When is the best time for me to submit my application?
The best time to start is the early fall (September/October) when Italy's school year begins and the demand for English tutors is high. The beginning of the calendar year (January/February) is another popular time to start, but we place Conversation Coaches throughout the year. You and your host family will agree upon your exact program dates together.
Do I need to have professional teaching experience or a TEFL certificate to apply?
You do not need to have professional teaching experience, teaching certification or a degree in education to apply. Instead, we require you to show that you have experience working with children and are able to informally plan activities to engage your host children.
If you are interested in earning a TEFL certificate, International TEFL Academy offers an internationally recognized online TEFL course. Mention InterExchange and get $50 off tuition!
Do I need to have child care-related experience to apply?
We like to see that you've had some experience working with children in some capacity. This can include babysitting, tutoring, coaching, student/assistant teaching, classroom teaching, being a camp counselor or volunteering with kids, etc. If you have additional child care related certificates or educational degrees, please be sure to highlight this in your application.
Do my references need to be sent directly to your organization?
Most applicants collect their own references and upload them directly to their online InterExchange accounts. However, if your referrer would prefer to email them directly to us, please have them scan and send the form to our general email at email@example.com.
Does the $250 deposit secure the application?
While we can never 100% guarantee placement, placement is likely as long as you submit your application about 3-4 months in advance of when you'd like to start. We have lots of host families who register all throughout the year specifically looking for American tutors (Americans are in high demand) so it would be very unlikely that you would not find a placement.
If I am not accepted into the program will I receive a refund?
In the unlikely event that we are unable to place you, we will refund your $250 deposit. We will keep you posted throughout the placement process.
How far in advance can I submit my application?
Most applicants submit their applications about 3-4 months in advance. Please feel free to submit your application up to 6 months in advance if you'd like, which will give us more time to find the most suitable match for you.
Can I make a location request?
Placements are typically in the Marche region of Italy along the central eastern coast, but we do have placements all over Italy. You may make requests to be placed in a specific city or region. Please write in your location preferences anywhere on your Program Specific Application. We'll do our best, but location requests cannot be guaranteed. Actual placement location will depend on the families looking for Conversation Coaches at the time.
What are host families like?
Our international cooperator screens all of our host families for safety very similarly to how we screen our tutors. Just as our applicants here in the U.S. must, all families submit applications and references, have an interview and pay a program fee.
The make-up of our Italian host families varies, but they're well known for being welcoming and cultured. They're known to enjoy discussing Italian life and to be interested in the American way of doing things. Most of our families are middle class and have children in either elementary or middle school.
Can I be placed with or close to a friend?
If you've made any special requests to be placed close to a friend, would like to be in a particular region, or have any host family/children preferences, we will take them into consideration but cannot guarantee we will be able to honor all requests. We do not allow multiple placements in one host family home.
Will I have options to choose from during the matching process?
You will definitely have the option to ask for other families if you feel the one(s) we've presented to you are not a good fit. Let us know and we'll be happy to continue looking for another family until you feel like we've found the right one! It's important to us that you feel comfortable with your host family match, and we'll do all we can to make sure that happens.
If I decide not want to work with a presented family, am I eligible for a refund?
In terms of receiving a refund of your deposit, you would only be eligible for a full refund if we were not able to find a family for you after three weeks to your latest indicated start date. The stipulations of our refund policy can be found here.
Is there Internet access in every household?
The majority of our families, even those in rural areas have access to the Internet in their homes. The basics like electricity, water, and heat go without saying. In a rural area, it may be more difficult to access public transportation to get into town, but you will always have the option to discuss with your host family how they get around and stay social in a non-urban environment.
What if issues arise with my host family after I am abroad?
If any issues arise, you will want to contact our international cooperator immediately so they can mediate the situation. If things really are not working out, we will do our best to move you to another family in a timely manner.
Do I need a visa?
U.S. citizens do not need visas to enter the Schengen area (which includes Italy) and are permitted to stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. You will simply enter the Schengen area with your valid U.S. passport. For more information on the Schengen area, please visit the U.S. Department of State's website.
Do I need to know how to speak Italian?
No. You will not need to know Italian, nor will you be required to take Italian classes abroad (although you are welcome to if you want of course!) Most of our host families speak pretty good English so it's usually not a problem for our tutors to communicate with their host family.
Is there an orientation or resources to help start my program?
While there is no formal orientation, you will receive an InterExchange Activities Guide and Home Orientation Guide before departing the U.S. You will also receive lots of Teach English resources via the InterExchange Teach English Guide, sample lesson packs for beginner, intermediate and advanced English learners, and a Game Pack to keep things fun and engaging with your host children.
Will I have vacation time?
Because the program is relatively short-term (1-3 months), you will not be allowed designated vacation time. However, if you would like to take a few days to travel or unwind, please let your family know well in advance. They will usually be able to accommodate your request to take a few days off. Remember that your host family is your FIRST priority, so try to schedule your free time activities around your tutoring schedule.
Can I earn money on the program?
Since you'll be traveling as a tourist on a cultural exchange program with an emphasis on your tutoring and your relationship with the host family, you will not be able to earn a salary or stipend.
Should I bring my U.S. phone with me?
Most people either purchase a cheap phone with a pay-as-you-go SIM card for national calls, or simply use their existing phone with an Italian SIM card purchased in Italy. However, if you're planning to contact people back at home, we recommend using Skype or Whatsapp on your current phone with wifi. You can find more information here.
Will I be able to connect with other Conversation Coaches in Italy?
Absolutely! We'll connect you with other tutors throughout the country at the time of your program and invite you to a Facebook group specifically for our InterExchange participants in Italy. Our in-country agents will also help you connect.