Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is the official language of the course?

Most of the lectures are given in English; a few are in Italian with live English translation.  Albums should be written in English.  Examinations (both written and oral) are in English.  It is not necessary to know Italian to live in Bergamo, but it IS useful to learn a few key phrases prior to your arrival.

Q. Can I apply for the course if I don’t have a degree in education or a background in teaching?

YES!  Montessori has less to do with teaching and more to do with understanding human development and wanting to share the beauty of our Universe with children.  Regardless of your background, if you are a self-starter and are passionate about helping children discover their true potential, then this training program could be ideal for you!

Q. How far ahead should I apply?

Applications are received year-round but space is limited.  We suggest applying by March so that upon acceptance you have time to process your visa and find accommodations.

Q. Do I require a visa?

Unless you are Italian or hold a European Union passport, you will have to apply for a student visa at your local Italian consulate or embassy. (This includes American citizens; even if you don’t need a visa to travel as a tourist you DO need one to study).  It’s important to start the visa process as soon as you receive your acceptance letter from the Centre.  Contact your local Italian consulate/embassy to obtain a list of the required paperwork.

Q. Is financial aid available?

Some European countries provide financial aid to their citizens, but you must investigate this and apply on your own.  No government-funded financial aid is available for American students, but some AMI Montessori schools are willing to sponsor students in exchange for a multi-year teaching agreement.  You can view job postings on the AMI-USA and NAMTA websites to see which schools are hiring, and then contact schools on  your own.  Keep in mind that while they may pay for your training, most schools will require you to cover living expenses.

Q. How can I find a place to live?

Many students find apartments after arriving in Bergamo, simply by walking around the streets near the Centre  (“for rent” signs, affito in Italian, are bright and clearly visible from the streets).  You can also contact current Bergamo students through our Facebook page to see if anyone has an apartment they will soon vacate.  Expect to spend about 300 euro/month on rent if sharing with two other people.  Additionally, budget for utilities and food.

Female students can stay at “the convent”, which is actually a boarding house for young women run by very friendly nuns.  Monthly rent is between 200-400 euro depending on the room and bathroom options available (individual or shared).  The rent includes kitchen access, laundry facilities, as well as all utilities (heating, water, electricity, etc.). The convent is located in Citta Alta, about a 15-minute walk from the centre. 

See the “practical information guide” at the bottom of this page for more details.

Q. How much should I expect to spend per month on living expenses?

This really depends on your living arrangements, but most people seem to require around 800-1000 euro/month to cover accommodation & food, school supplies (binders, colored pencils, print cartridges, etc.), transportation for weekend activities (in case you want to visit nearby towns), internet key, and of course gelato, pizza, and espresso! 

Q. Are there any Montessori schools for my children to attend while I do the course?

Bergamo has a Montessori school, Scuola Montessori di Bergamo ( that has Children’s House through Elementary.  Some parents have enrolled their children in public schools. Daycare centers are also available.

For other specific questions regarding child care and schooling, please inquire on our Facebook page.

Q. How do observation weeks work?  How much should I budget?

For three weeks out of the school year you will be going to three Montessori schools to observe in a classroom.  Popular destinations include Spain, Germany, the UK, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.  The centre offers a list of suggested schools, but students are responsible for contacting the school and making all arrangements, including accommodations and transportation.  Some schools can help you find appropriate lodging, or you can stay at a hostel.  You can find affordable plane and train tickets within Europe if you plan your trip a few months in advance.  You can choose to observe in any Montessori school in the world, as long as the guide you observe holds an AMI Elementary diploma. 

Q. What kind of clothing should I pack?

Bergamo has all four seasons, which makes for some lovely weather experiences - it is neither extremely cold nor extremely hot!  Since you’ll arrive at the end of Summer, pack a few light clothes and at least one pair of comfortable open-toed shoes because you’ll be walking A LOT.  The Winter is very wet and icy, with occasional snow.  Galoshes (rain boots) and an umbrella are a must, but consider buying them when you arrive because they are bulky to pack in a suitcase and are readily available in many stores. 

The dress code at the centre is casual.  For observations, a “business casual” dress code is recommended (i.e. no ripped jeans, tennis shoes, low-cut shirts, etc.). 

  1. Q.Can I use a computer to take notes? 

The Director of Training discourages the use of computers to take notes during lectures and presentations, because some students become so absorbed with trying to format their document as they are typing that they forget to look at the presentation being given and miss key points.  However, computers are not forbidden and are to be used “at your own risk”.  It is advisable to take notes by hand until you get used to the speed and format of the presentations.  Even if you use a computer, it is good to take a notebook to make drawings and diagrams.

If you are bringing a laptop, make sure it is light and has a durable battery that can last you at least 3 hours in the morning and 3 in the afternoon.  You CANNOT charge your battery at the centre, so you will either have to go home between lectures or bring an extra battery if your computer does not last the whole day.

Q. Is there wifi at the centre?  How do I get wifi at home?

There is no wifi access at the centre.  You can buy an internet key at any cell phone store and pay monthly to get a certain number of hours of wifi per month.  Some bars and restaurants offer free wifi to customers.  You don’t need the internet to complete your albums, but it is nice to be able to check your e-mail and stay in touch with family and friends while abroad.

Q. Do I need a printer?

You will need a printer unless you are writing your albums by hand.  Printers can be bought at electronics stores (there are several in Bergamo).  Keep in mind that you will need several cartridges throughout the year (about one black + one color per album, and there are eight albums!), so evaluate cartridge prices before choosing a printer.  Often, an inexpensive printer requires expensive cartridges!  Consider sharing the cost of a printer with your roommate(s). 

For more information, refer to this “practical information guide” created by former CISM students!

If you have any other questions, please post them on our Facebook page or e-mail at or