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Hello! I applied to a program here in the US for TESOL certification in Italy. I leave at the end of May and fly into London to spend a few days on holiday and then into Italy before my start date in early June.

I was sent documents from both the company here in the USA that I applied with and got accepted to and the affiliate Via Linqua in Florence (admissions letter, letter stating financial responsibility was paid for etc.), I took it all down to the consulate in Los Angeles yesterday and encountered the rudest woman on planet earth :mad:. I had barely handed her my paperwork (which she didn't look at) and she was already shaking her head no and started questioning me on why I wanted to go to Italy, when was the last time I had been, where was my bank statements, why couldn't I learn Italian here (even though I wasn't going there for language instruction :rolleyes:) etc. Then she told me they don't issue visas for 'this', when I know they have in fact issued visas for 'this' before. There was a Chinese girl who was up before me and experienced the same disdain and rudeness that I had. This lady had serious issues. So after driving 2 hours in traffic, wasting gas and money I was dismissed in literally 2 minutes.

The program director did tell me that getting a student visa was not guaranteed but there was a good chance I could obtain one so it was good to try. But that I could just 'overstay' my tourist visa, that it is done all the time. I have been doing much research online and most people say that I could get in trouble for overstaying my 90 days (banned, fined upon exiting), I don't want any negative marks against my passport. The training is 4 weeks and thereafter they are supposed to assist you in obtaining a job teaching English. But how can I work or stay in Italy without a proper visa? Before anyone asks, yes this is a legit company in business for 9 years, I have done my research and they are listed with the BBB with no negative marks.

In hindsight I should have choose to go to Cambodia where a job is guaranteed and getting a visa is easy as pie, but I've already paid for this location and flight tickets etc. and cannot get my money back...in plus I want to go to Europe, not Asia.

Any advice from people who know something about this or have done the same would be much appreciated. I really want to teach English and travel across Europe but my recent consulate visit has put a dim light on my happy expectations.
 

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Is it possibly that there are already many many out of work TEFL teachers in Italy>>


Jo xxx
 

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Chella-

I just finished reading the blog 2 Italy about a couple who moved to Italy from the Us and had to go through the LA consulate. They, too, encountered a very rude woman who denied their visa (after they'd sold their house and packed all their belongings). They changed their state of residency and went through another consulate where they were treated much better and granted a visa. Maybe this is an option for you. Good luck!

Bevy G
 

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Sorry for the late reply, but I just saw this thread. I applied to Via Lingua a few years ago when I was in exactly your situation- desperate to get to Italy to teach TEFL. I was happy with how friendly their sales people were and how much info they were always willing to give. Then, I asked them about the visa thing. They brushed me off with the "lots of Americans find work overstaying their tourist visa." That's when I knew they 100% could not be trusted, so I looked into the situation and got as much info from various sources as possible. Here's what I found:
- Via Lingua is legit as a TEFL program. The course is pretty good, they organize lots of social outings, and for people with valid EU paperwork, they help you find a job
-Via Lingua, however, is not extremely well known worldwide. You would be much much better off using the money to do a CELTA or Trinity TESOL which are recognized everywhere and considered valid credentials. I am not saying that they are necessarily better courses, but they will be recognized anywhere you go. I know a great CELTA course in Milan.
-The idea that you can just "overstay" your tourist visa? Hasn't been true for over 3 years. Italy now has harsh anti-immigration laws, and they are enforced. Anyone who is telling you to stay past 90 days just wants your money and doesn't care what happens to you.
-Any Language School that employs you illegally will not be a place you want to work. Conditions are already mediocre at best for legal workers. If you work illegally you will likely be subject to threats, harassment, and not getting paid. I know, because many of my friends went this route.

I would say you have a couple of options here:
1. Enroll in an intermediate Italian Language program and get a student visa for that. Consulates don't issue student visas for TEFL certificates, they know that you are just going there to work. They also don't issue visas (they explicitly state this) for Beginner's Italian programs (you can learn it just as well in the US in their opinion). You will probably pay at least 3,000 euros for a year long program. Remember that your salary will be around 1,000 a month, and your basic living expenses will take up 80% of that if you're lucky. So if you are coming to Italy to enjoy life and travel around Europe, make sure you have huge savings when you come. A student visa allows you to legally work 20 hours a week (and private lessons make up the difference).
2. Do the Via Lingua program, and then head to Prague. It is still possible to get a work visa there. You will have two months to find an employer and get the paperwork going.
3. Get your money back (if possible), vacation in Europe, and then head to Asia. South Korea is a great place for making and saving lots of money, and visas are easy. I would also recommend, as I said before, doing a CELTA or Trinity if you can get your money back!

Good luck, sorry if that sounded negative, just trying to put the realistic options out there! You still have time to work it out. Let us know how it goes.
 

