Want to work in Italy without a visa? No problem!

The universe (and one awesome company) is providing you with a way to work in the land of pizza, pasta, and wine that’s both easy and legal. All food, transport, and accommodation is also paid for, and did I mention you get paid?

I know it sounds too good to be true (I thought that same thing), but it’s not. It’s very real, you can apply right now, and I’ve answered a bunch of questions you might have:

What is this magical company and what’s the job?
ACLE (Associazione Culturale Linguistica Educational) is basically an organisation designed to teach kids English through movement and play.

It’s a non-profit organisation endorsed by the Italian Ministry of Education, and it’s popular throughout the country because Italian schools largely operate on a rote learning system (where the teacher stands at the front of a large class and dictates and the kids have to memorise everything), and ACLE don’t follow that model. This means even though the kids are technically at summer school, they choose to go to camp and love it because they feel like they’re playing games all day.

So in a nutshell, the job is to play games with Italian kids all day and teach them English.

Do I need to speak Italian?
No! And if you can speak Italian, you’re encouraged not to so the kids have an immersive experience.

I hate kids…
ACLE gives you the option of teaching primary school students (ages six-14) or high school students (ages 14-17), so it’s not a huge deal if you’re a non-kid kinda person.

Do I need teaching experience?
One of the best parts of this company is that they teach you everything you need to know at the orientation program, and you come out the other side with a TEFL-TP certificate. Sure, it helps to have experience with kids, but it’s not a requirement. Even if you’re a teacher in your hometown, the teaching strategies and lesson plans at ACLE are probably really different to what you’re used to. 
The only real requirement is that English is your first language, or you have to be so fluent in English no one would know it’s your second language.

Want to work in Italy without a visa, stay with locals, and have food, transport, and accommodation taken care of? Here's how to do it easily, and legally.
My classroom just before the end of snack time.

How much do I get paid?
Payment depends on the amount of time you teach for, and whether you’re a returning tutor (returning tutors get paid more). If you only do the introductory course (one week of training, three weeks of teaching), you get €520. If you continue on after those four weeks, you get €220 per week up to week 10. After that the pay goes up by month, but you can take a look at the chart.

What’s the accommodation?
You stay with Italian families throughout your time with ACLE, which makes for a very authentic cultural experience. The families cook for you, pack you lunch, give you a bedroom in their home, treat you as part of their family, and show you everything they love about their country – it’s a very unique and eye-opening thing to be a part of.

What do I have to pay for?
You could theoretically spend the whole summer at ACLE and hardly pay for anything, minus a few important things:

Getting there: Your flights to and from Italy, and transport to orientation.

Orientation: This costs €200 because you’re being trained, the people training you are being paid, and all food and accommodation is covered. Given that you make €520 after three weeks of teaching, it’s still a pretty good deal. You also only have to do orientation once, even if you return the year after, so it’s a one-off payment.

Holidays: If you want to have a week off to explore Italy, you have to pay for transport from your last camp to your holiday destination, along with food and accommodation during that time, and ACLE will pay for transport from a major Italian city to your next camp (as long as it’s in Italy).

Things you want: Sometimes tutors go out for a drink or gelato after school or on the weekends, and it’s not really fair to ask your host families to pay for that, so it’s always good to have cash on-hand.

Insurance: For legal reasons, you need to have travel health insurance for the duration of your time with ACLE.

The vineyard owned by my first host family. I was given two bottles of their wine (Rappellino Barbera D’Asti) when I left. I drank one with my next host family, and one with a family I Couchsurfed with in Riga, Latvia.

Why don’t I need a visa?
You can work in Italy without a visa because ACLE is classified as a distance learning course, so the money you receive isn’t pay for the work you’re doing, it’s a study grant – you’re not required to get a working visa because you’re technically not working.

Most English-speaking countries can work in Italy without a visa with because they have an agreement with Italy (and all areas within the Schengen Agreement) allowing you to enter the country for 90 days as a tourist – this means everyone from Canada, Australia, and the U.S can teach with ACLE for a maximum of 90 days, and if you’re from Ireland or the UK you’re free to work all summer (pending Brexit). If you’re from South Africa, you will need to apply for a 90-day tourist visa (ACLE will give you a letter to help your application).

How long can I work with ACLE for?
You have to teach for a minimum of three weeks, but you can teach for the whole of summer if you like (June-September), so it’s really flexible.

