Jobs, Teaching, Live, Work in Italy – Ask Ms. Adventures v.2

Here’s the next round of questions that were sent to me following up on Help! How to Live and Work in Italy and Dear Ms. Adventures: Help Me Move to Italy! If you have a question, be sure to read the previous posts as your question may have already been answered. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR QUESTION IN THE COMMENTS.

Roundabout in Favignana Island, Sicily, Italy

Note: some emails were shortened but all spelling and grammar errors are original to the inquirer.

I have to say I am astounded at the lack of general punctuation use and formulation of actual questions I receive. They take the time to find my email address, open their email program, compose a message to me and press “Send”, yet they can’t take the time to make their inquiry clear? Take a look at this one:

I looked at your website, i need an advice that i am thinking to do masters in Italy as i want to learn the language, i cant speak italian just few words, so are there any master programs taught in English, also a part time work or full time in english so finance myself.

and another:

Afternoon, Im very stuck. Been researching but Im so confused. Im hoping to move it Italy in the next year or so. I have accomodation already but how do I start to go about getting a work permit please. All Ive read confuses me so much. Plus, as a British citizen, will i need a residence permit for longer than 3 months.

and yet another:

Can you please help me, I know I need a visa but like you said it is hard to get a job without a permit but hard to get a permit without a job. Please help. Thanks.

These emails are not helpful to anyone. Please specify, after reading what I’ve already communicated, how exactly I might help. I am not an immigration official, nor a recruiter, just someone trying to help!

Let’s move on to the real questions:

Dear Ms. Adventures in Italy, I am currently a senior at Yale University. I just came back from living and studying in Italy for about 7 months, and all I can think about is going back. I would love to find a job for next year, but everyone I talk to seems to say the same things: “There just aren’t any jobs there” or “It’s really hard for a foreigner to find a job.” I am fluent in Italian and German and would love to work in business. Do you have any suggestions?

I have a couple of questions for you. First, do companies have preference for 1. English speaking people and 2. people with business degrees? I am having trouble finding work even in the U.S. and have read that it’s even more difficult in Italy. Also, I noticed in Rome that men are not shy about professing love to someone…even if they’ve only known you for an hour! Are woman treated fairly in the workplace, typically? Or discrimination a major issue? Sincerely, Listening to the Masses and Worried about Latin Lovers

Dear Listening to the Masses and Worried about Latin Lovers,

I think both sentiments are probably correct, but they depend on the industry you’re interested in. Becoming a university professor in Italy, for example, is extremely difficult whereas working in a private language school is relatively easy. Ditto for tourism, communication, internet, etc. but the answer is “it depends.”

Fluency is definitely a plus as most companies in Italy will use Italian in the office even if they are working with clients / delivering products-projects in English. I would say speaking English is always a bonus, but there’s no preference for it, especially if you speak 0 Italian. I know very few people working in offices where the base language is English.

You say you want to work in business – do you know where? I suggest your start two-pronged – make a list of companies that are in the sector you’re interested in that you know in America. Then, do a search for companies that are already in Italy, including companies founded in Italy. These two lists will definitely not be the same, and that’s ok – some of the companies in America may be looking for an international presence and/or freelance/contract help, and some international / Italian companies may be looking for someone with your skills. Of course, networking and making as many contacts as possible before leaving is probably your best bet, though many companies will want to interview you in person in Italy.

Unless you have a degree from an Ivy league university (in this case you do, congrats), or one that has high name recognition, I think your work experience will be what makes more of an impression on your interviewer. Advance business degrees (especially MBAs) are not as valued as I  think they are in the US, or rather, they have no additional value that might give you an edge. Some people have no idea what the acronym means. I suggest getting some work experience anyway – here in Italy new graduates do “stage” internships even into their 30s because of the difficult work situation – if you have some work experience under your belt before you make the move, it will be an edge.

