ll provide you with food.
How do I apply?
There are a few steps to the application process (ACLE are recruiting random international people to teach children and live peacefully with whole families – they need to filter you to confirm you're not a psychopath), but they explain it really well once your initial application formis accepted.
Why should I join ACLE?
Short answer: It's so much fun!
Long answer: You get a fully immersive Italian experience that you can't get anywhere else. Camps can be in really remote areas of the country that travellers don't get to see, and you get to live with families in those locations and eat what they eat, go where they go, and live the way they live. Expenses are paid, you get paid, and you meet other tutors from all over the world every week – it's the experience of a lifetime.
So that's it! That's how you work in Italy without a visa, and I'd recommend it to anyone. I met some incredible people, stayed with some wonderful families, had experiences I'll never forget, and I can't wait to go back one year!