Learning Italian in Italy

Nov 19th, 2002, 11:28 AM
  #1  
Diane
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Learning Italian in Italy

I'd like to study Italian in Italy, preferably Tuscany. Have found lots of options on Shaw Guides, but wondering if anyone has any personal experience with language schools in Italy, either good or bad. Also, any info re: homestays would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
Nov 19th, 2002, 01:34 PM
  #2  
Karen
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Hi Diane,

Not sure whether you are talking about a long term thing or a short holiday, but I can highly recommend Living Italy http://www.livingitaly.com/ for a wonderful 3 week experience in Umbria staying at an agritourismo in Montefalco. They have many "tours" that specialise in language/art/music/cooking etc. We did a Living Umbria one that included all of the above and was a great experience.

Hope this helps.
Karen
 
Nov 19th, 2002, 04:07 PM
  #3  
colleenk
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Karen- That looks great. Do they have different levels of language classes? Did you feel that you gained some real language skills through the program? How many people were part of the "tour"?
 
Nov 20th, 2002, 03:45 AM
  #4  
Ann
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Diane: We studied Italian in Florence for a month. We had a wonderful time and learned a tremendous amount of the language. I kept it up and continued when I returned home. We had an apartment. Many people that had home stays had problems. Things like the family leaving for the month and not leaving any food (you pay for meals in the home stay charge)to giving a room that's a walk through to the washer and balcony. We loved our apartment and it gave us the freedom to do as we wanted. I wouldn't recommend the school we went to because they tried to put 15 students in the class that was supposed to have a max of 10. We did learn a lot there. I would like to answer any other questions you have, but I don't like giving my e-mail address on this site. I tried to e-mail you but it was returned undeliverable.
 
Nov 20th, 2002, 06:01 AM
  #5  
Roberta
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Ann, what school did you attend? And did you find your own apartment or did the school provide?

Thanks.
 
Nov 20th, 2002, 10:02 AM
  #6  
Bobbi
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Ann,

I would LOVE to know the school that you attended. That is exactly the kind of program my husband and I are looking for. Please, please email me with more details or advice on this.
Thanks!
 
Nov 20th, 2002, 10:31 AM
  #7  
Cristina
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I came to the Universita per Stranieri here in Siena. Small classes, people of every age and nationality and the school will help you with housing either with a family or an apartment on your own or with other students. I loved it so much I am still in Siena 8 years later The school really is great and Siena is wonderful. The classes are shorter in the summer time but around 3 months long during the rest of the year. Here is their site http://www.unistrasi.it/

HTH
 
Nov 20th, 2002, 10:58 AM
  #8  
Diane
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Thanks to all for your insights. To clarify what I'm looking for, I'm hoping to spend about a month in an "immersion" class to quickly get some basic Italian under my belt. Ann's school in Florence sounds ideal, except that she didn't like the school!! (BTW, Ann, my email was inactive and is now active if you'd like to let me know what to avoid). Can't spend 3 mos, though would love Siena, and want a more rigorous schedule than the Umbrian offering. Any other ideas out there???
 
Nov 20th, 2002, 11:35 AM
  #9  
Karen
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Diane,

The whole group consisted of I think 15 people, but we were in small groups of 2 or 3 for the Italian classes. We were divided according to our knowledge of Italian. I found it very worthwhile - I had already studied a lot of Italian so had a good grasp of the language, grammar, and pronunciation, but learnt a whole lot of new vocabulary, gained an understanding of politics in Italy (and I'm not at all interested in politics, but his was amazing!!!)and much much more. It was totally immersion technique which was great. I found myself talking about things in Italian that I didn't think I was capable of. Also it really jogged my memory with all the different tenses (past, future, and the many variations of these) that you use.

I think even more I enjoyed the days when our Italian teachers took us into Foligno one afternoon to go shopping, and various other activities, that made us really feel like we were living the way the locals did.

A wonderful experience - I can't say enough about it!!!

Karen
 
Nov 20th, 2002, 01:09 PM
  #10  
rar
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I personally would not study in Florence. Basically it works like this... once they see you are an American, they automatically assume you know no Italian. Thus they will talk to you in English, and it is difficult to get a conversation going in Italian. Try, if you can, to pick a less touristy area. Siena wouldnt be bad, but still, there is a rather large American presence in Siena as well.

If I had a choice, I would pick Bologna (er wait.. I did pick Bologna! ). It really is a great place to learn the language, as the people will talk to you in Italian 90% of the time, and they wont treat you like 'just another tourist'. I really love it here. The lack of a huge tourist industry in Bologna really does Americans studying here a large favor. There should be programs here for you, I would look into it!
 
