This blog is written by ISDA Member Valerie Fina.
Ciao my fellow Italian Americans!
I felt the need to share with you my story and recent experiences traveling Italy…
As most twenty-somethings do after graduating college, I really struggled with the idea of beginning a career that would encompass the majority of my time for the rest of my life. In fact, I found it quite daunting, and I honestly had no idea what in the world I was going to do.
I had a lot of interests and skills, but absolutely zero experience on paper and merely a bachelors degree in psychology (which essentially gets you….nowhere).
I ended up getting a job where I felt extremely overworked, underappreciated, unhappy, stuck, and restricted in terms of being able to utilize my creativity. I also strongly desired to explore myself as a person and to explore my Italian American roots.
I strongly desired to explore myself as a person and to explore my Italian American roots.
This past summer, I made the best decision of my life: To travel to Italy, in the most incredible way possible. I applied to become a tutor for English summer camps throughout Italy. The amazing company that provided me this opportunity is called A.C.L.E.
As an A.C.L.E. tutor you travel to different locations throughout Italy for 1 or 2 weeks at a time, running English language camps. Your food and accomodation is taken care of (as you stay with host families at each location).
Honestly, if you are looking to be immersed in Italian culture, this is the best way to do it. I was a tutor for 3 weeks at 3 different camps, which means I was lucky enough to be hosted by 3 different wonderful families. Each one took me in as their own and showed me a new piece of Italian culture and helped me discover a new piece of myself. I cried leaving each family (secretly of course), and then made sure to visit each and every one of them again after camps ended.
The wonderful thing about traveling in this way is that you meet SO many people who are open-minded and not only want to teach you things, but also want to learn things from you. It is such a beautiful and fulfilling exchange. I often tell people when describing my experiences in Italy that my heart feels so full because of all of the incredible people I’ve met who think similarly to me and inspire me in so many different ways.
I made the best decision of my life: To travel to Italy, in the most incredible way possible.
After a mere two months in Italy, thanks to A.C.L.E. and good friends I have met here, I have been able to visit Milan, Arma di Taggia, Sanremo, Florence, Rome, Ospedaletto Euganeo, Arqua Petrarca, Este, Monselice, Soave, Illasi, Verona, Torino, Crema, Ripalta Cremasca, Lake Garda, Lake Como, Lecco, and Sorico.
In all honesty, it is no exaggeration when I say that every city or small town I have visited has a unique historical charm. I am blown away by the beauty of this country. My life has been forever changed and enriched by this experience.
I was lucky enough to find a permanent job with A.C.L.E., and I currently reside in the beautiful town of Sanremo, located in the Italian Riviera. I am still in awe that this is my life now! I wholeheartedly believe that everyone who is able should participate in this experience. It is benefecial to all involved: The children learn and have tons of fun at summer camps, their parents are happy to see them become excited about learning English, the host families are ecstatic to meet people from different cultures, the tutors are happy to be making a difference (while also having a blast in Italy), and everyone is happy to be eating Italian food!
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