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Chelle82-

We are in the exact same situation! I applied through LanguageCorps to receive my TEFL/TESOL in Florence, Italy through Via Lingua Florence the beginning of June. I am also really starting to worry about the visa situation. I would love to talk to you more about this and see what you plan to do!! I've also been reading some blogs from girls that just completed the program in Florence that I can share with you. They both have found work. Anyways, hopefully talking to someone else in the exact same boat as me will help ease my worries!
 

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Chelle82-

We are in the exact same situation! I applied through LanguageCorps to receive my TEFL/TESOL in Florence, Italy through Via Lingua Florence the beginning of June. I am also really starting to worry about the visa situation. I would love to talk to you more about this and see what you plan to do!! I've also been reading some blogs from girls that just completed the program in Florence that I can share with you. They both have found work. Anyways, hopefully talking to someone else in the exact same boat as me will help ease my worries!
gaycee and chelle -

Please let me know how you guys have faired so far. Did you stay in Italy? How have you proceeded? It would be great to hear as I am ingrained in such a similar process. There are so many differing opinions it is difficult to know where one stands without talking with people that are really going through something similar.
 

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Via Lingua

I took the Via Lingua course in Florence in the summer of 2013 and didn't have a good experience. While the TEFL course itself was fine (challenging actually), any notion of job support or their statistics are totally misleading!

Website:"Via Lingua Florence offers you lifetime job-finding support, which means that our team is at your service before, during, and after the course to make sure you find a teaching position. Experience shows that participants who put the effort into preparing a strong resume/CV find teaching positions within 0 - 30 days after completing the certification program."

-I did not find a job within 0-30 days. In fact, I did not find a job at all in Italy and this is after almost 8 months of activity. While there is no direct job guarantee, it is an extremely misleading statement. There were 18 people in my program total. 2 of them found jobs right after the program (one of these jobs was in Korea... so not even Italy). The rest of us applied, applied, applied all over the place in Italy, and to no avail, either decided to do some traveling or go back home to the USA. That's 2/18. Yep.


Website:"Through our international network of schools and contacts, we can help you find a job anywhere in the world. 85% of the people who took the course with us in 2012 had already found a job in their chosen location before the end of the course."This once again is pure fiction and extremely misleading advertising. I would go as far as to call it a lie. I only know of two students in my program who got a job after receiving their TEFL degree.

Via Lingua claims that they offer job support and contacts. In the school, they do have a binder full of job postings and "contacts." But guess where these contacts come from? They are print outs of job postings from TEFL.com. No joke. The program coordinator only had two special contacts (one in Rome and Milan) and they weren't hiring at the time. The school provides you with a list of language schools in Italy but this is information that is copied from the website ESL Base.

Furthermore, I contacted every single Via Lingua affiliated school in their network where they offer TEFL courses to take advantage of this so called "lifetime support" and barely received any support at all. All the schools did was provide a list of language schools in the country which was also copied from ESL Base. They didn't provide any informative information about the job market, what schools are looking for, CV/Cover Letter help, and certainly didn't advertise any jobs at their corresponding language schools if there was one. So much for lifetime support from the Via Lingua Network.

Via Lingua will say whatever they can to get you to sign up for the TEFL course. They will mislead, even lie to you, when you email/call them about the job market and support after the course. They will give you a bunch of made up facts on their website. Don't fall for it guys.

If you want to teach in Italy, first make sure you have the proper visa. Please. It makes things infinitely easier. Even if you just get a student visa or some kind of promessio d'sigorno it helps. Also, I'd just sign up for a cheap online TEFL course. Italian schools and businesses don't know the difference. And lastly, just network, network, network. Show up in person to schools. Bring your resume. Think about making business cards. Make friends with people at the shops, cafes, markets, bars, give them your card.
 

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Hi Matt

How do you find the job market over there at the moment? Would you recommend trying to go the TEFL route or just find anything casual.....

Cheers
Connie

I took the Via Lingua course in Florence in the summer of 2013 and didn't have a good experience. While the TEFL course itself was fine (challenging actually), any notion of job support or their statistics are totally misleading!

Website:"Via Lingua Florence offers you lifetime job-finding support, which means that our team is at your service before, during, and after the course to make sure you find a teaching position. Experience shows that participants who put the effort into preparing a strong resume/CV find teaching positions within 0 - 30 days after completing the certification program."

-I did not find a job within 0-30 days. In fact, I did not find a job at all in Italy and this is after almost 8 months of activity. While there is no direct job guarantee, it is an extremely misleading statement. There were 18 people in my program total. 2 of them found jobs right after the program (one of these jobs was in Korea... so not even Italy). The rest of us applied, applied, applied all over the place in Italy, and to no avail, either decided to do some traveling or go back home to the USA. That's 2/18. Yep.


Website:"Through our international network of schools and contacts, we can help you find a job anywhere in the world. 85% of the people who took the course with us in 2012 had already found a job in their chosen location before the end of the course."This once again is pure fiction and extremely misleading advertising. I would go as far as to call it a lie. I only know of two students in my program who got a job after receiving their TEFL degree.

