What I learned during my teaching internship in Italy

Educational Studies
January 10, 2023

To fulfill a 100-hour internship required for the education studies major, Anna Hollenbaugh ’23 took a creative route and interned with a summer camp in Italy.

During Hollenbaugh’s monthlong internship with the English Camp Company, a language immersion camp in Assisi, Italy, she learned teaching methods, worked with young children, and traveled to small towns throughout the country. Hollenbaugh saw this as a “great opportunity to gain teaching experience in an abroad setting and be able to compare those experiences with the ones I’ve had in a U.S. context.”

Hollenbaugh shares reflections from her internship here:

My job as a tutor was to start off the day by conducting an English lesson for my class of six- to eight-year-olds. During the second half of the day, tutors and their classes came together to play camp games such as massive Rock Paper Scissors, Don’t Flinch, and Corners.

The daily routine was in place for the full two-week camp, culminating on the last day when the kids performed the Final Show, a five-minute performance they created. All the campers’ parents came to watch. It was so rewarding to see all the results of all the hard work the campers put into the previous two weeks!

I felt well-trained to meet the various responsibilities of being a tutor in the program. For instance, prior to camp starting, I participated in a four-day orientation. The orientation days were set up to mimic a daily schedule of camp.

We started each day by forming a big circle and singing camp songs and playing fun games, then we headed inside and learned useful techniques for teaching English. This was primarily done by learning various games that reinforced the English lesson of the day.

Along with teaching methods, we learned what to expect with our host families. There were many cultural differences and we spent time discussing what these might be and how to live and work together.

On the last day of orientation, they assigned us to our locations, who would be in our groups, and who our host family would be. I was assigned to Pesaro and Folignio.

Families with a child attending the camp shared their homes with the tutors, hosting them for duration of the camp. It was a great way to bond with the kids and learn Italian culture. My host family welcomed me into their home with open arms and made me feel so comfortable.

On the weekends, the families would plan day trips and take us to see their favorite sites around Italy. During one of these excursions I deepened my love for pasta through making homemade gnocchi!

At other times, I would join the other tutors to explore the towns. It was great meeting new people from all over Italy who all had different interests and career paths. I also appreciated getting to talk to the other tutors, some whom were already teachers, and learn about their practiced strategies for language instruction and classroom management. They became great resources for help in the classroom. Our tutor groups would also arrange times to meet at a restaurant or central location and talk about how we could best organize lessons and camp experiences.

The friends and people I met through the English Camp Company made the experience so amazing. As a tutor I spent so much time either bonding with my host family or hanging out and planning lessons with the other tutors. When the month came to an end I was sad to say ‘ciao’ to all the friendships I made.

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