Finding work in Italy

My experience with finding work in Italy is mostly positive. Despite Italy having a high unemployment rate, especially compared to the UK, I feel it hasn’t been awfully difficult finding work in Italy. Although it depends on what type of employment you are searching for. Now if I wanted to carry on with my current career (wildlife conservation or ecology) I think I would have a much more difficult time. However, my plan for my first year was simply to find a job. Seek employment, bring in some money, learn Italian in my free time, and then in a years time re-evaluate. I was hoping my Italian in one year of living there would be sufficient to seek employment in the field I want.

That has what led me to teaching English as a foreign language. I already had a TEFL qualification from 2017 which I have never used. I have a degree (not in English studies of course) and I speak English at a mother tongue level. All of the qualifications needed for a EFL teacher in Italy.

Applying for jobs

This part was relatively straight forward. I google’d ‘English Language Schools in Bari’ and opened up the web pages for every single one of them. I looked for any application forms (and applied for the two that did have application forms). For the rest, I literally sent off a CV and a cover email to every single one of them, even if they weren’t advertising positions.

After just a few days, I had replies back off three different schools. One of them didn’t have any jobs going as a teacher in the school but she was looking for someone to help with the younger children (but I would need a car). And I had another two offering me an interview.

The interview

Actually, both interviews were pleasant. The interviews were both more of an informal style chat on Skype. Both ladies interviewing me were absolutely amazing, super nice, very warm and I had fun. That is not something that is often said about interviews – they are usually fear-inducing meetings that make your skin crawl with anxiety.

The interviewers both started off with asking me to tell them about myself. Now when they ask you to tell them about yourself, they usually don’t want you to tell them about yourself. I am sure they don’t want to know what I ate for dinner, what my hobbies are, and what I did when I was 12 years old. They want to know where I have worked and what qualifications I have. Both interviewers asked about my experience (or lack of in this case) which I elaborated on other job roles and the skills I learned during them which are important for teaching (patience, attention to detail, planning etc.)

The rest of the interview was spent talking about the school, the curriculum, the age of students that they teach, and covered stuff about actually living in Italy such as travelling, my level of Italian etc.

The first school said they needed to get in touch with their partner school but would be in touch. The second school said that when I arrive in Italy to get in contact and I can come in, visit the school and we can talk about contracts and salary.

What next?

Well this is still a work in progress. I am still hoping to hear off some more schools. I need to hear back off the first school I interviewed with (this one is in Santo Spirito so is close to home).

I will keep you all updated on my progress, so keep an eye out if you want to see how it goes.

82 days to go! 82!!

82 days, 11 weeks or just under 3 months left before move date. So far I have organised.. well absolutely zero. I have applied for two jobs in total. I have started to organise my clothes, I have some boxes ready to pack. I actually did pack my large suitcase (full of my winter clothes) which is probably going to need to be condensed even further. I honestly thought I’d be a lot more prepared than this. My Italian is still around that A2/B1 level and doesn’t seem to be improving so much lately.

Now I am a person that likes to be well organised, months in advance, so you can imagine the level of stress this is having on me. When I think of how unprepared I actually am, I start to hyperventilate. But really, there is not a lot I can do.

The one thing I have managed to achieve is to research fully the process of actually moving there. But now that is done and my Italian seems to not be progressing, I have zero motivation anymore. So my days are filled with mindless scrolling through social media and watching youtube videos and Netflix. ARGH! HELP!

It’s time to hit reset. So here goes. Time to make a list of all the things I need to do. And then get it done!

The secret of getting things done is to act!

Dante Alighieri

TO DO LIST.

