At the beginning of this year, I had a plan. It was a very good plan that looked forward about four years. I would spend two years working as a mother tongue English teacher in Lombardy and take that time to also work on my Italian. During the second year I’d start applying to Master’s programs at Italian universities and take a language exam. In the third and fourth years, I would study and work, using my connections in the teaching world to, hopefully, find a fixed job by the end of the fourth year.
But as life usually goes, my beautiful plan changed. Unforeseen circumstances about a month into my first year teaching changed everything. Ultimately I found out that I wouldn’t be able to do the job for a second year. Naturally, I was scared, because I hadn’t prepared a backup, my plan B. I had been so sure plan A was going to work.
I think I spent about a month panicking and looking through my options. Of course, for me, this news sped up my timeline for graduate school, which also gave me one less year to perfect my Italian. Essentially it meant that I’d have to do the unthinkable: apply to American graduate programs.
So this is what I’ve been doing since around November. Because I hadn’t planned for the worst, my options were limited since I hadn’t taken the GRE and wasn’t planning to do so with my work schedule. In the end, I settled on two universities that I thought fit the type of student I am as well as could help form the professional I’d like to become: University of Oregon and Georgetown University.
However, I still don’t feel completely satisfied with my choices. I would prefer to have an Italian degree because this is the country I want to work in, but sometimes life doesn’t make the road so easy. There are challenges, and, at the moment one of those is my confidence with my Italian.
Even though I live here, I don’t feel prepared for a graduate program completely in Italian, but I could try and apply. I have until April to apply to Cattolica in Milan, but am I making moves to finish my application? Yes and no. I just don’t feel ready even though I want to be and feel I should be.
Despite all this, I really just want to be back down south in Sorrento and Naples.
During all my nights researching programs and writing statements of purpose, I became more sure that I want to live and work there. I definitely left a piece of my soul there. So now I’m trying to find my way back, and Georgetown might be my best option to do that.
Like most people know, at the end of a Master’s program, there’s usually a thesis. I’ve been thinking about what I’d do to help me prepare for graduate interviews (mine for Georgetown is this week). In the end, my favorite idea is a book that I started writing in an English course that was from the point of view of a young foreign girl living in Naples.
During my second semester at Georgetown, I could be that girl. I could study and do research about Neapolitan culture, history, and language while writing my book and living somewhere I love. Basically it’s the best option I have if I can’t work or go to school there permanently.
So, even though my plan has changed a bit, my endgame will forever remain the same: live and work in Southern Italy. It’s just going to take a little more work to get there.
But they do say that nothing that’s worth it is ever easy.