“Rome that men are not shy about professing love to someone” – yes, this is a chapter all on its own called “The Latin Lover” – you will meet some Italian men who are looking for and love the exotic – an American on vacation is one of the sweetest varieties. But if you live here, you’ll also meet some great, honorable Italian men. There are all types, everywhere. The Latin Lovers just stick out more (like peacocks).

Re: women treated fairly in the workplace, I can’t profess to know every workplace in Italy. I think on the whole the women’s movement regarding equal opportunity and pay is several years behind the UK or the US, but that doesn’t translate into disrespect or discrimination automatically. I think it’s much easier to find the negative experiences because that’s what sticks in people’s minds more. There are several women’s groups (some of which are listed on my Milan & Italy links page) which are working toward improving the situation. Cheers, Ms. Adventures in Italy

Dear Ms. Adventures in Italy, I am in the midst of applying for my dual citizenship and should have it within a year.  My mother is an Italian citizen living in Canada.  My question is, if I move there with my husband, and he does not have a citizenship, what is the process for him since I will have the necessary paper work.  Can he apply through me?  Can he move there with me and will he need to get anything when we move?  Any information you can provide me is greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Doing the Dual

Dear Doing the Dual,

Congrats! Dual citizenship is an easy way to move to Italy. Your husband will need to get a visa and then he will be able to apply for a permesso per motivi familiari since he will be joining an Italian citizen. Inquire at your local Italian consulate (see my Help Me Move to Italy post for consulate links) – it’s something that you’ll have to do BEFORE you move since you’re not currently a resident. Cheers, Ms. Adventures in Italy

Ms. Adventures in Italy, I’m a student who want to pursue my higher education in Italy. I was looking for someone to help me get in touch with the student community there for a few clarifications. I’m an International student who want to pursue my Masters there and go on to do research in the field of my interest. Looking For a Connection

Dear Looking for a Connection,

I think your best bet is narrowing down where you want to pursue your higher education and start mining that university’s website for student associations and clubs that you can come into contact with. Another suggestion is to search on Facebook – a lot of the Italian student population is online and there are groups for everything – you’re bound to find an informal space to ask some questions. Cheers, Ms. Adventures in Italy

Ms. Adventures in Italy, My question is if I enter Italy as a Tourist with my Canadian passport, what if I find work while there, can I get the paper work started while I am in Italy? Or do I have to absolutely apply for the work visa in my country of residence? From Here or There

Dear Here or There,

I’m not Canadian so I can’t speak from personal experience about your country. I know that for Americans you have to go back to the US to apply for a visa, I’m assuming it’s a requirement of the Italian consulate, not anything to do with the home country’s requirement (so I’m assuming it would be the same for Canada). Best check the consulate’s documentation and recommendations on their site (see my Help Me Move to Italy post for consulate links). Cheers, Ms. Adventures in Italy

Hello, I love the work your blog and the work you’ve done to make it very helpful for people like me who are interested in moving to Italy. In your “Help! How Do I Live and Work in Italy?” blog post you talked about the work visa paradox. After I finish my Masters degree, I really would love to work as a teacher in Italy. Is there anything I can do to impove my odds of finding a job before I go to Italy? Would I have a better chance of getting a work visa by flying to Italy and personally talking to schools to find one to sponsor me? Thanks! From Flying to Teach

Dear Flying to Teach,

I think planning a trip to Italy to do interviews and talk to schools in person is a good idea. Contact them beforehand saying that you plan to be physically in “x” city on those dates and would like to interview/meet with the Director of Studies that week, etc. and attach your resume, highlighting any previous teaching experience. Schools are selling a very human, person-to-person experience, so it makes sense that they expect to see and know you before making a decision about hiring.

Be ready for the question: “So when are you planning on moving here?” Have a game plan ready in case 1) they offer to work on the work visa situation and 2) in case if they don’t offer. (Will you still move to Italy? Have you already bought that 1-way ticket?)

