Finding Work in Italy

When my wife and I arrived here in April 2015 I spoke a grand total of about five words of Italian. Justine was a bit better, she had completed an online course, and could generally make herself understood. Six months later and I can now understand most conversations although I’m only getting every other word, and I can speak a few pigeon Italian ones too. Justine seems to be miles ahead of me, and can get by as long as she knows the context.

Not being able to speak the language is a major drawback when looking for work in any country. However, as neither of us wanted to back to working in an office, it wasn’t as crucial as it could have been. To be honest, we spent the first 4 months just relaxing, working on the house, and networking with local Italians and fellow ex-pats.

There soon came a point though that we needed to start looking for something in earnest. So, where to start? There are a few options if you don’t speak the language, you can work for other ex-pats, or you can do some sort of remote working. We’ve found that as long as you don’t want a ‘normal’ job then a combination of the two works best.

The first thing to do is make a list of all the skills and experience you have, and then work you way through prioritising a) what you’d like to do, and b) what is likely for you to be able to do. Then break it down into categories: what is expat type work, what is local type work, and what is a mixture of the two.

Expat Type Work

Computers – A lot of expats are from the older generation, and without meaning to be disrespectful, they generally aren’t very IT literate. You could offer courses or fix simple problems.

Teaching – How about putting your experience to use by teaching a course on what you know. A fair few expats have a lot of time on their hands, and often attend courses to keep themselves busy. Whether you have knowledge of art, computers, or writing there will generally be enough people interested to then be able to create a Summer (or Winter) course.

Property Management – A lot of expats do this type of work, generally because it means you have very little need to be able to speak the local language. This type of work can range from simply cleaning and prepping someone’s holiday apartment to running an absent owner’s letting business.

Local/Mix Type Work

Teaching English – Teaching English as a second language (TEFL/TESL) is probably the occupation that most expats start out doing, especially young ones. Some universities also offer their students courses run in English on a variety of subjects. So, the teaching section from above might also fit in here.

Cooking – One thing that seems to be common amongst expats is that they miss their national dishes. And I must admit, there are times when I would kill for a proper steak and kidney pie, or even something that was close would do. If you have a modicum of talent in the kitchen, then you will have an endless supply of customers for things like UK style bread, apple pie, or any type of pei come to think about it.

The other type of work you may consider is Remote Working or Freelancing. This is one of the things that both my wife and I have taken up recently. The pay isn’t the best to start with, but then you are generally sitting in the comfort of your own home, with no commute, and very little expense outlay. There are a 1001 different types of jobs available as a Freelancer ranging from simple data entry to ghost-writing novels. Both my wife and I have experience in writing, so we have been able to pick up some work fairly quickly.

Well, there you have it, these are just some ideas to get your brain working on what sort of things you can do to keep the wolf from the door. Some of them will work for you, some of them won’t, but hopefully it has given you some ideas of your own. Please let me know if you think of anything that I may have missed.


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