  • Sort out my wardrobe (box things to donate/sell). Set aside stuff to take. THIS NEEDS TO ALL FIT INTO TWO SUITCASES!
  • Sort out my books! Why do I have so many books? Why? I don’t even read half of them. I will donate most of these to charity shops, and maybe try to sell some of my old nursing textbooks. I will be keeping all of my Italian books, and probably a selection of my recipe books.
  • Sort out and box my kitchen stuff – this is all in storage in my brother’s attic, and at the moment I am not allowed to go there due to our lock-down restrictions. Hmm.. dilemma.
  • Sort out my make-up and toiletries. This I actually did manage to achieve! YAY, GO ME! YOU ARE A STRONG, CAPABLE WOMAN AND CAN ACHIEVE THINGS! Ok ok… next…
  • Sort out all of my papers and notebooks (I have so much stuff leftover from uni. Why do I even need this?) A lot of this will be shredded and recycled. Some of then notebooks I may be able to salvage, even though I only really use my iPad to take notes now.
  • Miscellaneous items: Electronics, decorative items, and all the other stuff. This is probably the hardest section to tackle.
  • Research the best way to box up my PC. I have done a bit of this already, but I need to find the best method and to purchase any packaging material I may need. My PC will probably be one of the last things I pack, to be honest.
  • I need to do a dummy round of packing my stuff and weighing it, to get accurate quotes from the shipping company I will be using which is Pack link. I already got estimated quotes and I was pleasantly surprised with how cheap they were. My partner used this company when he moved to Spain and he recommended them.
  • SELL/DONATE all unwanted items. If I have items to sell, I need to do this fairly quickly, as they may take some time to sell.
  • I would like to get my boxes (to ship over) sorted by at least the 17th of August (apart from my PC). So this gives me… 10 weeks exactly from today.
  • Keep improving my Italian! I would love to get to a confident B1 level before moving, but I’m not sure this is attainable within the next 11 weeks. But I will try my darn hardest!
  • Exchange my money! I have no idea how I am going to do this! Really. I know there are some things you can use like transfer wise but I might just transfer it all to cash as I do not have a bank account in Italy yet. If I am transferring it to cash, I may need to do this in several transactions as I am not currently sure on the limit – CHECK THIS OUT ASAP!
  • Speaking of bank accounts.. which one do I want to use? I was torn between two choices. So I will try to decide between them. This doesn’t need to be done right away though.
  • Apply for more jobs (there are another 3 language schools I wanted to apply for) and finish the application for one of the schools which I have started (need to rewrite my CV for this). This needs to be done ASAP.
  • TODAY I am going to go through this list and try to organise it into relevant time frames, prioritising important tasks such as applying for jobs, more research etc. I may edit this post when it is done!

BTW, if anyone knows any decent resources for selling stuff (in the UK) like clothing, please leave a comment. I would be super-duper grateful. Otherwise, this will be me going to the airport in August!

How to move to Italy.

Always dreamed of a life in ‘Il bel paese’? Want to make the move but don’t know how? I was in the same situation just a few months ago. Here is all of the information I have managed to gather over the past year.

Do I need a visa?

This depends entirely on where you are travelling from. If you are travelling from the EU then I am sure you already know, the answer is no. You do not. If you are travelling from outside of the EU (or are from the UK like myself) then the answer may change.

As of the 31st of January 2020, the UK has formally left the EU. We are no longer a part of it. However, currently we are still within the transition period. The transition period runs until December 31st 2020. This transition period is too allow both the UK and the EU to establish a new fair trade agreement. After the transition period has ended, the UK will leave the single market and customs union. During this transition period the UK will still follow all EU rules and will maintain the same trading relationship. This also means that until December 31st 2020 we have nearly the same rights as we did before leaving the EU, including moving to countries within the EU and gaining residency. After December, all current residents in Italy will be allowed to remain in the country. This means that we have until the 31st of December to sort out all of our affairs, get residency, exchange driving licenses etc.

After the transition period then we will likely be classified as a non-EU country and will have to follow the same rules as other non-EU countries.

To live and work in Italy as a non-EU citizen then you need to have a visa and a work permit.

Work visa’s can be granted for employment, seasonal work that is related to either agriculture or tourism, scientific research, sporting activities and some other reasons related to employment. You can also get a visa for study, medical care, tourism, religion or other reasons, these visa’s do not permit you to work.

The work permit you will need to work will be completed by your employer in Italy. They will need to show a copy of your i.d documents (such as passport), a work contract, proof of accommodation, and evidence of your residence contract.

There is also the blue card for highly skilled workers. More information on that can be found out here.

Once you have a visa to live and work in Italy, your family can also apply for a visa under family reunification.

I posted a bit about the process of getting the permesso di soggiorno here.

Renting or buying a house?

