Signing up to volunteer to teach English to a family in Italy was the best decision I've ever made in my life. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. It was everything I wanted out of this experience! I also could not have been placed with a better family! They were AMAZING people and we still keep in touch! The family was extremely welcoming and I felt at home immediately. I am welcome back at any time. I am actually in the process of planning a trip back, hopefully permanently!
I also made so many friends! They were all more than happy to show me around their city and introduce me to their friends and families as well. I keep in contact with many of them, and they are begging me to come back. I would be more than happy to host them here in America if they would want to visit! Anytime I travel I always get suggestions of things to do from locals. I prefer this over touristy suggestions on the internet. It's a completely different and unique way to experience a city! I also suggest walking to most places at first, it helps you memorize landmarks and with becoming familiar with a city. By the end of my trip I was giving directions to people who needed help!
It did take me about a week or so to get completely familiar with the European train systems, but the family was just a call away if I had any questions and were incredibly helpful. (If you are already familiar with New York train systems then this might be easier for you to figure out). After I became comfortable with the train system in Italy I was able to use other European train systems without any problems. Google Maps was also a huge help in telling me exactly which train I needed to be on.
I would also like to add that I am a solo female traveler and had no issues with safety. I flew, took busses, and trains to other countries by myself, and I would do this a million times over! Traveling solo as a female was a very freeing and empowering feeling. You can learn a lot about yourself, you realize you can do absolutely anything you want to do. I encourage more women to try more experiences like this, and not let fear hold you back from creating some amazing memories and building confidence!
Thank you GeoVisions for providing opportunities like this and pairing me with an amazing family who will be part of my life forever!