Language assistant


Hello! My name is Caitlin and I’m the English language assistant for this academic year. I’m 24 years old and I come from Glasgow in Scotland. I went to university in St Andrews where I studied Italian and Modern History. After I graduated, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and so decided to spend some more time abroad – and that’s how I ended up coming to Ortisei!

I’m really enjoying my time here so far. I think Val Gardena is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, the landscape is incredible. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the view here! Although I’ve spent time in Italy before this has been a new experience for me since this region is so unique and it’s been really interesting learning about the Ladin language and culture. Now that the ski season is here, I’m hoping to give skiing a go as I’ve never tried it before and living here is a great opportunity to try it.

I have also really enjoyed my time working in the school and getting to know the different classes. I’ve really liked being able to work on so many different topics with a variety of students, every day really has brought something new! It’s also been interesting to see the system you have here as it’s very different from the school system in Scotland and I’ve been so impressed by the multi-lingual aspect of the school.

Overall, my time here has flown by so quickly and I can’t believe I’m almost halfway through my 8 months here. I’m not sure I’m going to be ready to go back to Scotland in June.



Ryan Young is our new language assistant. He comes from Conventry, UK, is 23 years old and enjoys living in Italy.

We have asked him a few questions to get to know him better.

1. Why did you want to become a language assistant?

I have wanted to work in Italy since I studied here during university. I also wanted to gain teaching experience as one day I would like to teach at a Higher Education or Secondary level. I chose to teach English Language in particular because there is a strong demand for native speaking teachers in Italy and across Europe. I have come to enjoy the role so much that I am even considering finding a full-time role in Italy once I have finished my placement.

2. What advice would you give our students?

Originally I did not think about coming to Alto-Adige to teach. It is not what most people believe to be “typical Italy”, whatever that may be. But since coming here I have been thoroughly impressed. Not just by the landscapes, which, it goes without saying, are some of the best in the world, but also by the rich and vibrant culture and ancient traditions found here. It has been interesting to see how people of all ages strive to keep Ladin culture alive, especially by speaking the language on a day-to-day basis.
My School have been very accommodating from day one. My tutors have done an incredible job by striking the right balance between allowing me to take part in, and even teach, some lessons whilst giving me time to observe their own teaching practices.

3. What is a highlight in your life you are particular proud of?

In terms of advice for learning a language (I have been learning Italian - intermittently - for about 7 years now) it would be to not be afraid of making mistakes. Never turn down an opportunity to practice speaking (especially with a native) and always remember that learning a language is a trial and error process. 
In terms of general advice about school, it would be to not let one bad test mark or feedback to get you down. In the grand scheme of things, any negative feedback should been seen as a path towards improvement.
I am particularly proud of my time spent living in Italy, including the two times I went to Venice for my undergrad and Masters and my current British Council placement. Living and working in Italy has taught me to appreciate this country like a second home and I am amazed how comfortable I can feel when I am here.

4. What annoys you most?  

I get very annoyed when I can’t remember a certain word or term, especially if I’m practising my Italian. It’s a bad habit of mine and I guess I should stop focusing so much on the little things.

5. What is your favourite aspect of your current job?

So far my favourite aspect of the job has been the few times when I have come up with an unusual theme for a lesson and the students have fully engaged with it. This is, of course, not a regular occurrence but even the process of trying to find out what suits certain pupils and classes and what doesn’t suit others can be interesting.