Housing prices and rental prices vary vastly depending on the region you are searching for. It is important to do your research when looking for which region you want to locate to. As I am moving for a specific purpose, I have never looked up rental prices or housing prices in any other region except for Puglia. And specifically within the city of Bari in Puglia.

Rental prices vary but probably the more expensive areas are Milan, Florence and Rome.

Within cities, most of the places will be apartments or an appartamento. In Italy, apartments to rent are advertised by number of rooms monolocale, bilocale, trilocale etc. A monolocale is like a typical studio apartment in other countries. You usually have a kitchen and a bedroom/living room in one room and a bathroom. Within a bilocale the bedroom and living room is usually separate.

Rented accommodation usually comes either furnished or unfurnished.

I will be posting more about renting property in Italy in a later post.

How about healthcare?

Healthcare in Italy is generally excellent. And free to all residents in Italy. The public healthcare system in Italy is called the Servizio Sanitorio Nazionale (SSN) and you can register for it once you have your permesso di soggiorno. You sign up for the SSN in your local Azienda sanitaria locale (ASL). Once you are registered for the SSN you obtain your Tessera Sanitaria and chose your family doctor (Medico di base).

If you are employed in Italy then you will be eligible for mandatory registration, however, if you are not then you will have to pay a voluntary contribution. You will be able to find out if you are able to get mandatory registration at your local ASL. The form you get given to register for the SSN will need to be filled in and then payed for at the post office. From what I can gather, most things you need to pay for are done at the post office.

It is possible to find English speaking doctors however, you will need to research this. I find that if you ask on expat groups (in facebook) or on forums, a lot of expats from the area will be able to advise you on this.

Opening a bank account.

Just like in the UK, there are various types of bank accounts you can open in Italy. Conto corrente is a current bank account, and this is the standard type of bank account that people use for their day-to-day activities. Another common bank account is a chequing account or assegno.

Other bank accounts include joint bank accounts or Conto corrente cointestato, savings accounts Conto di risparmio and deposit accounts Conto di deposito which is similar to a savings account but with less flexibility and a higher interest rate. Bank accounts in Italy are generally not free, and you will have to pay a fee for them. All bank accounts charge different amounts so it is important to do your research on them.

To open a bank account in Italy you need to have your codice fiscale which is your tax code.

Getting a mobile phone

You can either get a pre-paid sim card called a ricaricabile or a mobile contract abbonamento. This contract is usually at a fixed monthly rate and is either a contract for 12 months or 24 months. With the pre-paid sim card you must top up your phone with vouchers ricariche which can be bought at stores, tobacconists, bars, magazine shops, ATM’s or at the store or website of the provider. Like with bank accounts, you need to have your codice fiscale to purchase a pre-paid sim card or to get a mobile phone contract.

The most popular providers in Italy are TIM, Vodafone, WIND, Fastweb or 3. All of these providers offer different packages and services so it is better to research them first to find the best deal for you.

Transport in Italy.

Trains are very cheap in Italy. Especially the regional trains (which are also slower). You can buy train tickets at the station (at the desk or at the machine) or you can also buy tickets online through mobile phone apps.

Trains are either run by Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane or by Italo.

Types of trains are Eurostar Italia or Frecce services, which are considered the fastest. Seat reservations are mandatory on these services. Intercity (IC and IC+) run across most of Italy and between cities and Large towns. You can either book first or second class on these trains. On intercity + seat reservations are mandatory but are included in the price of the ticket. And finally Regionale trains are the ones that stop in all of the smaller towns. These are cheaper in price but because they stop off in all of the small towns, they are much slower than the other train services.

Using a car in Italy can be expensive, petrol is generally quite expensive, most roads in Italy are very poor (in comparison to the UK) unless you are travelling on the Autostrada. And in my opinion, it is definitely true what they say about Italian drivers. They will force their way out into traffic, usually putting out their arm to let drivers know they are doing this.

If you are buying a car in Italy then you need to tax, MOT and insure it. Car tax (Bollo) is mandatory and you must keep the receipt in case you are stopped by the police. There is a fine if you fail to produce this. An MOT or Revisione is also required on all cars older than 4 years old. These are only required once every two years unlike in the UK where you have to do this every year.

