Bologna Inside - Second Edition

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5 > WORK


In addition to teaching, native English speakers sometimes find immediate work at the fiera (convention center) as translators during large trade shows. For a calendar of tradeshows and information about the Bologna Fiere, visit


Many people find work teaching English when they first arrive. While some are dedicated career language teachers, for others teaching is a way to support yourself in the short term while you continue your job search.

Language schools usually require teachers to have a permesso di soggiorno and a codice fiscale. Some require a teaching certificate such as TOEFL, while others provide internal training. Schools do not often offer contracts, but instead offer work on a course-bycourse basis. This means it is necessary to work for multiple schools or to supplement your income by offering private lessons.

Private language schools are found in the yellow pages under the listing SCUOLE DI LINGUE and a list is also available through the URP in Piazza Maggiore. Call the schools and ask if they are looking for teachers. Don’t worry if your Italian is limited because in most cases the person who answers the phone will speak English. If you prefer, you may send your resume along with a traditional cover letter, but follow up with a phone call if you haven’t heard anything after a few days. Although not appropriate in most other sectors, it is also acceptable to drop by language schools during business hours with your CV in hand.

Language courses typically start in October and run through the spring, but many schools also have new courses starting throughout the academic year. Most schools conduct courses on site, but some offer lessons in companies around the city. The latter often expect teachers to provide their own transportation with the understanding that travel expenses will be reimbursed. Be sure to ask about the trasferta (travel fee).

Before opening a partita IVA, do the math with your commercialista and calculate your monthly minimum in order to survive. Lots of tax deadlines during the year somehow occur when you least expect them. You may want to set up a private pension fund and polizza infortuni. It’s important to havesome coverage in case you get ill, or you need to take some time off for whatever reason. The key word is strategize, stay on top of the financial issues and love your commercialista.

Lisa Gelhaus


Many teachers make more money giving private lessons than they do by working for language schools. Private lessons are also the best option if you do not yet have your paperwork in order. Although teaching privately can be lucrative, students cancel lessons at any time, so your income may fluctuate. Ask around to find out about the going rate for private lessons. If your are willing to travel into the province, there is much less competition for private teachers and demand is high.

The bulletin board at Johns Hopkins University is a good place to advertise, see Chapter 2: Essential Services. People looking for a teacher also post there. You can also place an ad in the weekly classified newspapers or advertise on the bulletin boards at the University of Bologna’s Department of Languages located in Via Cartoleria, 5. Be sure to ask at the front desk which bulletin boards are open to the public.

Once again, the better teaching jobs come via word of mouth. Once you’re established as a teacher, you may be inundated with phone calls from student referrals or by other language teachers.