As far as the work visa situation goes, very few schools go through the trouble (when they have British/EU teachers available) so you’ll just have to see what kind of response you get. Cheers, Ms. Adventures in Italy

Hi Ms. Adventures, I’ve been learning Italian for the past year. It’s coming along well but I am by no means fluent. I like the idea of teaching because I love languages (I speak English and French). However, I have seen some information that states that in Italy you do not need teaching qualifications to teach English, you just need to be a native speaker. I’m totally confused about what qualifications I would need and how to apply for a job. The Italian way seems to be very much more about networking but I have no idea how to do this, especially being based in the UK at the moment. Have you got any advice you can give me? From Qualifying to Teach

Hello Qualifying to Teach,

See my above answer for the networking and applying – I think it can only help for the schools to meet you in person. Schedule a week (or two if you’re still undecided between cities) to come here and do some in-person interviewing and scouting around.

Some schools will not ask for previous teaching experience, nor CELTA/TEFL certificates, but they will take into account your own formal education and if you have multiple degrees, etc., especially in subjects they are teaching to students. Some schools, though, require these certifications and if you have neither a university degree nor teaching experience you may want to consider getting the certificate. Cheers, Ms. Adventures in Italy

Hi, Great website! I am a cook looking to study pizza in Napoli or any other region. I would love to attain a Pizzaiolo certification. I have cooked for many years in Sweden and in California. I have lived in Italy in the 80’s, yet have no contacts. I am also interested in just working in Italy as a cook. Any help would be much appreciated. From the Pizza Man

Hi Pizza Man,

This isn’t my specialty, but with a quick google search for “pizzaiolo certificato” I found the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association and a Masters for Pizza makers. It’s probably a good place to start, but since you speak Italian, troll some of the forums to see if you can find out which program is the most reputable. Cheers, Ms. Adventures in Italy

Dear Ms. Adventures in Italy, My wife and I are considering moving to Italy.  I am a teacher in the United States and I had thought about teaching English abroad. I have looked some at your website, but there is a lot of information and I wanted to contact you first. Most jobs seem to say they require experience.  Can I find a job teaching English in Italy that will provide an income that I can live with functionally without returning to school for years on end?  I love teaching and it is a feasible career to get a start in a foreign country it would seem.  I just want to figure out how realistic the option is without having to go back to school first. From Enough Dough to Live?

Hello Enough Dough to Live,

You already have teaching experience which is good – even better if you’ve been teaching English! If you’re hoping to support a couple on a single income of an English teacher in a private language school, the answer is no, it’s not enough dough. I don’t think going back to school will solve the problem – it’s not enough for two to live. A teacher can make anywhere from 600 euro/month to 1,500/month, depending on your schedule, how busy the school is and how many other teachers they have, and if you have any private students, etc. I heard of one (1) teacher who was making more than 2,000euro/month but he had been in Italy for several years and had built up an impressive private businessmen/student clientele. If the two of you both work, you might have a chance, but it won’t be luxury. You will be getting by. Cheers, Ms. Adventures in Italy

Dear Ms. Adventures, I am a dental student at the University of Toronto in Canada, and want to work in Italy (maybe Rome) as an associate for a year or 2 after I graduate. I will have my Canadian DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and will pass the Canadian Board Exam to be able to practise in Canada. Will I be able to work for a Dentist in Italy?? Or is this dream just too hard to accomplish? I was thinking I could work for an American/English Dentist that works in Italy. What do you think?? And will I be able to get a work Visa for 1 or 2 years if I’m a Dentist? Thanks for any help/contacts you have! And thanks for the time you put into helping others experience Italy! ~Canadian Dentist dreaming of Italy