Insurance cover will differ in cost depending on type of insurance (Casco or Responsibilità civile). The first is fully comprehensive and is very expensive, most people opt for the second which is third party. You can also add on fire and theft (incendio, furto).

Foreigners in Italy can drive for one year on their driving license but after that need to switch it over to an Italian driving license. If you are from an EU member state then you do not need to resit your driving test for this, however, if your country does not have a reciprocal agreement (USA, Canada, Australia) then you will need to sit an Italian driving test.

If you are stopped by the police in Italy then you need to produce the following documents:

  • Identification document (passport or i.d.)
  • Driving license
  • Car tax receipt
  • Insurance (at least third party)
  • Logbook (libretto) with the MOT
  • A yellow luminous jacket.

It is important you carry these documents on you at all times when driving in Italy.

There are several books you can purchase that will provide a lot more detailed information. I have personally only read the moon living book which was great, although I feel it was a little more focused towards Americans.

Moon Living Abroad Italy, 4th edition
Times New Roman
The real guide to living in Italy.

Change of date.

This post is going to be fairly brief. But we have been discussing the date of me moving to Italy and sadly have decided to extend this until at least the end of August. I have changed the counter on my page to reflect this. I was so sad seeing it go from 60 days to 113 days but it makes sense really. The whole of the world is shut down now due to this massive epidemic. We don’t know how long this is going to go on for. In fact, the current date will likely change again, depending on what happens. Yes Italy are slowly relaxing their lock down. No the UK are not. Wales has just extended it’s lock-down for another three weeks. My flights out to Italy at the end of May have been cancelled. I re-booked them for June. Even if these are not cancelled, I think trying to get everything sorted in one month with the country still not quite fully out of its lock-down will be nearly an impossible task.

This also gives me more time to save up. As I have not been working for the past couple of weeks due to self-isolating, it means I have fallen a little behind in my saving schedule. So more time to save is a bonus.

Also the lock-down means all of the language schools are closed down too. As I am hoping to get a job teaching English, this is another task that is impossible at the moment. Trying to find a job will simply have to wait. Extending the moving date gives me more time to allow the language schools to reopen and start taking applications again.

Dreaming of Italy? Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of it.

Dreaming of walking through tiny, bustling streets of a beautiful Italian city? Sipping a caffè stood at a bar, watching the locals going about their daily business? Going to the local Panificio to buy warm focaccia with the sweetest cherry tomatoes on top. Travelling to Italy is really a dream, and gives you a fantasy of this idyllic lifestyle. However, the differences between holidaying somewhere and living there can be astronomical. This is something I am becoming increasingly aware of as I go through this process of moving to Italy.

Italy was never a dream of mine. In fact, it never even entered the equation. I had never wanted to go to Italy, not even to Rome. I was somewhat naively thrown into this country when I met Alberto. However, my first visit to Bari changed this. Walking down the narrow little streets of the old town, gazing at the magnificent ceiling in the Basilica di San Nicola, visiting Castello Svevo, eating focaccia, the closeness of families in Puglia, the warmness of its people, my first true Italian pizza. All of these things enthralled me. I completely fell in love. So when we decided the only option was for me to move to Italy, it was not such a hard decision for me to make.

So how do I do it?

How do I move to Italy? What is the process? How do I become a resident? How do I find a job? How do I open a bank account, get a mobile phone, pay my bills? How do I do my shopping when I can’t even speak the language? These are all questions that have plagued me since I made that decision. And these are all things I have researched over and over.

I am still not entirely sure on the answer to all of these questions but the most important thing seems to be getting the permesso di soggiorno and codice fiscale. As well as registering for the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale.

First off the Permesso di soggiorno or permit to stay. This is basically your registration card that says your allowed to stay in the country. This is applied for at the local post office and requires a number of steps.

First you get your packet and you fill in the forms. You need to get a Marca da Bollo, which you can get from a local Tabaccheria. You bring the packet, the Marca da Bollo and your passport to the post office and pay the required fees. €40 – 100 for the packet, €16 for the Marca da Bollo, €30 for the Assicurata Postale and €30.46 for printing the Permesso di soggiorno. This gets sent off to the local Questura and you get given a receipt for the Assicurata as well as a receipt for the bolletino, and an appointment at the local Questura. You must keep these receipts as the Questura will ask for them both during your appointment (as well as 2 passport sized photos), and they are also proof of your immigration registration, so you need to travel with these at all time until you get your card. After your appointment, your card will be sent to the local commissariato di polizia and you will be given a time for when you can pick this up. This whole process can take up to 6 months.

