Today is my last full day in Italy and before I recap all that I have learned here, I first want to show you some of the amazing places I have had the opportunity to visit. On the top of my list were Rome, Florence and Venice. I was able to see these places and so much more!
While in Rome I was able to visit the typical tourist destinations such as the Colosseum, the Forum and the Palentine. I strolled through the Piazza Novona, was dazzled by the Pantheon and ate a fried onion in the Jewish Ghetto. I also spent hours strolling through the many museums in Vatican City before ending up in the amazing St. Peter's Basilica. I didn't get to climb to the top ... but you should if you go!
Florence was my favorite spot (up until I visited Venice). There is so much culture in Florence and the people are so warm and welcoming. It probably helped that the weekend I was there was the first few days of spring weather! So warm and so sunny! My favorite part of Florence was walking up to Piazza Michelangelo and enjoying a glass of wine with friends.
Siena is located just outside of Florence and is definitely worth seeing. While it certainly caters to tourists, the main piazza is so great it doesn't matter. While there, they had a live music show in the square one of the nights. There are also a lot of young people in Siena, making it a city I could easily relate to!
Siena is also located in the heart of Tuscany, and there was time for just a short ride to the beautiful countryside.
Other places I had the opportunity to visit:
- San Marino (a little city that is actually a separate state, not a part of Italy)
- Porto Recanati (Le Marche)
- Recanati (Le Marche)
- Loreto (Le Marche)
- Fermo (Le Marche)
- Carassai (Le Marche)
- Ascoli (Le Marche)
As you can see, teaching English here in Italy thanks to the Working Abroad Grant was an amazing opportunity to not only broaden my experience as an educator, but to travel and learn more about myself and the world around me. I had never been to Europe before this trip, nor had I taken on such a big adventure by myself!
As an educator I am always looking for new and innovative ways to educate my students. Here in Italy I was given the unique opportunity to teach an age group I would have otherwise never been familiar with. Back home I am an elementary school teacher, but here I worked only with high school students. This was a challenge at first as I think I was more nervous in front of them than they were in front of me.
One of the challenges I faced was getting the students to participate in class lessons. In Italy, the education system is very different from that of the United States, and I think for this reason, it took the students a little while before they became comfortable with the way I presented things.
Mostly, I found, they just wanted to hear me talk about New York. I took this as an opportunity to introduce them to articles and current events that would also introduce them to American culture. The older students found they really enjoy The New York Times...go figure! We read articles about pop culture, politics and education in the United States. The students loved this as it sparked conversation during which their questions and opinions were valued. I loved it!
The students were also so excited to share their culture with me. With each trip I took, I tried to do one thing recommended to me by a student. Recommendations included drinking wine at Piazza Michelangelo in Florence, eating a signature fish dish in Venice and strolling the boardwalk in Porto Recanati.