So far my time in Italy has been completely above and beyond my expectations. I tried to have minimal expectations and hopes for when I came because in my opinion, this would allow me to truly enjoy everything without any disappointment.
Christy instantly bonded with her host brother and sister while on a work abroad program in Italy
Many people asked me why I wanted to come to Italy or how I found my host family. To make a fairly long story short, I wanted to study abroad but could not afford it. I then decided working abroad as some type of au pair was of interest to me.
I spent many hours searching things on Google until I found the GeoVisions' website. It looked pretty reputable so I browsed around the things they offered and found the Walk and Talk program in Italy. I was immediately interested in gaining more information on this program, so I set up a phone call with one of the program coordinators. After this 45 minute phone call, I knew this was the program for me without a doubt.
At first, I did not have much of an interest in coming to Italy, but this program was offered in either Italy or Spain, and out of the two, I thought Italy was for me.
When people ask me about my host family in the work abroad program, I struggle to find the words of how to describe how amazing they are. I really have no complaints and could not be happier.
They love to have fun and were beyond welcoming. Both parents speak English very well because of their business, so that made things fairly easy for me. When I arrived, the son spoke no English at all, so I had to learn some Italian to first get through to him. After we were comfortable with each other, I began speaking in English so he would learn, and now he really understands me!
Christy with her host parents
The family also has a daughter who is not far away in age from me, so we are more like sisters. She spoke a little English when I first arrived, but I have been teaching her more along the way, especially with grammar corrections. During the day she usually goes off with her friends, so all I really help her with is improving her English skills or hanging out with her and her friends.
My typical day consists of household chores (such as laundry, dishes, or cleaning), taking the son to the beach, and preparing family meals. I usually get an hour or two during the day to myself. In the evenings I am not technically working, however, I still spend my time with the family and helping if needed.
Because I am not required to work on the weekends, I spent three out of my five weekends here traveling around the country. I have been to Cinque Terre, Florence, Venice, and Rome. My sister is studying in Florence so on the weekends we meet up with each other to travel and it has been a lot of fun.
My first two weekends I spent at home with the family and it was a blast, so when I go away I definitely miss them. However, I feel because I am in a foreign country with such great history, it would be a crime not to visit these tourist places. Of course, people instill the fear in you of traveling alone in a foreign country, but I really was not too concerned because I spend a lot of solo travel time during the year because I attend college 3,000 miles away from home.
However, there were obviously some things I still kept out for that are always important, such as carrying bags close to your body and not looking lost because it makes you look like a target to others.
After this program, I will return home for a few weeks and then return back to college. I cannot even fathom what my life will be like without the constant Italian language around me and my new family and friends behind me.
I truly could stay here forever, but I know in the future I will without a doubt come back.
My advice to anyone considering this work abroad program is just do it! Forget the hesitations and things others are telling you; this experience has truly been life changing and I think this exposure has taught me many priceless things.
GeoVisions' staff is more than helpful and willing to allow you to have the best experience possible.