Tour Guide Opportunities
Do you have a passion for art history and an aptitude for leading groups? Take your chance to become an English-speaking tour guide in “Palazzo Vecchio” or in the main Florentine churches.
Become a tour guide at magnificent Palazzo Vecchio. Accompany English-speaking tourists through the palatial and magnificently decorated rooms of Florence’s most prestigious palazzo built in the thirteenth century and home of the city government for nearly 700 years. This is a demanding yet rewarding volunteer experience, and all students must commit to a one-month-long training session and twelve hours per week of guided tours. Candidates should be motivated and passionate about Florentine history and art history, possess excellent verbal communication skills, and show a group-leader attitude. This prestigious position is highly selective and the Palazzo accepts only one student per semester. For those selected, an official certificate of participation is issued upon completion—a truly unique experience and a superb addition to any resume.
Be an English-speaking tour guide in one of the main churches in Florence (Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella, Santa Trinita etc.). Volunteers become members of the Ars et Fides Association and receive an information packet on the church they choose. They are scheduled to follow a tour, led by an experienced guide, and once they feel comfortable with the material studied, they start giving their own tours. A commitment of 2 to 4 hours per week is required. Candidates should be passionate about art history and have a group-leader attitude. Please note that only two students per semester are accepted. An official certificate is issued upon completion of the volunteering period.
Participate in Florentine events and write about them. Manage web spaces and post articles and comments on different news stories.
“Flo‘n the Go” is a website that provides useful information about Florence to help people experience and enjoy the city. The purpose of the volunteer position is to create a “working tandem” of Italian and foreign students who will—under an editor’s supervision—update, regulate, and manage the webpage, as well as post texts or comments on the different events in Florence. Suitable for students with an interest in: communication, journalism, photojournalism, filmmaking, art history, theater, and cinema studies. Students get free passes to attend events and museums: they are then expected to write an article about the shows/events/exhibitions they attend.
The main goal of this internship is to enhance student involvement in ISI Florence life. By working closely with faculty and staff to prepare The Florenzine, our online bimonthly newsletter, students make an active contribution to the program and garner precious pre-professional experience over the course of the semester. Students should keep an open mind, be motivated to actively learn, and stay flexible. Suitable for students with an interest in: communication, journalism, and photojournalism studies.
Volunteering and Fundraising
If you are keen on helping the needy, check the options below for volunteering.
The St. James’s Episcopal Church is committed to helping the needy in the broader Florentine area, regardless of nationality or creed. Various volunteer opportunities are available for students wishing to spend time in a friendly, community-driven environment. One such opportunity: St. James’ organizes a weekly food bank, and volunteers help prepare and distribute food boxes.
Thanks to this co-op, disabled people have the chance to work in a restaurant that serves the general public located in the heart of Florence, and to participate in many labs organized and led by professionals and volunteers. An English language course is part of these offerings and students have the opportunity to volunteer as English teachers, running their own class for groups of disabled people.
Oxfam is an organization that promotes and supports projects in the field of human rights, education, and economic and social justice. Students plan events and initiatives aimed at fundraising in collaboration with Oxfam Italia tutor and ISI’s Community Engagement Coordinator.
Volunteers make a big difference in the lives of families hosted in Florence’s chapter of the Ronald McDonald House by playing with the kids, helping them with their homework, and simply being a warm, dependable presence. Students commit to one afternoon a week and should keep in mind that helping sick children fight their illness is demanding and can take a large emotional toll.
Education & Sports
If you are enthusiastic about working with children, think about teaching English or sports to Italian kids.
ISI students are placed in local kindergartens and primary schools to assist English-language teachers, enhancing a creative learning environment. The teaching assistants are often asked to create lesson plans, propose activities, and lead class discussions. Also, students with a good level of Italian may give one-to-one tutoring (age 9-14) in the afternoon. This opportunity is designed for students who are interested in interacting with children and teenagers while simultaneously improving their teaching skills and Italian comprehension. An official certificate is issued upon completion.
This is a great opportunity for baseball players to teach their favorite sport to Italian kids ages 7-12. The commitment is once a week, usually on Tuesday afternoons.
Micellaneous Interdisciplinary Experience
Make your contribution to keep the city clean or update its myriad libraries. You might also participate in the Florence community by pitching in at the Synagogue.
The Jewish Community Center offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities. Students who enjoy kids can assist kindergarten teachers and educators with their regular activities for children (18-36 months and 3-5 years old). The Synagogue has two libraries, one for adults and one for children, where students can help by recording and reordering books, games, and DVDs. There is also a museum that holds a historical/artistic exhibition covering the most important moments of the Florentine Jews’ history where motivated students can serve as tour guides. Students with Italian proficiency can volunteer in the nursing home where they converse and entertain the elderly (i.e., taking people out for a walk or a coffee, reading them newspapers, listening to their stories).
Angeli del Bello is a group of volunteers comprised of students, retired people, and various volunteer associations. Together they work to improve the urban environment and aesthetic value of the city of Florence. The Municipality of Florence is thankful to the many U.S. study abroad students who, with their inborn spirit of volunteerism, are vital to the restoration of the city’s luster and shine.
Students collaborate with the librarians of the prestigious National Institute for Renaissance Studies located in Palazzo Strozzi to integrate library holdings into the IRIS Consortium Catalog. Apart from serving as the Institute’s headquarters, Palazzo Strozzi is a landmark of Renaissance architecture. As such, it is the ideal opportunity for art lovers interested in preserving and promoting Florence’s cultural heritage.