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50+ Language Schools Recommendations? Experience?

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Jul 6th, 2012, 07:56 PM
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50+ Language Schools Recommendations? Experience?

I would like to attend a language school in Italy later this year. I have not decided if I want to studyin a larger city, e.g., Florence or a small city, e.g., Lucca. My initial research has shown some programs geared to students over 50 years of age, frequently identiifed as 50+ programs. I would appreciate any information about specific schools - strength, weaknesses, quality of instruction, availability of organized activities etc. Also, if there you have an opinion on benefits a program of this nature has over the standard language course for a retiree.

Thank you for any information you can share as I continue my researchto select a language school in Italy.
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Jul 7th, 2012, 03:11 PM
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I just did a two-week Italian course at the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci in Florence this May. Their web site is very detailed, and I made a couple of calls in advance and got all my questions answered. Although I'm 64 years old, I didn't look for an over-50 grouping.

Cost was listed at 340 euro, but when I told them I was a retired teacher (they didn't ask for proof) I got a 20% discount. After the exchange rate I paid $360. Class was from 9 AM til noon. An hour-and-a half of grammar, a short break, and an hour-and-a half of conversation. The instruction was very good and seriously academic. Not a watered-down easy-breezy course just for tourists.

Classes are limited to 12 participants. I was the only American, there were 2 others in my age group---a woman from Germany and a man from the Netherlands. Other students were a variety of ages---40-somethings, 30-somethings, etc. It was very easy to form friendships. We often went out to lunch/dinner, studied/went site-seeing together. There were some activities offered for students in the afternoons or evenings.

The school offers a choice of housing options, from host families to shared or private apartments. When my sister-in-law decided to go along and take a painting course, we opted for a studio apartment for 325 euro each. The school was helpful in finding us alternative housing.

Good luck in finding the place that's right for you.
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Jul 8th, 2012, 09:37 PM
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Thank you Annettafly for the detailed response. I have looked at Scuola Leonardo da Vince but was hesitant b/c at 62 I wasn't excited about being the only over 45 person in the room. I guess it's not an issue. Your response helps. Whereas I'd prefer a smaller city to study Florence may be my answer.
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Jul 8th, 2012, 09:53 PM
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I have taken a class in Bologna at http://www.culturaitaliana.eu/ The class composition was similar to what annettafly described. American students were older while European students were in 30 or 40s. There were other classes full of college kids, but there was none in my class. The age is more of a psychological barrier. It is only you who decides if it is an impediment or not. The more relevant angle is where you are in the fluency of Italian and the pace at which you can learn the language. When I go to a local US college to take Italians with teenagers, I sort of get a kick out of doing better the whippersnappers who initially though what an older guy was doing in the class. Those who are only in for language requirement, which most of them are to just do enough work to get a B grade, are unlikely to do better than the ones who want to get something out of the program. The students in my class at the Bologna class were all there to learn Italian for jobs or for enrichment. It was more refreshing and encouraging to be with such students.
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Jul 9th, 2012, 01:58 AM
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If you do a search here for annhig she spent a week in a small town on the coast and wrote a very detailed trip report with lots of info.
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Jul 11th, 2012, 04:21 PM
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Greg thanks for your insights on
http://www.culturaitaliana.eu/.

Jamikins, I am not sure where I should search for "annhig". I tried a forums search and didn't find anything on an Italian coastal town - could be I don't know my geography. Any hints would be appreciated.

After other comments/research I've decided against courses geared to the older (50+) population. But I am definitely going in September I just haven't decided where. I'm still open to insights and opinions.

Happy Travels All,
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Jul 11th, 2012, 09:03 PM
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Hi Julie49. Wanted to share that I met an older couple today at a birthday party who had done a language course within their age group in France. Their experience sounded like what I had thought in advance of selecting a course for myself---age 64. They felt a bit held back by the lack of seriousness among some of the other students. Too many expected the course to be merely tourist fluff---How to order food, What's it cost, etc.---and complained about the amount of grammar instruction. They felt that the conversation part of the class was not very productive because the teacher had to spend a lot of time helping individuals construct every sentence word by word.

Although there were a lot of young adults at Scuola Leonardo da Vinci, most of them were in the intensive or semester courses for academic credit. The 2-week beginners course I took was not for credit. There was only one "young" person in the group---she was 28.

I hope you find the location that's right for you. I never even considered Rome---too big to get to know in 2 weeks. I chose Florence because I thought it was just the right size---like Boston instead of New York. I knew I could fill 14 days from noon on with the number of churches, museums, etc. and never run out of things to do within walking distance. So I did a ton of sightseeing---including a trip to Venice on the weekend between the 2 weeks of classes. Maybe I should have spent more of that time studying.
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Jul 11th, 2012, 11:37 PM
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Julie49 here you go!

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...in-tuscany.cfm
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Jul 12th, 2012, 10:07 PM
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Decision made! Jamikins thanks for the url and Annettafly for the trip report and response to my inquiry.

I have not been to Italy and knew I would be intimdated by the large cities so I selected Verona. I believe I will have the opportunity to learn and practice my language skills while enjoying the country. Verona gives me the opportunity to weekend in Venice etc. So I'm off on September, I'll report back.

Again, my thanks for the information. Happy Travels,
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Jul 13th, 2012, 04:43 AM
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Julie,

I guess I'm late with my recommendations. I was going to recommend Lucca (Italian Language School, owned by the good teachers from Koine) or Siena (Saena Iulia) Both these cities are very manageable in size and lovely. But of course Verona is beautiful too. Could you share the name of the school?
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Jul 13th, 2012, 06:01 AM
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Cruiseluv, my first choice is InClasse http://www.inclasse.it/ita/index.php?lang=en

I am in the process of completing the enrollment/registration formalities, my decision on this school was based in part by start date, maximum class size and their facebook page. If they are full My second choice is Linguia IT, www.linguait.it.

I shied away from Lucca and Siena because I wanted to be located further north, my love is the mountains and I hope to hop off to the Dolomites after my two weeks at school!

Good travels and adventures,
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Aug 8th, 2013, 09:36 PM
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Julie49, I am so glad to have found this segment! I am planning on going to a language school for 2 weeks in May (I am very much at beginner level). How did it go?
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Aug 10th, 2013, 10:28 AM
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Just wanted to update my post. Last October I attended Il Sasso in Montepulciano and loved it, both the town and the school. I cant say enough good things about it!
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Aug 10th, 2013, 08:15 PM
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Did you stay in one of the apartments Il Sasso arranges? Their language school has been on my to do list for a couple of years now (along with Solemare-Sicilia in Cefalu, Sicily).
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Aug 11th, 2013, 07:04 PM
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I stayed at Politian apartments which I rented directly from the owner, Giacomo. http://www.politian.com/
I can't recommend them enough and Giacomo and his sister Maria are the perfect landlord. I stayed at apt #2 and apt #4.
Let me know if you have any questions. God willing, I'll be back in 2014.
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Aug 13th, 2013, 04:55 PM
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My husband and I have attended Il Sasso Italian language school 10 times. Obviously, we love the school, Montepulciano, and the nearby villages. I agree with cruiseluv - can't say enough good things about Il Sasso! We have stayed in Giacomo's apartment and enjoyed it. The last several years we've stayed at one of the Appartamenti al Poggiolo - we will be back there in a month!
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Aug 13th, 2013, 06:08 PM
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Seems I may be a little late with my opinions, but we did 2 weeks at a language school in Florence a couple of years ago.
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ool-review.cfm
It is still something we talk about fondly.
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