English has become the language of commerce, technology and opportunity worldwide. Especially in times of economic distress, Sicilian students crave the opportunity to learn American English (the language of the internet) from native speakers to enhance their educational and employment opportunities. On a typical day, you create your own lesson plans from standard curriculum texts and our Conversational English Teaching Guide, engaging small groups of students in games and diverse interactive activities. In practice conversations, you may discuss North American culture, history, daily lifestyle, sports, and school systems. You might team teach, work one-on-one, or conduct classes on your own – depending on your style and comfort level.
Teach conversational English in Sicily! Volunteers have served in Italian classrooms and small groups as L’amico preferitos” (“favorite friends”) since 1995. Now in partnership with the municipal government of Castelvetrano, Sicily, we’re extending volunteer assistance to students of all ages. You can help teens and young adults to gain new skills and improve their career opportunities. Register for one of the first four service programs now.
Castelvetrano is located near the south western coast of Sicily, about a one-hour drive from Palermo, in the province of Trapani. The city has a population of roughly 31,000 residents and is famous for its olives and olive oil, cobbled streets, narrow passage ways, and unique architecture reminiscent of the past.
FAQs: How to Serve in Sicily
Registration is quick and easy! (1) Select the community (there are 3 options), length of program and year you prefer below. (2) The available departure dates and tax-deductible program contributions that match your query will display. (3) Click on the program you prefer. This will take you to the online registration form. (4) Complete the form and hold your place on the volunteer program with a $350 deposit. Be sure to select all applicable discounts explained here. Call a volunteer coordinator at (800) 487-1074 for assistance.
Lodging is double occupancy; singles may be available for an additional fee. Check option and fee for a single room here. All costs are tax-deductible.
Upcoming Volunteer Dates in Italy
Our team leaders are trained professionals who either have served on and led multiple Global Volunteers programs or are Global Volunteers staff.
April 18, 2020: Dorota Wierzbicka, Director of International Operations
May 16, 2020: Jeff Rogo, veteran team leader and Italy volunteer
October 10, 2020: Andrew Philbrook, long-term staff; Sicily exploration trip assistant
November 7, 2020: Phyllis Thompson, leader of 24 teams to Italy
Sicily service programs officially begin with the evening meal on the first Saturday. You’ll meet your team at the Falcone Borsellino Airport in Palermo (PMO) and be transported to Castelvetrano along with your teammates. This coordinated schedule assists us in assembling the team for in-transit transportation. If your flight is delayed, please contact us as soon as you confirm your new arrival plans so your team leader can arrange an airport pickup for you.
Your health, safety and security is our top priority. Your lodging, food and transportation are provided always with a mind to protect you while at the work site and in your hotel. Your team leader is trained in CPR and first aid. Read more about health and safety here.
We strongly recommend you consult your own physician, public health clinic and/or travel clinic for detailed travel health information and preventative measures. For general recommendations, consult the following sources:
Global Volunteers includes emergency medical evacuation insurance in your service program fee. We also recommend health insurance that covers you while you are outside your home country, and trip cancellation insurance in the event you must cancel your participation on the service program. Your travel agent can refer you to travel insurance providers. Click here to read risks associated with international travel.
Ample time is available on evenings and weekends to enjoy the numerous natural and cultural attractions of Sicily. You can either stay in Castelvetrano or travel on your own to other parts of Sicily. Popular weekend destinations include Marsalla where you can hop on a short boat ride to one of the islands for hiking and water sports. If you prefer to spend time closer to Castelvetrano, you can visit nearby Selinunte and enjoy delicious food, drinks, and the beach, as well as the famous archeological park.
While our non-profit status prohibits us from planning your free-time activities, our community partners will provide a list of the many opportunities to explore the region. Cafés and spectacular restaurants, museum visits, and historical sites are popular evening and weekend attractions.
“Volunteering in Italy gave us the chance to live like ‘locals.’ We headed out each morning not to sight-see, but to work. And while ‘work’ and lavoro are supposed to mean the same thing, we quickly learned how different they are.
On our first day at school, the teacher interrupted us in mid-lesson with a tray of espresso and biscotti (The pursuit of “dolce vita” is as much a part of the school day as spelling and science). Yet the Italian kids seem to learn just as much as American kids do in their classrooms.
The best part was what brought me to Italy in the first place – the chance to spend one-on-one time with my adolescent son while he was still willing to hang out with Mom. After school, we hiked by the Adriatic Sea and strolled through the walled city of Ostuni. One day, Austin climbed a pomegranate tree and picked a fruit, which we split open to gobble the juicy seeds.
I watched my son stretch himself as he pulled together lesson plans each night – ‘Do my teachers really have to do all this stuff?’ – and faced expectant youngsters each morning. By the end of the week, Austin was exhausted from teaching. As Austin’s mom and fellow teacher, I got to bask in his reflected glow. When it was time to say ciao, the kids asked for my autograph while they waited for the one they really wanted – Austin’s.”
Parents and guardians are expected to supervise their child volunteers, and collaborate with our team leader and local partners to maximize the service experience for everyone. Youth are invited to offer their own perspectives in team meetings and fully participate in free-time activities. In this way, your child gains a personal understanding of the Italian culture as well as the role and responsibilities of a team member. They likely also will create life-long friendships with local youth who share their interests and experiences.
Your group is welcome to learn and serve together – experiencing Italian culture from the “inside.” Team teach in Sicilian classrooms, work together in small groups, and share free time at museums, markets and musical events!
Nothing replaces volunteering together and experiencing the “real Italy” as you live it daily. Group members meet one-on-one with students, community leaders and other opinion leaders who explain Sicilian traditions and customs as topics of conversation. You help the English language become relevant when you practice it in classrooms and with small groups of students. Sicilian students appreciate conversations about family, film, food, wine, art and, of course, sports, especially football (soccer)!