Via Lingua claims that they offer job support and contacts. In the school, they do have a binder full of job postings and "contacts." But guess where these contacts come from? They are print outs of job postings from TEFL.com. No joke. The program coordinator only had two special contacts (one in Rome and Milan) and they weren't hiring at the time. The school provides you with a list of language schools in Italy but this is information that is copied from the website ESL Base.

Furthermore, I contacted every single Via Lingua affiliated school in their network where they offer TEFL courses to take advantage of this so called "lifetime support" and barely received any support at all. All the schools did was provide a list of language schools in the country which was also copied from ESL Base. They didn't provide any informative information about the job market, what schools are looking for, CV/Cover Letter help, and certainly didn't advertise any jobs at their corresponding language schools if there was one. So much for lifetime support from the Via Lingua Network.

Via Lingua will say whatever they can to get you to sign up for the TEFL course. They will mislead, even lie to you, when you email/call them about the job market and support after the course. They will give you a bunch of made up facts on their website. Don't fall for it guys.

If you want to teach in Italy, first make sure you have the proper visa. Please. It makes things infinitely easier. Even if you just get a student visa or some kind of promessio d'sigorno it helps. Also, I'd just sign up for a cheap online TEFL course. Italian schools and businesses don't know the difference. And lastly, just network, network, network. Show up in person to schools. Bring your resume. Think about making business cards. Make friends with people at the shops, cafes, markets, bars, give them your card.
 

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I took the Via Lingua course in Florence in the summer of 2013 and didn't have a good experience. While the TEFL course itself was fine (challenging actually), any notion of job support or their statistics are totally misleading!

Website:"Via Lingua Florence offers you lifetime job-finding support, which means that our team is at your service before, during, and after the course to make sure you find a teaching position. Experience shows that participants who put the effort into preparing a strong resume/CV find teaching positions within 0 - 30 days after completing the certification program."

-I did not find a job within 0-30 days. In fact, I did not find a job at all in Italy and this is after almost 8 months of activity. While there is no direct job guarantee, it is an extremely misleading statement. There were 18 people in my program total. 2 of them found jobs right after the program (one of these jobs was in Korea... so not even Italy). The rest of us applied, applied, applied all over the place in Italy, and to no avail, either decided to do some traveling or go back home to the USA. That's 2/18. Yep.


Website:"Through our international network of schools and contacts, we can help you find a job anywhere in the world. 85% of the people who took the course with us in 2012 had already found a job in their chosen location before the end of the course."This once again is pure fiction and extremely misleading advertising. I would go as far as to call it a lie. I only know of two students in my program who got a job after receiving their TEFL degree.

Via Lingua claims that they offer job support and contacts. In the school, they do have a binder full of job postings and "contacts." But guess where these contacts come from? They are print outs of job postings from TEFL.com. No joke. The program coordinator only had two special contacts (one in Rome and Milan) and they weren't hiring at the time. The school provides you with a list of language schools in Italy but this is information that is copied from the website ESL Base.

Furthermore, I contacted every single Via Lingua affiliated school in their network where they offer TEFL courses to take advantage of this so called "lifetime support" and barely received any support at all. All the schools did was provide a list of language schools in the country which was also copied from ESL Base. They didn't provide any informative information about the job market, what schools are looking for, CV/Cover Letter help, and certainly didn't advertise any jobs at their corresponding language schools if there was one. So much for lifetime support from the Via Lingua Network.

Via Lingua will say whatever they can to get you to sign up for the TEFL course. They will mislead, even lie to you, when you email/call them about the job market and support after the course. They will give you a bunch of made up facts on their website. Don't fall for it guys.

If you want to teach in Italy, first make sure you have the proper visa. Please. It makes things infinitely easier. Even if you just get a student visa or some kind of promessio d'sigorno it helps. Also, I'd just sign up for a cheap online TEFL course. Italian schools and businesses don't know the difference. And lastly, just network, network, network. Show up in person to schools. Bring your resume. Think about making business cards. Make friends with people at the shops, cafes, markets, bars, give them your card.

Hello

Times are changing. Just any old online TEFL course will not do. Any 'school' that accepts such qualifications is not reputable. really. There are schools that advertise for teachers saying: "no qualifications needed". Keep away from them.

The CELTA and then DELTA are recognised and known. Many places now ask for a degree plus the teaching qualfication.

Teaching English in Italy is not a romantic venture - it is a hard and low paid occupation.
 

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Via Lingua is misrepresenting the visa and work regulations in Italy so that Americans and other non-EU applicants will pay for their course. CC in Italy is correct--you cannot get a visa to take a TEFL course. The Via Lingua saleswoman was not being honest when she told you there was a good chance of obtaining one. Nor can you get an employment visa once you've taken the course if you are from the US. Aussies may fare a little better because they may be able to qualify for a working holiday visa. (Not absolutely sure about that last, though; I haven't kept up-to-date.)

Entry-level, non-EU EFL teachers may still find legal employment in some countries in Eastern/Central Europe. As CCinEurope suggested, the Czech Republic is probably the best bet at this time.
 
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