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Learning Italian in Italy
Part 2 of 2: My Language Vacation
by Cristina Simone
Much to my surprise, the city was more beautiful than I thought. Salerno is a small, quaint, mountainous city surrounded by beautiful beaches. Plus, hardly anybody speaks perfect English, so I got a lot of practice speaking…..and they were very patient!!! The Italian course itself was fabulous….so good that I stayed on for an extra 2 weeks. I started in the Beginner II level. The school caters to all levels starting from absolute beginner all the way up to Advanced speakers. Further, they offer specialized courses (Business Italian, Ceramics, Italian Cooking, Italian for Doctors, Italian for Lawyers etc.) The classes began at 9:00 am, break at 11:00, and then resumed at 11:30 for another hour and a half. The morning was the grammatical lesson, while in the afternoon, the focus was on conversation. The teachers are very flexible in terms of what the students want to talk about, or even reviewing grammar. The classes are very interactive – between the students and between student and teacher.
The staff was cheerful, helpful, friendly, and professional and the school itself was in a great location. They arranged tours, dinners and parties for the students and were always open to suggestions. The tours are additional, but the destinations are close by and one could do a tour on their own, or partner up with other students. My apartment was located on the main street in Salerno, Via Roma. I had access to banks, restaurants, cafés, shopping all within 2 minute walk. The city is really easy to get around. The price of the accommodations were reasonable (a lot cheaper than a hotel) and location wise, close to the school. Students can choose to stay in an apartment with other students, stay in a hotel, or stay with an Italian family.
The social life: It was an amazing experience to meet other people of all walks of life from all over the world. After class, a bunch of students would be off to the beach. At night, there would always be plans to meet again whether at a local café (a bar), a walk along the boardwalk, a gelato or a dinner.
Having a degree in French, studying a language in a classroom has its advantages, but being immersed into the language is by far the biggest and best advantage. The charm of the city and its inhabitants lured me back again this year….this time for 2 months. Same school, same apartment…..as though I never left. I moved up to the Intermediate level. On the first day of class, students are required to write an examination to simply allow the staff to accurately place students in the appropriate level of language. I did not feel like a student nor was I burdened with homework and assignments….I had plenty of time to enjoy the surroundings (beaches, Capri, Amalfi Coast, Pompeii just to name a few), met people from all over the world and overall had a wonderful vacation!!
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