Western Europe has always been a bit of a tease in the world of TEFL: it’s easy to visit, great for a study abroad term, but a hard place for non-Europeans to actually get a job. Why is that?

It’s simple really, if you think about it. In the EU, there’s a lot of competition for EFL teaching jobs with qualified, native English speaking UK citizens (who can currently work legally throughout the region). That makes it harder for foreign teachers, like Americans, to secure a work visa. I had this experience when I finished my teaching contract in Morocco and headed to Spain to work. I ended up staying only three months there, since that was the duration of my tourist visa, and at that time (a few years back) I couldn’t find a school willing to sponsor me for a work visa.

So what exactly does that mean for non-Europeans wanting to teach in Europe? Is it completely out of reach? Definitely not! Eastern European countries are always a good option for teachers from the U.S., Canada, and other non-EU countries, but even some  Western European countries are easier when it comes to foreigners getting hired. Italy is one example.

Bridge certifies teachers via 4-week, classroom-based TEFL courses in Florence and Sardinia, Italy (as well as other countries worldwide). We spoke with the coordinator for these locations, to get the real scoop on job prospects for American graduates of the TEFL courses in Italy.  Here’s what he had to say:

Is it possible for a U.S. citizen to get a teaching job after completing the TEFL course in Italy? 

The job placement situation is not nearly as difficult as people seem to read or think. The reality is that there is such a huge demand for TEFL-trained teachers here in Italy that they all find work very quickly.

Is there any chance of getting a work visa from a hiring EFL school?

Yes! Schools are also willing to go through the process of initiating work visas if the teacher is planning to stay beyond a year or two. Our job placement in Florence is outstanding and we are fortunate because schools contact us with job openings before they are even posted because they know the quality of our program.

What other ways can a non-European teacher work in Italy?

Some of our students come on student visas (which we issue) and this means they can work legally. Others just come as tourists and are hired as language consultants (our school in Florence hires people this way).

So if Western Europe is your TEFL destination of choice and you’ve gotten discouraged from the research you’ve done online, take heart– getting TEFL certified in Italy might be just the option you’re looking for.