La Tela di Carlotta
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University — A Bridge to the Real World?

Dec 11, 2014

Foto di Tom Butler

Some while ago I received a survey from AlmaLaurea, an Italian service that helps college graduates find a job. Among other questions, they asked me if and how much my university degree has helped me find a job, and how important it has been to get me where I am today.

So I thought back. On my very first day, a slim, bald teacher gave me a flier advertising his new language course, American English. I decided to give it a try.

It turned out to be a course in translation held by an incredibly enthusiastic and passionate teacher; the best I’ve ever had. Day by day, class by class, I realized how much I loved languages and, above all, their intricate grammar. I also discovered I was a decent translator, so I started pursuing that path and taking as many translation courses as I possibly could.

Today, though, I translate only once in a while, as I mostly teach English and Italian to Spaniards.

So maybe university helped me find my way and got me started on what I do today. But that’s all.

No teacher—not even my favorite one—ever prepared me for the real world. They taught me a lot on translation theory, but they failed to teach me the practical stuff: how to land a translation job, write a good CV or set my rates. Finally, nobody ever mentioned that it would be so difficult to break into the translation industry without the right contacts or a bit of luck.

When I graduated, I could translate, I knew English and Spanish grammar by heart, and I was fairly fluent in all of them, but I didn’t know how to use all that knowledge. Since day one in the translation business, I had to guess every step of the way, get creative and resourceful, learn how to deal with disappointments and failure, change direction, change it again and eventually reinvent myself. That’s why today translation is more of a hobby for me and I invest most of my energy on teaching.

So let me get back to the survey.

• Was my university degree helpful to find a job? Not really.

• Has university given me the skills to do the job I’m doing today? Somewhat. It taught me a lot about translation and languages, but most of it was theoretical. The useful stuff I’ve taught myself—before or after I graduated.

AlmaLaura’s slogan is, ‘A bridge between university and the real world’. But shouldn’t university be that bridge and the degree a door at the end of it? This leads me to the question I’d have liked AlmaLaura to ask me, ‘Have you ever had to show your university degree to anybody?’. No, at least not so far.

Long story short. University didn’t get me where I am today, it wasn’t my bridge to the real world (maybe I should have considered the AlmaLaura one, after all!), but it did help me understand where I wanted to go. Unfortunately, that happened in the first two months. The following years were mostly a waste of time. But that’s another story.

What about you? Was university your bridge to the real world?

Tell me what you think

Did you like it? Do you agree or disagree? I'd love to hear from you.

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The blog

I write mainly about Montessori, parenthood, and multilingualism. Here are some recent posts.

One day a few years ago my husband came home and said, "Why don't we put a mattress on the floor in the baby room? It'd be much more natural". "Never" was my reply. That's how our Montessori journey started. Since then we've been living, breathing and applying the philosophy at home day in and day out, starting from ourselves. Because educating children starts from the parents.
An example of how I practice empathy with my kids
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10k on Instagram!
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Living sustainably
Living sustainably for me doesn’t only mean to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It means to make decisions that are sustainable for our planet, the people on it, but also for our life, our lifestyle, and our happiness. It means to take any daily chance to evolve and be happier, healthier, kinder, more responsible and more caring human beings—the only sustainable way for a meaningful future.
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New to La Tela?
I’ve prepared collections on various topics that I’ve written over the years. Perhaps you’ll find one that interests you.


We sold everything to travel the world for two years. We're currently in New Zealand.


In 2020 I wrote 4 books for the Italian collection “Gioca and Impara con il metodo Montessori” curated by Grazia Honegger Fresco. The collection is a project by Il Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport.

We also implemented the workshops of the last 15 volumes of the collection with Oliver and Emily.


On my podcast, “Educare con calma”, I talk about various topics, from Montessori to sustainability. Only in Italian!

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I update Instagram almost every day to be "close" to my family far away.

Why La Tela di Carlotta?
I dreamed of the name La Tela di Carlotta. One morning I woke up and in my dreams I had created a blog named just like the American novel (Charlotte's Web). Many years and endless ups and downs later, this web of thoughts and stories is my work. It took me a long time to understand what kind of online presence I wanted and today I know: I'm transparent, I show real life, I don't advertise, I only recommend sustainable brands (and not only because they pay me) and I believe in the value of my blog and my courses—because if we don't believe in the value of our work, no one will believe in it for us.
Carlotta dreaming of La Tela
I know! I don't want it to be over yet either.