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Do you have a passion for exploring local cultures?
Are you Interested in teaching abroad during the summer?
Is English your native language?
For two summers, I had the incredible opportunity to work for ACLE, teaching English in Italy to schoolchildren throughout the country. This life-changing experience is an excellent chance to spend a summer in Italy, working with people from all over the world.
Whether you’re looking to apply to ACLE for next summer, or just want to learn more, keep reading!
What is ACLE?
ACLE, which stands for Accademia Culturale Linguistica Educational, is an Italian foundation that enriches English education in Italian schools through dynamic games, activities, and theatre.
After completing Orientation and at least three weeks of teaching, you receive a certification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language Through Theater and Play (TEFL.TP).
Questions about Teaching English in Italy with ACLE
- Do you need to know Italian? You do not need to know Italian. Since this is an English camp, everyone is encouraged to only communicate in English.
- Can I work for ACLE if English is my second language? Unfortunately, they require tutors to be native English speakers.
- Do you need to be a citizen of the EU? You don’t need to be a citizen of the EU to participate in ACLE’s program! However, be mindful of your visa requirements and restrictions.
- Do you need a TEFL or TESOL certification before applying? You do not need a TEFL or TESOL certification to apply.
- Do you stay in the same city the whole time you’re in Italy? Each camp lasts between one and three weeks, allowing you to travel all over the country, depending on how long you can teach for!
- Do you work every single week of the summer? You can, but you don’t have to! You can request time off to travel, or ACLE might decide to grant you a week off, depending on their camps’ needs.
What You Can Expect From Your ACLE Experience
- You’ll develop leadership skills through classroom teaching and all-camp activities
- You’ll get to expand your creativity by organizing games, singing songs, and directing performances.
- You’ll be introduced to local Italian culture
- You’ll see incredible cities that are off the major tourist routes, exposing you to their history and customs
- You’ll eat incredible regional cuisine
- You’ll make international friendships and learn the value of WhatsApp (if you didn’t know already)
- You’ll go home with lifelong memories
The Application Process and Orientation
To begin your journey of teaching English in Italy with ACLE, first, you need to complete an online application. This is your chance to showcase your experiences and why you’d be a great fit as a tutor for their summer season. If you are moved past the initial application, you’ll receive a Distance Learning Course as a second round. Finally, they’ll review all aspects of your application to decide if you’re accepted as a tutor for the summer.
Your first week in Italy is Orientation, where you’ll be staying with the other new tutors, being trained on ACLE’s teaching methods and curriculum. Since all native English speakers are eligible, you’ll have the opportunity to work with tutors from all over the world.
After the Orientation week, you can be sent anywhere in the country to tutor for camp. ACLE’s camps range from the border of Italy and Switzerland to the tip of Sicily and everywhere in between. You need to spend a minimum of three weeks teaching to complete the certification. Since your teaching hours go towards earning the certification, you’re paid in study grants.
ACLE has camps almost every week of the summer from early June through mid-September. If you decide to stay the full season, you can spend the entire summer teaching English in Italy and exploring the most unbelievable towns throughout the country.
While you can’t request where in the country you want to go, I was never disappointed by the towns I was sent to. From big cities like Rome to small villages in Tuscany’s hills, each town is filled with its own unique history. You truly experience the country from a local’s perspective.
Tutoring at Camp
Once you pass Orientation, you’ll be on your way to camp! It’s a genuinely life-changing experience. Italian children are bright, curious, and funny–they make the camp experience profound.
A day in the life of an ACLE tutor usually begins a half-hour before camp opens for the day. This is your time to prep the day’s lessons, games, and all-camp activities with the other tutors. Once the students arrive, you start with an all-camp warm-up circle, singing songs and playing games. After, you have two sessions in the morning where you work on English language concepts. Finally, your afternoons are for all camp activities and rehearsing your final show. Once the campers leave for the day, you’re on to planning the next with your co-tutors.
At the end of the camp term, parents are invited for a camp-wide Final Show. Each class will perform a skit, a song, or play a film they recorded, demonstrating the English skills they learned throughout the week. It’s such a fun evening, the students are so proud to show off their newly acquired English.
Living and Traveling in Italy with ACLE
Most of the time, you’ll live with host families of students you’re teaching. Staying with a host family is an exciting experience. Almost every week, you’re with a new family, and you don’t know who you’re living with until you arrive. Since most of the time you’ll stay with the family in their home, ACLE requires that host families have a private room for tutors to stay in.
Most families who take in a tutor are eager to meet you and excited about furthering their English. Some families wait all year to host a tutor. They look forward to showing you their city from a local perspective.
Since you’re traveling to new places just about every week, I found it best to use a hiking backpack. You’ll be doing most of your travel between camps on trains or buses, and trying to maneuver a suitcase each week is exhausting. ACLE gives you two T-shirts as your “camp uniform,” and your host families know you need to do laundry, so you can pack pretty lightly for everyday clothes.
On off-weeks, you can take advantage of the time to travel; however, the only stipulation is that you’ll need to get yourself to your next camp location. Otherwise, ACLE pays for all of your travel around the country from camp to camp.
My Experience with ACLE Review
Traveling Italy and teaching English in Italy with ACLE absolutely changed my life. Working in schools, becoming exposed to all facets of local Italian culture, and making friends along the way, guided many of my choices since leaving my last camp. Without those opportunities, I might not have had the fortitude or courage to move to New York City, work as a professional actor, or become a tour guide.
Every moment of the experience is worthwhile–if you’re thinking about applying, you won’t regret it.
Do you have any questions about teaching English in Italy with ACLE?