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Choosing Italian language class in Venice

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Oct 21st, 2015, 09:07 PM
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Choosing Italian language class in Venice

I will be trying to raise my Italian language level by taking a week-long class in Venice next May. There don't seem to be a lot of choices at first glance and I think it may be a choice between Instituto Venezia, which I have read about here (sorry I've forgotten who wrote a TR about their experience there) and Venice Italian School.

As far as I can see online, the principal difference is the size of the class: max of 12 at Instituto Venezia and a max of 6 at the Venice Italian School. I'd prefer a smaller class, but on the other hand the Instituto Venezia is more conveniently located, i.e. I could practically roll out of my apartment and into the classroom.

I'd welcome any information anyone might have to help me make up my mind as well as any other schools I may not have come across. In terms of level of class I'd call myself high Intermediate, but who knows. I do want to be challenged and I'd like to be in a class with people who have at least 18-24 months of Italian lessons behind them. Anyone with experience at Venice language schools?
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Oct 22nd, 2015, 02:13 AM
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annhig's your girl. She has first hand "did it" knowledge.
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Oct 22nd, 2015, 10:38 AM
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One week is useless and will not get you very far. It takes about a week week until the brain "switches language" and you start thinking in the other language. That's when you really start to learn. If ever possible, plan two or even better four weeks.
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Oct 22nd, 2015, 01:19 PM
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Hi Shellio,

Rubicund is right that I did a course for a week at the istiuto di Venezia and I was very impressed with it. quokka is also quite right that a week isn't really long enough but it's better than nothing at all, particularly if you enter into it with the right spirit, and join in with the after school activities that are offered so that you get more chances to practice. if you could manage two weeks, that would be three times as good as one week, IMO.

as for class sizes, the advantage of a bigger school, like the istituto, is that they can offer classes in all levels of ability, so that you are put in the right class for your stage of italian. That is not possible in a smaller school where you may find that you are either held back because others move less fast than you, or that you are at sea because you are in a class that is too advanced. I actually found that being in a big class [I think that there were 10 of us] was not really a disadvantage and I got plenty of time to talk and practice.

here's a link to my TR:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...enice-a-tr.cfm

do feel free to ask me any questions about the instituto. I can't help you with the Venice Italian School, but it seems to get good reviews on TA:

http://www.veniceitalianschool.com

good luck!
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Oct 22nd, 2015, 01:28 PM
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annhig's your girl. >>

I wish, rubicund. It's a while since I've been a "girl".
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Oct 22nd, 2015, 11:58 PM
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nay lass, always a girl.

shellio, I suggest you max out before you go with the most you can do on swapping language time on skype and do the same when you return. italki is a good place to start for this sort of free service, I'd also look at benny lewis's site asap to get things stiring, for example set your laptop to Italian now, chatter to yourself in italian as you work, translating what you are thinking as you get it done.

It all adds to the build up in your mind that you have to "talk" italian (note that talking is the tough thing, not only all the right letters but in the right order as they say). I had the pleasure of 2 weeks immersion in French years ago and apart from the brain freeze (10 days in and nasty) it took me over the edge and got me dreaming in French.

Immersion is just that, a nasty wet shock, go for it, once you are in you can swim a long way and will stay in for a long time.
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Oct 23rd, 2015, 01:46 AM
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ann, it's been a while since I went out with one!
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Oct 23rd, 2015, 03:38 AM
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ann, it's been a while since I went out with one!>>

ah, but how about staying in?

[sorry for the diversion, folks!]
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Oct 23rd, 2015, 10:04 PM
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Thanks annhig, I do recall reading your TR and I think that's where I learned about Istituto Venezia. After a bit more research I think I've decided to sign up with them for a week's course.

Quokka, bilbo, I realize a week is not ideal but I'm traveling with my husband who is not interested in learning Italian. For the same reason I will probably not be taking advantage of the afternoon outings offered by the Istituto.

We will however be spending an additional week in Venice and environs and 2 weeks in Sicily so I hope to be getting the experience of using the language even without being in a class; I'm willing to talk to people. I'm also continuing my weekly Italian lessons here at home before we leave, i.e. for the next 6 months.

Last year I found I was able to have interesting if imperfectly grammatical conversations with Italians I met in wine bars, trains and on park benches and next year I'm hoping to embarrass myself a bit less.

I'm off to work on pronomi personali now; thanks for your help.
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Oct 24th, 2015, 12:44 AM
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sheillo - I hope that you will be happy with your choice. as you will be staying on in Venice for another week, you could always have a private lesson or two to reinforce what you have learnt.

I found that I was able to practice quite a lot even in Venice - if you start off speaking italian, and persist even if they speak english back, they will often give in. There is a nice little bar just opposite the steps up to the Istituto where they are well used to language students and are very patient. There is also a very lively caffe - the Caffe Rosso - on the other side of the Campo San Marguarita - where they do a mean Spritz, have great cicchetti, AND let you speak italian to your heart's content. In fact I would say that most of the bars and cafes in that area are good spots for practice; not surprisingly, the closer you get to the tourist hot spots, the harder it gets.

Buona fortuna!
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Oct 24th, 2015, 12:58 PM
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Also the girls in the bar Ai Artisti in Campo San Barnaba are a friendly bunch, with minimal English
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Oct 25th, 2015, 02:03 AM
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This the one?

http://www.tripadvisor.it/Restaurant...ce_Veneto.html

I never got round to trying that one, Peter, mainly because when I was there it was always in the shade when I wanted a drink. In February, you want all the sun you can get!

Next time.
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Oct 25th, 2015, 01:06 PM
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We often have our morning coffees in Campo Sta Margherita but like the caffe just across from the entrance to the little police fortress, where the nice young waitress will chat a bit in Italian. Caffè Rosso always seems a bit young for us; we'd bring the average age up considerably.

Agree with annhig re Ai Artisti, it's usually in the shade when we're passing Campo San Barnaba. My experience too is that the closer you get to Accademia the less likely people will be to tolerate your attempts at Italian. Santa Margherita is less touristed I feel, or maybe the fact that there are so many choices of caffès there spreads the tourists more thinly.

Although I recall having a lovely conversation with an Italian family of 3 generations visiting from Verona while drinking on the canal wall outside Cantinone già Schiavi. They insisted on buying another round while asking if TV's Streets of San Francisco was an accurate reflection of the city.
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Oct 26th, 2015, 02:10 AM
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Caffè Rosso always seems a bit young for us; we'd bring the average age up considerably.>>

lol, that hadn't occurred to me. I definitely have the same effect, but I'm prepared to put up with a little youth in order to enjoy my spritz in the sun; they didn't seem to mind.

Just to the left of the Caffe Rosso is what looked like a fairly new restaurant when we were there last Feb; I say restaurant but it seems to specialise in what might be described as cold cuts:

http://www.fodors.com/world/europe/i...-bifora-578363

we ate there twice and enjoyed it a lot.
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