If you’re teaching for more than a month, you can opt for a week off and get back in to it the following week, so during that time you’re free to explore Italy as long as you make it to your next camp by the weekend before it starts. You don’t get paid for the time you take off, but if you’re pretty skint, ACLE own property in Bajardo and Castel San Giorgio that you can stay in free of charge, and they’ll provide you with food.

Want to work in Italy without a visa, stay with locals, and have food, transport, and accommodation taken care of? Here's how to do it easily, and legally.
Leaning all about Sydney on Culture Day.

How do I apply?
There are a few steps to the application process (ACLE are recruiting random international people to teach children and live peacefully with whole families – they need to filter you to confirm you’re not a psychopath), but they explain it really well once your initial application form is accepted. Click here to apply!

Why should I join ACLE?
Short answer: It’s so much fun!

Long answer: You get a fully immersive Italian experience that you can’t get anywhere else. Camps can be in really remote areas of the country that travellers don’t get to see, and you get to live with families in those locations and eat what they eat, go where they go, and live the way they live. Expenses are paid, you get paid, and you meet other tutors from all over the world every week – it’s the experience of a lifetime.

So that’s it! That’s how you work in Italy without a visa, and I’d recommend it to anyone. I met some incredible people, stayed with some wonderful families, had experiences I’ll never forget, and I can’t wait to go back one year!

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Want to work in Italy without a visa, stay with locals, and have food, transport, and accommodation taken care of? Here's how to do it easily, and legally.

Feel free to comment with any questions you might have, or write me a story about your experience!

25 Comments

  1. I absolutely love Italy!

    Great information! I currently have a TESOL and never really considered teaching English in Italy as most people choose to teach in Asian countries such as Thailand, South Korea and China.

    • Charlotte Reply

      I’ve heard that from a lot of people actually, but yeah there are definitely programs across Europe. I know Croatia has one as well, so it’s worth looking up, especially if you already have a TESOL certificate.

    • Charlotte Reply

      Haha I didn’t think I had the confidence either, but trust me, you get over that really quickly. The kids really look up to you no matter what you do, so you never look stupid in front of them, and all the other tutors are doing exactly what you’re doing so no one’s judging anyone. I would actually especially recommend this program if you feel like you don’t have the confidence – it’s really eye-opening, and liberating.

  2. ACLE sounds like an amazing organization! This is such a great way to see the world and give back to the community all at the same time. I would totally love to do this, except I’m not sure if I’d make a good teacher hahaa.

    • Charlotte Reply

      Haha I thought the same thing! But they teach you how to teach during orientation, so that’s not a problem 🙂

  3. This looks like a really great experience and a good option if you don’t want the hassle of obtaining a work visa for Italy (not easy at the best of times, if it’s like work visas in almost every other country!). Sounds like a really fun way to spend a summer!

    • Charlotte Reply

      So much fun! And yes, the Italian work visa is a hassle, so this is a really great way of avoiding that.

  4. I had no idea this existed! This may come in handy for my husband and I when we begin our long term European travel .We love Italy and would love to do this!

    • Charlotte Reply

      This is exactly why I wrote this post, so that’s great to hear! I did it right in the middle of my Europe trip and it was fantastic – everything is organised by the company, so you can take a break from planning destinations, transport, and accommodation, and just enjoy being in Italy. Plus it gives you a real financial boost when you need it.

    • Charlotte Reply

      Any nationality is welcome, but English either has to be your first language, or you have to be so proficient in English that others would think it’s your first language. For example, I know they’ve accepted some Scandinavian tutors in the past, and English wasn’t their first language, but their English skills were so advanced that they were able to teach English without any problems. Hope that helps!

  5. I teach English online without any prior experience and it ended up being a great fit for me. This seems like a fantastic option for anyone looking to live abroad!

    • Charlotte Reply

      Oh wow I didn’t know you could do that online, sounds great! And yeah this is a really great option if you want to live, work, and experience another culture.

  6. Wow!!! Didn’t know there’s something like this… great information and I will pass this along to some friends:)

    • Charlotte Reply

      No at all – they teach you everything you need to know. There’s a broad age range of tutors as well, some are 18 and have just left school, and some are in their 30s and have degrees and full-time jobs.

  7. WWhat a wonderful program and a very informative blog. Will be passing this along to some colleagues who are interested in teaching English is a fun setting.

  8. Wish I had known about this a few months ago!!!! Sounds literally perfect for me. Amazing opportunity!!!

  9. This is amazing! I’m in love with Italy 🇮🇹 and this is a great way to explore there and the surrounding areas pretty much for free!

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