When I first started ACLE in the year 2017 aged 18. I almost couldn’t believe it, I had no idea what to expect, I was so nervous that my Mum came to Italy with me, to “hand me over” personally (mums). Then finally, I arrived in Italia, Bella ciao ciao ciao. The first week is orientation where I met people from all over the world this week is spent getting to know each other, bonding and training but then you blink, and the week is over! Everyone’s crying their eyes out. (Note to self; “Don’t be sad that it’s over be glad that it happened”) Let the journey begin!

My first camp was set in Leno, not far from Lago di Garda (lucky me). I had a class of level 6 and I remember feeling anxious, mainly because I’m 5ft I thought they’d eat me alive (they didn’t) but really because I just couldn’t wait, all the excitement bursting to come out and, in the end, it all paid off. They did it, they created their own script, rehearsed and performed a masterpiece for their parents. What makes me so proud till this day is breaking that barrier of superiority and saying, actually “teach me, and I will teach you.” That’s what ACLE is about. (Note to self; “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will”)


I don’t think anyone forgets their first camp or first host family, I certainly didn’t. (Thank you, Elisa). During the summer, you will stay with many different families, always be open and never expect the same thing. One family certainly changed my life (literally). Whilst in Finale Emilia I stayed with an amazing family (Rossi family). We just all seemed to click very well. A WEEK after I left, they called me back and I went. I kept in touch for 3 years and kept visiting. We have spent birthdays, Christmas, summer together. I was also offered a job in Italy as a teacher and the Rossi family, stepped right in, picking me up from airports helping me move in, picking me up on Fridays so I’m not alone on weekends and so I am thankful to them; Giorgio, Deborah, Matteo, and Gaia Rossi. My Italian family, because of ACLE the relationship has moved beyond ACLE.



I have met so many amazing families that I still go and visit. They always treat me like a daughter and go above and beyond to make sure I am more than okay. I am thankful for the time taken to get to know me, my family what I like even my Favourite food. All families taught me about their cultures and invited me to see and learn more about their life. I went, horse riding, fishing, went to a witch, medieval, buskers, sports and food festival. (food + Italy = love). I went from a 0 in Italian to a 6. (Si, io palare poco poco). These past few years have taught me so much as an educator and as a student, this is more than experience.

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Teaching is a two-way process, and ACLE is a place where I have been able to adapt and expand this process. Note to self; “Journey faithfully in your truth and trust the process.”


Elizabeth Ariyibi

ACLE Tutor 2019

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