Dear Canadian Dentist dreaming of Italy,

Unfortunately I have no contacts regarding dentists – I need one myself! But, I think the possibility that you could get an internship with a dentist may be a possibility but practicing on your own and getting a work visa are completely different situations altogether. I would suggest scouring the advertising sections of popular English language publications in Italy (check my Milan/Italy links) to find the American/English dentists and contact them with your questions. Prepare yourself and know your answer to – If they are willing to accept me as an associate, but without a work visa, will I do it anyway? Often work permits are more expensive and trouble than they are worth to the employer to pursue for a possible employee. The burden usually remains with the person looking for work to have the correct papers. Cheers, Ms. Adventures in Italy

Please note: I am not an immigration lawyer or official – this information is not intended to be legal advice nor supplant/contradict any official government communication. Please consult the rules/regulations that pertain to you and your particular situation/country. I am not encouraging or advising your participation in illegal activity.

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Comments

  1. says

    I’ve been scouring your website today and am loving it. I’ve visited Italy twice and would love to live there. Your post today made me think it could be a possibility someday. Thanks!

  2. says

    Fun to read, Sara, and great advice!

    I can add a couple things: To Here and There, I am actually a Canadian who has lived and worked for an American company in Italy. I was in Italy for a couple months while my visa paperwork was being processed, and then when it was ready, I had to physically be in Canada, and then arrive in Italy to activate it. So as inconvenient as it was, I had to fly back to Vancouver, get the papers and then fly back to Italy. Then I STILL had to get my permesso di soggiorno etc. I wrote about it here:
    http://italyfaves.typepad.com/italy_beyond_the_obvious/2009/03/working-legally-as-an-expat.html

    I also worked in Italy as a tour guide for Butterfield & Robinson, which did not require any sort of visa paperwork, and was a huge amount of fun. The trips were about 8 days long, plus 3 days on the front end for checking trip details and 2 days on the back end for accounting. In high season I would do 6 trips back to back. B&R does bike tours, but there are lots of tour companies operating in Italy. If you speak Italian and have a love of Italy, I would look into it. This is a great way to spend time in Italy, and once you get in with those companies, if you want to stay in Italy, they need researchers, etc.

    One thing to add about women in the workplace: I worked at a “manager” level in an Italian workplace for 2.5 years in Milan. I was the only foreigner in the office and the highest level female. I was also in my (late, late) twenties. I found that being female was definitely not a plus in terms of being able to get things done. My male colleagues weren’t used to taking suggestions from a female, or having a female be in charge at meetings, or make budget decisions. I earned their respect after probably 18 months or so, after a few projects I did went well, but it was a bit awkward, also during social situations with the managers when I was the only woman and people were talking about their kids, their wives at home who did everything etc. It was just a very, very different work environment compared to what I’d been used to in the US (I moved there from NY). I also learned much later that my colleagues were resentful of the travel I got to do, which was funny because for me going to Rome for a day for a business trip was a big pain (taxi-airport-conference room-reverse). Again, a cultural difference.

    But in all, the experiences were amazing and the negatives I describe above were far outweighed by the positives.

  3. Ms. Adventures in Italy says

    @Madeline – thanks so much for your input, from both the Canadian and the female side :) It’s good to have more than one opinion to draw from, that’s for sure!

    @StuffCooksWant – I’m sure you’ll know if it’s right…in the meantime keep visiting to help you decide!

  4. brand-don capbell says

    hi im a student at princeton university. i want to be a doctor and live in italy as a radiologist doctor. would i have to take medical school in the u.s or would i have to take medical school in italy? would i have to take residency in here or italy im so cunfused so can u please tell me what excatly i need to do to get a job there as a radologist.

  5. Alex says

    I have dual citizenship (Canadian and Italian) I would like to attend a university in Italy, being part of the EU do I pay tuition as if I am a foreigner or am I considered native to Italy and go by their standards of tuition.?

  6. anna says

    I am an experienced dentist wishing to work in italy (something ive wanted for long time), italian parents, raised and educated in the uk. I speak italian fluently. How do I go about getting work there? Here in the uk its usually through agencies or dental internet job sites. I’ve tried few italian sites with no avail. I would really appreciate information on how to go about it.

    many thanks

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