The codice fiscale is a lot more simple to get. It basically is your tax code. Italians are assigned these at birth. You need this for a number of services including a bank account. You can apply for it before hand at your Italian consulate or at any Agenzia delle entrate in Italy. This is free.

Healthcare. This is provided by the SNN. If you have a visa to live in Italy then a requirement of that is health insurance. If you are from the EU you can access the SNN using your EHIC card. Once you have your Permesso di soggiorno you can join the healthcare system. There is a cost to this I believe. I do not really know too much about this yet.

As for bank accounts, mobile phones etc. I am still researching this. But will likely do a blog post about these, and as well as finding property to rent in future posts.

Why am I moving to Italy?

Hi guys. As this is my first blog post I thought I would give you a little insight into why I am moving to Italy and the whole thought process behind it.

So why?

Well basically… I met a guy. He is Italian. And it goes on from there.

So me and Alberto have been in a long-distance relationship for nearly three years. Crazy huh? This involves a lot of creativity in keeping our relationship intimate. And no, I don’t just mean in ‘that way’. Dirty buggers! I mean… finding ways to do things that all couples do, like watching a TV show together. We do this on Netflix usually by the way. At the moment we’re watching a great show called Shtisel, which we are both loving. And it’s in Hebrew, or Yiddish. I don’t recall which one, or even if there is a difference? One thing I do know though is that it is a language neither of us speak! We like to synch this up together during a voice call on discord, which usually involves Alberto counting down from 3, in an array of languages. Ok ok, just two languages. English or Italian. Luckily my Italian is now good enough to be able to count down from three.

Anyway, I am not going to bore you with details of our long-distance relationship. It has been tough at times, but we survived it. And I got to visit a beautiful country a whole heap load of times. Bonus.

 “Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life.”

Anna Akhmatova

I don’t even remember when we had decided we were going to live together. Him moving to the UK though was not really an option. So Alberto graduated Med School in February 2019 (I hope that is right? I am pretty sure he would kill me if it wasn’t). Since graduating med school, he had to do some crazy exam along with all of the other recent med graduates in Italy. This huge exam was to gain a place in a residency. Basically, whoever scores the highest gets to pick their residency first. Alberto of course is super intelligent, and did fairly well in this. So he managed to get the residency in his hometown. He is now doing this for the next 5 years. So therefore, the only option was for me to move to Italy.

Who wouldn’t want to move to Italy though? Great food, fantastic weather, beautiful architecture… its a dream right?

So we set a date. This date has changed several times in the process. First we had decided when I graduated from my Msc, then we changed it til later. And then even later. It currently stands at the beginning of July. On a Monday, as it is my father’s day off work and he can drive me to the airport. I think the provisional date I set was July 6th.

2020-07-06T16:58:00

  days

  hours  minutes  seconds

until

Moving to Italy!

Aaaaaaaah. At the time of writing this, there is 61 days until that date! Crazy. There is so much to do in the mean time.

Unfortunately, due to this global epidemic that is going on at the moment, that provisional date is highly likely to change. We are just waiting at the moment for any news of the lock-down in both Italy and the UK ending. So fingers crossed. I will keep you guys updated.

By the way. If you want some insight into the place I am going to be living. It is a city called Bari, which is the capital city of Puglia, a region in the South of Italy, right on the heel of the country pretty much. You can see it where the red balloon is on the map below.

Bari is a beautiful city on the coast. There are loads of beaches around, and a big port in Bari. And the old town is absolutely stunning. It is also one of the largest cities in the area, so has plenty to do. A lot of shops, bars and restaurants. Hopefully it will also be convenient for me to find a job there as well.

I have inserted a random picture I found online of Bari just for reference. In no way is this my own photograph, frankly I am definitely not that talented. So thanks google image search and lonelyplanet.com for the snap. Very grateful!

Image by Michal Ludwiczak / Getty Images