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Alumni Letter: Erin Hardy

It was over a year ago that I began the adventure of a lifetime; an adventure that became the life I’d always dreamt of having. After graduation I interviewed at several schools, but was unsuccessful in finding a job as a high school Italian teacher. One day while searching for an Italian Master’s program I found an internship called SITE, offering recent college graduates the opportunity to teach English in Italy. Although the project deadline had already passed I decided to send an email asking for information. Call it fate or call it luck, there was one position unfilled at a high school in Milan and I have been working at this high school since January of 2012. My job title is Mother-tongue English language assistant. Like any other teacher I prepare lessons, but unlike many foreign language teachers I do not teach grammar, instead my lessons are designed to provide my Italian students with useful vocabulary and real life situations were grammar comes into play naturally; whether by having them create a telephone dialogue, a commercial, or support their opinions in a heated debate. My students have the advantage of hearing an authentic English speaker with whom they can listen and interact. I also integrate American culture into my lessons. Italian students are passionate about the United States, so I try to incorporate everything from music, literature, politics and history into my lessons. I have had the pleasure of teaching a senior year American history unit, where I had them read and listen to the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, talk to them about subjects such as the constitutional right to bare arms in light of recent and past tragedies the US has faced, September 11th and had them express their opinions on issues such as the death penalty. I have taught lessons ranging from Economics and American government to Christmas vocabulary and why Valentine’s Day is bad for the environment; the list of topics is infinite.

Italy has afforded me many other working opportunities. This past summer I worked for an English summer camp as the director of studies, writing both my own English activity book and creating my own didactic materials. This year, besides working at the high school, I also work at a middle school. Last but not least, Italy have provided me the opportunity to continue my education, as I am currently enrolled in L’Università degli Studi di Milano, working towards a degree in Mediazione Culturale e Linguistica.