I fell in love with Italy when I first went there at aged 18. The sun, the food, the stunning views and the beautiful italian language is wonderful to be immersed in. There’s something about those narrow cobbled streets and the laid back italian way of life that captivates me.

With summer camps I had my own class and with a whole week, or sometimes two for camps, I got more time to bond with the children and get to know them and goodness me did I meet some characters! I felt so proud watching my classes perform in the final show to their friends and family at the end of the camp. It was such an achievement for them as well as me. When I could see the italian bambini enjoying english and having fun with it, that’s when I knew I was doing my job well. But not only do they learn english, they also learn to socialise, work as a team and about culture differences. It felt to me that the children really are the heart of the ACLE family.

It was so rewarding to see the children’s faces as I told them to move their desks to the side of the classroom. I would point at the table and chairs and make an “eurgh!!!” noise, with a language barrier this was often very effective- their faces would light up. From what I experienced, learning through doing, is alien to these children. They usually sit at desks and memorise to learn. I felt so passionate about ACLEs methods of teaching English that I knew summer camps would be just a valuable experience for me.

Generosity is one of my favourite trait of italians. For summer camps I stayed with host families, some of which I am still in contact with now. I had families welcome me into their homes and treat me like a daughter. One host mum took me to the opera in Verona Arena, definitely a highlight of mine. They were so eager to speak english with me and sometimes the parents would help me with my Italian in return! They were so interested in me and my life and asked many questions from what my home and family are like to discussing politics and the royal family! I have met so many people I will never forget.

Pizza, pasta, piazzas and Duomo’s. Bell towers, lakes, mountains and beaches. Bed and Breakfasts, Right hand driving, road rage, early starts and daily encounters with language barriers. All these words sum up my time with ACLE in Italy perfectly and I wouldn’t change a thing.

By the end of my time with ACLE I didn’t feel like a tourist anymore, I felt like I belonged in this country. It was the hardest thing I have ever done but also the best. It was with a heavy heart that I said “Ciao Italia” when my plane flew up into the sky. But I know I will be back one day.


Alice Pegram

ACLE Tutor 2015

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