"Home. Where Education, Experience, and Exchange converge."

7 Oct 2016

An Anticipated FAQ by 3E

Friends, after months of arduous searching for your next adventure, Triple E Travel welcomes you home.

Home. Where, no matter your surroundings, you are treated like family. No matter your background or upbringing, you become an integral part of the fabric at the base of our programming. No matter your previous experiences, you are a voice at the table. And no matter your budget, you are shown hospitality that extends beyond the comforts of a guesthouse.

Home. Where Education, Experience, and Exchange converge.

What is Triple E Travel, you ask?

It’s among the first Italo-Canadian programs of its kind to coordinate up to every last detail of your five-week overseas educational experience in Italy. It’s neither a school, nor a travel agency; neither a good nor a service. It’s a life-enhancing experience generated by international collaboration in the fields of academic instruction, cultural immersion, travel, and leisure, managed on site, up close, and in person by a family-led small team of experts, and authored by you.

But what exactly does Triple E Travel do for you?

Triple E Travel plans daily language courses and topics in cultural studies courses for you. It provides safe and easily accessed lodgings in locations centralized to your program’s goals. It promises academic excellence, safety, and program support around the clock. And, if you want it to – and we think you will – it will set you up with an on-site health-care provider and associated health insurance policy, organize your weekend field trips, offer a range of extracurricular programming, provide you with two daily meals, and take care of all your transport and transit needs over a five week period. In other words, it takes you under its protective wing, be it for your first international, overseas exchange, or your fortieth.

Now, why Triple E Travel? That’s a bigger question to break down, but we’re up to the challenge.

Why entrust your lives or those of your loved ones to us, specifically? Why not go with the established and reputable programming of our American or European equivalents?

Succinctly: because of the quality promised by Triple E’s founders. We are a husband and wife team living in Florence, Italy, and in constant contact with the changing trends and rhythms of Italian life vis-à-vis a global reality – an Italy positioned in the larger context of the evolving European Union, and an Italy increasingly in open conversation with North America and its current practices in fields from social media to medicine. We are specialists in education, Italian culture, and customer service. Between us, we have more than ten years’ experience teaching literature, cultural studies, and foreign languages (Italian, English, French), more than twelve years’ experience in customer services and the food, agriculture, and hospitality industry, participation in or management of six overseas exchange programs, and four academic titles. And did we mention, we’re Canadian? Well, one of us is. I was raised in Montreal, Quebec and attended McGill University for five years before pursuing (and completing) my Ph.D. in Italian Language and Literature in Baltimore, Maryland and, eventually, moving to Florence, where my husband, an Italian citizen, born and raised in Orbetello, has lived since 2004. We are well-traveled and experienced in international planning. But most importantly, we are lively, energetic, and intellectually curious individuals, committed both to our international exchange community and to the standard of excellence to which we hold it and ourselves.

But why study Italian language and culture at all? In our technologically-driven, energy-oriented era, where Asia and South America are daily gaining influence over the competition, what’s the point of learning a language used almost exclusively in the country of its origin? Why not learn Spanish, Chinese, or French?

The truth is, we’re working on it. In five years’ time, we hope to offer programs in France, the UK, the Republic of Ireland, and Spain. But for now, Italy still offers plenty of benefits to keep us – and you – busy for the foreseeable future. Of course, yes, Italy is and always will be an important hub of western civilization and a living archive of historical eras, artistic movements, and socio-anthropological development. But we prefer to locate an equal part of our appreciation of Italy in the present. Are you interested in a career in fashion or design? Chances are, you’ll eventually have to do business with Italian clientele, manufacturers, labourers, or managers, as Italy is a world leader and undisputed trendsetter in both fields. Do you like to cook? Food, agriculture, tourism, and wine-production are arguably Italy’s biggest industries. Are you a budding journalist? Marketing and content specialist? Web or graphic designer? There, too, Italy’s unique social, linguistic and geographic position make of it the breeding ground of different cultural practices and an experiment in journalistic flexibility. Or have you considered becoming a politician? Policy-maker? Immigration lawyer? Ambassador? International diplomat? Learning about the history of Italy’s wars, its changing population, its fluid artistic and literary influences, and its relationships with other countries will prove essential on your career path. So fly on over and hunker down. It might take a minute.

Ok, great. Why fly all the way to Italy to learn about it? There are plenty of Italians in Canada who make a living of promoting their culture. Traveling is potentially dangerous. And expensive.

Let’s start with expensive. Tripe E Travel offers really competitive rates when compared with similar programming. Plus, we throw in an extra week our competitors typically don’t. Those of you in the know will agree that most overseas programming covers barely four weeks. Triple E Travel offers you a full month – or five weeks – of programming for the price of three and a half.

Not bad.

Now let’s get to the real issue. Yes. There are plenty of educational opportunities in or closer to Canada, and they are valid and much less costly. But they don’t offer an insider’s view of Italian culture as it is lived currently. Nor do or can they make the promise of cultural immersion the way Triple E Travel can. Even the best language programs with the most experienced mother-tongue language teachers cannot replace the learning that occurs from daily and informal interactions with the local population. Language learning aside, Italy as a setting is actually a fundamental aspect of a number of our courses; they could not be conducted outside of it, as they require the close observation and analysis of every-day Italian life. Our settings are built into our courses so that often, they rely on each other. There is no way to engage in that kind of learning from a distance or by proxy. But these examples really only serve to underline our unwavering belief that personally lived experience and cultural exchange are not only inherent to real learning, but a requirement for it. In other words, there could be no “Education” in Triple E’s three Es without experience and exchange. When you sign up for one, you sign up for all three with Triple E.