Hi everyone! First off, I would like to thank you all for reading this and allowing me to share my story with you. I have such a passion for travel and that is why we decided to create Immersive Italy, so we can help you explore the country like we have.
I had always dreamed about living abroad and I’m living proof that it’s never too late to begin traveling or move to another country.
Before my trip, I performed a lot of research in regards to working abroad. I randomly found an Expats group online and by luck they were holding their monthly Happy Hour event while I was there. This will be my first tip about aspiring to live overseas: be as resourceful as you can. In fact, if you end up going to Rome, I would recommend the Expats Living in Rome group and you’ll meet such amazing people if you go to one of their events.
At the age of 27, I finally left North America to venture out to a new continent. My first three European destinations were London, Barcelona, and Rome. I even brought a suit with me and I was going on job interviews just to network with people and get my face out there. On my last night of the trip I was in Rome and I had made some decent connections but I didn’t have too much luck by then. After three days in Rome I absolutely fell in love with the place and knew that one day I would live here. The food, the culture, the history and the overall atmosphere are just addicting in my opinion.
Networking in Rome
At a happy hour in Rome, I met an American guy who thought that I would be a great fit for his summer camp in Tuscany. They ran an All-American style summer camp where they taught the kids how to play baseball, dodgeball, and all the other American traditions that we have. At the time, I was living in Arizona and he told me to meet with his Camp Director when I got back from vacation. Keep in mind that I’m from a really small town in New Jersey, about 45 minutes west of New York City. While talking to the director in Italy, it turns out that she was from the town next to me (which happened to be even smaller than my town of about 10,000 people). I was thinking “wow what a small world” but wait until you hear what happened next.
A few days after the interview my mom was telling some of her co-workers that her son had a job interview and might be moving to Italy. Well, it turns out that my Mom works with the girl’s dad!! The same girl that was living in Rome and interviewed me earlier that week! At that point I had received the job and I was thinking, “If that’s not a sign to go, I don’t know what is”.
Dropping Everything and Driving Across the US
I received the job offer for the Italian Summer Camp in April 2011 while I was living in Arizona. The next month, I quit my job and drove my car 36 hours by myself from Arizona to New Jersey. It was such an amazing adventure to do and I highly recommend a cross-country drive through America at some point. I was so thankful for Sirius XM radio because it kept me highly entertained the entire way.
I only had a job offer for a three-week summer camp job and that was it. I had no plans afterwards and just let fate decide and it certainly worked out perfectly. I booked a one-way flight to Italy while not knowing anyone there or any of the language.
Arriving in Bella Italia
I arrived in Italy and immediately went to live in the picturesque Italian countryside at the summer camp. When the camp was over, I was lucky enough to receive a full time job offer to teach English from the company that initially hired me. FYI, if you want to teach English overseas, an important document that you will need is your TEFL certificate (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). That will be a main requirement for getting a job abroad depending on the country. The visa situation is another story. I had to return to the states for a few weeks for my visa to go through but that was such a hassle in itself.
At the end of the day, you need to take chances to be successful in life. These can be on any level: large or small. Sometimes it might not pan out but that’s when you go back to the drawing board and start again. I have certainly had my share of ups and downs so far on my travels and living abroad. Even at the lowest point, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.