OZITALY: a cultural exchange programme that connects Italian-speaking and English-speaking worlds
Native English speakers are in constant demand in Italy, and this incredible initiative is one way to connect the Italian-speaking and English-speaking worlds. If you have ever considered an extended period of time abroad, then this could be for you.
‘OZITALY’, the work of Francesca Breda, seeks to unite Australian English speakers (tutors) with host families in Italy’s Veneto region by bringing about language exchanges for adults. “I wanted to create a connection, a sort of "bridge" between Italy and Australia because I couldn't decide where I wanted to live my life, “ says Francesca. “When I was in Italy I always missed something about Australia and when I was in Australia I always missed something about Italy. I love the idea of being constantly exposed to both cultures, and keeping in touch with both realities.”
The premise of the exchange is quite simple: “a full immersion experience, authentic, intense and inexpensive,” she tells me. Australian ‘tutors’ travel to Italy and live with a host family for 1, 2 or 3 months at a time. Tutors share in the rhythm of daily life with their host families, who provide food and board in exchange for 8 hours of English lessons a week. Tutors are free to enjoy themselves and explore their new Italian surroundings around their tutoring schedule. This could be the first stepping-stone to a new career in teaching, or perhaps even a ‘taster’ for those of you considering a more permanent move to Italy.
To some this might seem a daunting process – but that’s where Francesca’s personalised exchange program is unmatched. “I personally select and match host families from Italy and tutors from Australia. I get to know them, talk to them and try to find out what their needs and their expectations are. The interaction between the family and the tutor is extremely important for me, as it is the starting point for a rich and successful cultural exchange. I consider this experience as a unique treat for tutors, in Italian we would say a "chicca". I basically want to try to use my life experience to help others "contaminate" each other, as it happened to me,” Francesca explains.
OZITALY provides a complete service to support you through the transition from door to door. What could be better than losing yourself in Italy, enjoying the creature comforts of home, while relishing in the freedom and liberty of independent travel? “By taking part in this exchange programme, tutors have the chance to fully appreciate Italy, in its wholeness. I am sure that tutors will take a piece of Italy with them when they go back to Australia.”
Who could ask for anything more?