After growing up in a small suburban city outside of Cleveland, Ohio, Kristin Lanese decided to move to the West coast to attend the University of Southern California (USC) with the hopes of becoming a teacher. Before even graduating, she was teaching English at language schools and after-school programs. While in university, she discovered that, besides English, she also enjoyed studying Italian-so much so that she studied in Florence for a semester.
After returning to USC to finish her senior year, she added a few more courses to her load to complete a major in Italian as well as English language and literature. Along with her double major, she minored in the teaching profession. She also passed an additional exam to receive a teaching credential in Crosscultural, Language and Academic Development, known as CLAD.
Upon graduating from USC in 2000, her dream of becoming a teacher came true. Kristin was hired to teach English at a high school in East Los Angeles. Hoping to put her Italian to use, she asked to start an Italian language program. Even though she was happy as a teacher, she applied to enter the master’s program in Italian language and literature at Middlebury College. Upon learning that she had been accepted, she left her teaching job at the end of the school year. She loved teaching, but felt that she could accomplish much more.
After participating in the intensive language portion of the program in Vermont for a couple of months, Kirstin came to Florence to study Italian at both Middlebury College and the University of Florence. She had hoped to go to Rome instead to experience another Italian city, but the program was only available in Florence.
With her master’s completed, Kristin returned to the United States. She was offered her previous teaching job at the high school in California, but felt she wanted a change. She knew that she could go back to teaching at any time. She chose to set aside her passion for teaching and take a job as an East-coast sales representative for a publisher of English-as-a-second-language books.
A few years later, Kristin came up with an idea that would encompass her three passions: teaching, English and Italian. In 2006, she opened the Learning Center of Tuscany (TLC) (www.learningcentertuscany.com) in Florence. At TLC, she educates not only language students but also other teachers. Initially, assisted by two partners, she is now managing the school on her own.
With her many years of experience teaching, Kristin offers a well-rounded experience to students coming to Florence to study for their Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certificate. The one-month program instructs teachers and non-teachers the techniques needed to teach English to non-English speakers.
To be a good teacher, one must also continue to be open, thus an eternal student. By living in Florence, Kirstin is doing just that. She is continually discovering more about the city she now calls home. In Florence, she discovers more than just the language and culture, but also learns more about the city’s great artistic heritage.
Although she was not initially infatuated with Florence, as so many are, Kirstin has not only become attached to Florence, but has also come to appreciate it. She says that Florence is where she wants to be for now and has no desire to move anywhere else.