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Exploring Life & Business with Maura D’Andrea

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maura D’Andrea.

Hi Maura, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
As a child, I always thought that, when I grew up, I wanted to do a job that would help others, that would change things, that would give real meaning to my passage on this earth. Growing up, I realized that every day, in so many ways, we can contribute to making this world a better place. And so I have always tried to do so. I was born and raised in Milan, one of the most beautiful and renowned cities in Italy where I obtained my Master’s Degree from the “Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan” in Education Sciences as an expert in training processes.

Twelve years ago, I moved to California with my husband, also Italian, and my daughter, with the idea of staying only a few years. Then we fell in love with this beautiful country and, from that moment, our heart was divided halfway between the United States and Italy. I soon started attending courses at City College and volunteering in the public school.

In San Diego, I met a large Italian community in which I integrated well and where I met many women with extraordinary skills and great culture who have always encouraged me to improve myself and never stop. So I started teaching Italian to children at IAASD (Italian American Academy of San Diego) and then got the opportunity to open my own Italian school. The Italian school was a somewhat unexpected event. It was the response to a need that was being created within the Italian community, in particular for children who want to learn the Italian language and culture.

In a few, but intense months of work, my husband Andrea and I were able to create something great. Answering the demand of a somewhat niche market but very important to me because it concerned children. After almost two years of pandemic, where especially the little ones had to give up the privilege of going to school in person, I was opening an afternoon school for them and for the adults. The world was ready to return to the game and I was ready to play. Opening a school, albeit a small one, represents a great dream that becomes reality. After a Master’s degree, years of teaching and volunteering in schools, I can finally concentrate my knowledge in my biggest project: Italian school of San Diego.

It will not be easy, there is a lot of work to do but I am fortunate to have around me a team of women (it happened to be only women) with great culture, values and dedication to teaching and education. And I thank them so much for believing in me and in this project.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The main difficulties are related to the location. Finding a place that had an adequate number of classrooms able to accommodate mainly children, that was equidistant from all points of the city and therefore reachable in a reasonable time and available for a limited time like the one we needed was not easy at all

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about the “Italian school of San Diego”?
“Italian school of San Diego” is a private language school created to allow children, but not only, to get in touch with the Italian language and culture through an education program that ranges from written, read and spoken language to history, geography, current events, civics, art and music. 

What do you do, what are you specialized in / what are you known for?
I have always been involved in education, I have a Master’s Degree in Educational Sciences obtained in Italy and recognized in the United States and now I am pursuing a postgraduate specialization at the prestigious Ca’ Foscari University of Venice as a teacher of Italian for foreigners residing abroad. 

What sets you apart from others?
We distinguish ourselves from others by the attention we place towards the learning child. Starting with the communicative method that leads to a communicative competence that responds to the student’s need to communicate even before grammar analysis. The continuous reference to the humanistic-affective approach that pays attention to the psychological aspects of learning is of fundamental importance for the well-being of our students (classroom atmosphere, relaxing environment, motivation, involvement of the learner).

We are proud of the 100% Italian nature of our product and about our staff of the Italian school of San Diego that moves towards a single common goal, to offer the best of our language and culture to anyone who wishes. 

What do you want our readers to know about your brand, offers, services, etc.?
I would like the readers to know that despite being a small and young school, we already have about 50 students, we are constantly growing and constantly looking for new proposals to better respond to the demand of our students. Our website is continuously updated and is the first place where to search for information about our services:

We offer in-person and online private and group classes (which are only guaranteed upon reaching the minimum number of students). We are a prepared and enthusiastic team!

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
I don’t know how or where you can find a mentor. I can say what helped me get started with this great project. It helped me to be an active part of the Italian community, to know its needs and expectations, it helped my professional training, my passion for education and children but above all it helped me to have people around me who believed in me and in my abilities and that continuously supported me to give my best.

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