January 26, 2017 marked the official date that I have returned to the motherland. Yep, this time I managed to secure myself a student visa and I find myself once again living in a dream world here in Firenze.
After spending much time needed with family in Canada over the Christmas/New Year break, I started the process again to get a visa for another year…(with intentions to stay longer) Since the previous ‘working holiday’ visa is only available once in a lifetime for Canadians and only valid for 365 days, there was no way around getting a fresh new type of visa. I began the process of getting organized as soon as I got home to Toronto. I enrolled in an Italian language course in Firenze (why not improve my skills right?) got the other usual documents in order (proof of accommodation, proof of financial stability, health insurance, and letter of enrollment from the school) and made my appointment at the dreaded Italian Consulate in Toronto. Surprisingly, everything went really smoothly and my new student visa was delivered to my parent’s home on January 17th. Done and done.
Avventura Italia 2.0 has started off well. Upon arriving here in Firenze, I got my documents in order to apply for the permesso di soggiorno. Filling out the form was a bit of a headache…it’s really complicated and is written in very formal Italian. My advice to you if you are planning to go through this process, is to get a native Italian speaker (or lawyer) to help you fill it out. Took my completed form and copies of my passport, visa, insurance, letter of enrollment and proof of accommodation to the Poste Italiane and was given my appointment date and time for the questura. There must be a lot of people trying to get their permesso because the first available date and time was May 18, 2017. Nothing more to do now until my appointment in May.
In the meantime, my language classes have begun and I’ve also secured a part-time teaching job at a school. Icing on the cake, I also have 6 private students to supplement my income. Private lessons, in my opinion, are crucial in order to make enough money to live comfortably. Last year I tried to use the internet to entice private students, but I found that the best marketing for teachers is word of mouth. One student tells another student, who has 2 other friends looking for English lessons. Italy is very much a social society. Sure, telephones and internet are important, but for most Italians they want that personal touch. Talking to and meeting people in person is the only way to spread word.
This year will be a little different while trying to juggle school, work and leisure, but I’m just happy to be back…feels like I never left actually. Still very much in love with Firenze and Italy. The honeymoon continues.
Looking forward to keeping the blogs updated – please feel free to comment with questions or suggestions…
Until the next blog.