4 Things I Didn’t Expect When I Volunteered to Teach in Italy


This past summer, I volunteered to teach in Italy through GeoVisions and lived with my host family to help them learn English. When I was there, I wrote about what it was like to be an English language teacher in Italy through 6 inspirational quotes about traveling. 

It has been a few months since I got back to my life as a teacher in the U.S. and I still think it was the best decision I made this summer. It was definitely priceless! 

So much so, I want to do it again next summer. Here are four things I did not know were going to happen while I was there. 

1. Feeling like I was part of the family 

Have you ever felt so comfortable in a new place that you feel you have been there before? It does not happen often for me but that’s exactly how I felt when I got to Porto San Giorgio, Fermo. My host family treated me like family, we would sit at the table at 1pm for lunch and 8:30pm for dinner every single day. It felt like family and I still miss the conversations, the food and most importantly, the company. 

I was never treated like a foreigner, it felt like I was visiting relatives, and on one of those days, my birthday came up and that brings me to the next point. 

Blue Cave Croatia2. Celebrating my birthday in Croatia

When I told my host family that my birthday was that month, they were very excited. It turned out I was at the right place at the right time, and my birthday aligned perfectly with a yearly family trip to Croatia via the Adriatic Sea. 

Croatia was amazing! We went island hoping everyday and went to the blue cave in the island of Bisevo.

3. Meeting another teacher

GeoVisions helped me connect with another language tutor in the area. Not only was it fun to meet Maranda, she was also a teacher in the U.S. and we shared a lot of the same interests. We shared ideas on lessons for our Italian students, shared our experiences and enjoyed a day exploring the towns nearby by train. It was definitely a learning experience for both of us. We now have plans to visit each other soon and travel together again!

4. Inspiring the next generation to travel  Volunteered to Teach in Italy

I am sure my students will tell you that Ms.Suarez loves to travel, she has been to many countries and loves languages. My classroom got a makeover this year and now when my students enter my classroom, they see maps everywhere, itineraries instead of schedules,flags, globes  and a place to share where they would like to travel and where they’ve been. 

Many of them have surprised me by bringing souvenirs to our classroom. They love to share stories of family trips around the country and international vacations. I feel this experience has not only inspired me, it has motivated my students to see the world in a different way. 

~Juliana