Pizza with authentic buffalo mozzarella, pasta with bacon, eggs, Romano cheese and pepper, and delicious mango gelato. Now that I have your attention...Hello Readers!
My name is Kaz Boschen and I have been living and teaching English abroad to a family in Italy for the past month. I was a sophomore at the University of Delaware, and while UD is an incredible and endlessly fun place, a place where I have met some of my best friends for life, rising education costs for an out-of state New York resident made me think about my future.
Originally I thought I would just transfer to another university for less money, but then I thought this may be a good time to take off from school and do something different. (Ok I’ll admit it, I got denied from Cornell University, the main place I wanted to go.)
Fast forward and you can find me talking to Ann and Ellen at GeoVisions after determining teaching English abroad was something I wanted to try. Their program seemed the best for me. Both Ann and Ellen were extremely helpful, answering my every question, and from there I determined with my schedule and plans that Italy was the best place for me to explore for two months.
Fast forward again and you will find me meeting my host mother at the airport after spending two great weeks volunteering with lowernine.org in New Orleans to assist with Hurricane Katrina disaster relief. Since then, and my first step on Italian soil everything has been nothing short of extraordinary.
My host family, in Rome, consists of a mother, father, daughter, son and two dogs. I typically teach English at night and spend some time with the host mother (sometimes teaching) and sightseeing Rome during the day. The family members are at different levels of English so I conduct my teaching individually at separate times, averaging around 15 hours a week.
Teaching has not always been easy, but I never expected it to be. English is a difficult language, and teaching to a foreigner can be challenging, especially without being able to use certain words or phrases or confusing them more.
I have enjoyed teaching English abroad, and this trip has done exactly what I hoped it would; help me determine whether I enjoy teaching English and whether this is a career path I may be interested in. And the answer to both is yes!
Most importantly, I have met some of the best people in my life. What I will be most grateful for at the end of this experience is getting to know and becoming close with my host family. Unfortunately, this trip and my time in Italy must come to an end, but the friendship and connection I have made with my host family will last a lifetime.
Traveling (particularly alone) can be scary, more for some than others. I am blessed that my family took me on vacations to different cultural destinations like Morocco as a child. On my weekends here I have traveled alone to Milano, Venezia, Toscana, Umbria, Firenze, and Napoli. Each location is unique (and beautiful) and has something of its own to offer, which made every one of my trips fun and enjoyable!
Traveling, whether by yourself or with friends/family, on a vacation or studying, working, or volunteering abroad, will be some of the best experiences of your life. You will learn more about yourself (especially when traveling alone) than you could imagine, and make the strongest memories that will last your lifetime.
I will never forget my first view and initial reaction of Venice when I stepped out Santa Lucia train station, or my 20th, and best birthday yet, in Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel, laughing and smiling as I stared up at Michelangelo’s work on the ceiling, reminding myself of Robin Williams’ (may he rest in peace) memorable talk to a young Matt Damon on a park bench in Good Will Hunting.
I have been lucky enough to do all this while teaching English abroad and finding out more about my life and how I want to live it. This is something I have discovered for a lot less money and something I did not discover at college. So thank you Mangoni Family for graciously opening up your home to me and being some of the best people on Earth, and thank you GeoVisions for connecting me with them and making this whole trip possible.