My name is Tanya. I grew up in California and moved to Brazil when I was 27 to teach English for a year. I really enjoyed it and decided to teach for one more year but this time in Italy. After that I added one more year, but by that time I was in love with the country. I decided to move to Rome to open my own English school.
Tell us a bit about your backstory. How did you first get started teaching English in Rome?
After a difficult year personally, and being turned down for a promotion at work I decided to take a year off to live abroad and teach. I first got my CELTA certificate and moved with a friend to Brazil. After a year there I was looking for another job and saw a posting for a town in Italy near Verona. After teaching there for a year I decided to work for another school in Calabria. Then I wanted to live in a bigger city and chose Rome because of its charm, culture and food.
It seems like you did so much in such a short period of time. You also came to own your own school. How did you come to do that?
After teaching for 3 years, I was working for a small school in the south of Italy, in Calabria. The school was not well organized and I helped the director of studies to keep track of payments and organize the students into classes.
When the franchise director came to visit, he was impressed with my work and asked if I wanted to open my own school. I assumed that I would need a degree in business, but then looked at the way I was mostly running this school now and thought that possibly I could do it now.
He encouraged me, but I didn’t end up going through his franchise. I decided to create my own brand and do my own research. After about 5 months of market research and creating a business plan I moved to Rome, found a place to rent and a commercialista (tax agent) and started advertising.
I decided to create my own brand and do my own research.
Can you describe what it was like running your own English language school in Rome? What was enjoyable and what was challenging?
I really enjoyed connecting with the students. I loved watching them grow and improve their language skills.
The biggest challenge has always been organizing the taxes. Taxes are very high in Italy and it’s difficult to budget and make enough to pay everything on time.
The biggest challenge has always been organizing the taxes.
What would you say to someone who is looking to start a school in Rome? How should they prepare themselves for success?
To start your own business in Rome you need to have a good understanding of business and Italian tax law. It’s also important that you have a lot of capital or a secondary income to get you through the first few years.
What are you working on now? What do you envision for the next few years?
It’s also important that you have a lot of capital or a secondary income to get you through the first few years.
If you could go back in time, is there anything you would change about your English teaching career? Why?
I’ve recently sold my school in Rome to move back to the US with my new husband. I’m currently pursuing new opportunities and exploring online schools to handle the increasing demand for remote learning.
Yes. I still think that I would have been more successful with a business degree. I also started the business before my Italian was really good enough and I didn’t understand some of the negotiations that I made earlier on. Before starting a business in a foreign language I should have really improved my proficiency.
I can see how the language would have been challenging. I always recommend that people place a priority in learning Italian well the first year they are in Italy.
As for the business degree, I have one, and I still feel like there’s a lot I don’t know. I have a feeling that you attained a lot of valuable knowledge while actually managing a business.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about yourself?
In addition to watching the students grow and learn I found it really rewarding to be able to provide employment to so many people. Most of my teachers were British or American and I was able to give them an opportunity to live and work in Rome.
In addition to watching the students grow and learn I found it really rewarding to be able to provide employment to so many people.
Okay, so if others want to connect with you online, how can they do that?
Email: tanya [ at ] global [ dash ] institutes [dot] com