Nov 20th, 2002, 01:11 PM
  #11  
rar
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Oh there is also a university for foreign students in Perugia also. I would check it out, it is rather well known, and my friend in Perugia really likes it. Plus Perugia is a beautiful city, and Umbria is one of the best not-quite-a-secret-anymore spots in Italy.
 
Nov 20th, 2002, 02:10 PM
  #12  
Ann
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The name of the school is Instituto Di Lingua E Cultura Italiana Michelangelo. We rented the apartment through the school. They're owned by private owners. I think the next time I would go through www.italy-rental.com. They seem to have a lot of apartments in all price ranges that you can see pictures of first. Rar is correct. There are excellent schools in Bologna and Perugia, but I just love Florence. I have heard of a school called Kolbe (I think) in Florence that's supposed to be good. I don't know. I'll search and get back to you.
 
Nov 20th, 2002, 02:16 PM
  #13  
Ann
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My mistake, it's Koine. http://www.koinecenter.com/
 
Nov 21st, 2002, 08:43 AM
  #14  
Alice Twain
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Diane, you sayt hat you want to quickly grasp some Itlaian by full immersion classes, honestly, having studied foreign language for most of my life, I think that full immersion classes are the worst possibile option for a novice. Although they area great for people who laready have a decent grasp of the foreign language, I really think that a teacher that can clarify meanings and rules and a limited study time is really needed for a beginner (and in particular for a full beginner). If you do not have a minimum grasp of the language, you rish getting stranded when the teacher enters the class and greets nad not being able to learn much. also, I feel that starting out at a slow pace ona new language is esential to understand the basics, you can always speed up later.

Rar: The point is not that you should not study in Florence, it is that you should not live in Florence as you study. Much better getting yourself a place to stay somewhere near Florence, some quieter, less touristy place.
 
Dec 6th, 2002, 08:12 AM
  #15  
carlo nocentini
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about studing : the University of Florence gas italian courses for foreign students. In a wonderful villa.
about staying : I have an ap. in villa. near the centre for foreign students.
www.genie.it/utenti/carlo.nocentini
 
Dec 6th, 2002, 10:26 AM
  #16  
Nutella
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I enrolled in a month-long immersion program in Italy - beginner level - and I concur with Alice. Luckily I had previously studied audiotapes at home, so I did know the most basic phrases. Also, I have some background in Spanish, which helped. At least the logic behind conjugating verbs, etc. I learned a great deal in my class, but I do remember sitting there the first couple of days thinking that I would have been terribly lost if I had started from scratch. Unfortunately the truth is that even the beginner class assumes SOME knowledge. Good luck!
 
Dec 13th, 2002, 02:38 AM
  #17  
Allison
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I agree with Alice and Nutella - you should have some of the basics down before you try to study the language in Italy, immersion style. The classes move rapidly, even level 1. You should at least be familiar with the alphabet, pronunciation, concept of gender in nouns and adjectives, use of the definite and indefinite article, and possibly be somewhat familiar with conjugating regular verbs in the present perfect tense. And, you'll do yourself a favor if you have a good grasp of grammar in English (e.g., what is meant by an intransitive vs. transitive verb, indirect object vs. direct object, direct and indirect pronouns, parts of speech, etc.), so that you can understand what you are doing in Italian!
 
Aug 4th, 2003, 08:52 AM
  #18  
 
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I'm surprised to find so little on this subject here! We are travelling to Verona in September 2003 to study Italian at Idea Verona (http://www.ideaverona.com). We will be there just one week, which I think is more along the lines of the time most people (americans) have to spend. The school does primarily offer monthly courses, but you can drop in for as much time as you have. I have no personal recommendation of the school, chose it based on location and their very nice web site. We are looking very much forward to it. I will post upon my return and let everyone know how it was.
VillaPiazza is offline  
Aug 4th, 2003, 07:18 PM
  #19  
 
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Do not be discouraged. There is some good information here. When I lived in Florence, I was living with my husband's Italian family where no English was spoken. I had studied Latin, French (v. little) and Spanish in school, but I did not speak Italian. I enrolled in a local school for a couple of hours each day and studied with my sister-in-law. I knew that I was grasping it when I started to dream in Italian. It is all an adventure and an exciting one at that. Some say that the purest Italian is spoken in Florence although others tend to feel that it is Siena. Either city will be amazing!
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Sep 5th, 2003, 04:26 PM
  #20  
RAR
 
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It's not that the Tuscan's speak purer Italian, everyone can and does that now. It's that modern Italian has it's roots in the medieval Florentine dialect.
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