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Learn Italian in Italy

If you want to study in Italy, you'll need to learn the language. How do you set about finding an affordable, accredited Italian language programme? Ken Reynolds investigates and suggests three steps to success.

Step One

A good starting point in the search for an accredited course is the A.S.I.L.S. (Associazione delle Scuole di Italiano come Lingua Seconda) The Association of Schools of Italian as a Second Language, with member schools well represented in the various regions of Italy, is designed to guarantee the quality of instruction and professional level of services offered to students.

A.S.I.L.S. is a founding member of ELITE (Excellent Language Institution Teaching in Europe), a European federation of national associations of native language instruction. ELITE, consisting of six associations, aims to set standards for the quality of instruction, services and accommodation provided by language schools throughout the continent.

The A.S.I.L.S. Quality Guarantee

  • A.S.I.L.S. member schools are required to adhere to strict didactic and professional requirements.
  • Each school has a permanent study centre where Italian language courses are held.
  • The prospectus published by the schools contains a detailed description of the courses and the various services offered.
  • All instructors, chosen for their professional and personal skills, hold university degrees and have experience of teaching Italian to foreign students.

Before departure

  • Students receive detailed information about the courses and the necessary prerequisites for enrolment.
  • All course prices, number of lessons and services included are clearly indicated.
  • Students requiring help in locating accommodation are given a selection of addresses to choose from according to their needs.
  • Prior to departure, students are provided with their assigned address and a description of the accommodation.

During the course

  • Students take a placement exam to determine their language level.
  • Students are placed into classes with a set maximum number.
  • This maximum number of students is determined by each institution.
  • The school's director is available to assist students regarding the academic programme and can help resolve didactic problems that may arise.
  • Progress in the student's language proficiency is carefully monitored throughout the duration of the programme.
  • The school organises recreational, social and cultural events. Students are welcome to participate in these events during their leisure time.
  • The school provides information about their city and region in Italy. Information is available to encourage students to participate in local activities.

After the course is completed

  • Students receive a certificate of attendance and/or description of the course attended.
  • After completing the assigned level, students can choose to take an exam to verify progress and receive a certificate of proficiency according to the level.

Step Two

Having found an accredited school, you need to decide on a suitable level of qualification. Before long you will come across mention of the poetic-sounding Deli, Dili, Dali and Dalc, the standard abbreviations for the 'Firenze' diplomas offered by the A.I.L. (Accademia Italiana di Lingua) at elementary, intermediate, advanced and commercial levels.

Step Three

You should now gather as much information as you can about a range of schools and compare what they have to offer in relation to your specific needs.

Here is an example of provision at one academy in Rome:

Rome, the birthplace of one of the most ancient civilizations, is an ideal location to immerse yourself in Italian language, culture and society. Study in the heart of this historical city, just a short walk from the central railway station Stazione Termini.

Discover the array of monuments, palaces and museums with over 2000 years of history. Marvel at the works of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci or the splendour of Vatican City.

Home to 4 million inhabitants, Rome has over 84 theatres, 70 museums and 75 cinemas, giving truth to the saying: 'Rome - a lifetime is not enough'.

The Italian language programmes in Rome are designed to immerse participants in Italian. You will gain valuable information about modern-day Italian culture and society and improve your overall communication skills.

These programmes are designed to focus on all aspects of the language, developing reading, writing, speaking, listening, grammar, phonetics and vocabulary.

For further immersion in language and culture, a wide range of free guided excursions and social activities are held. These activities are designed to provide participants with ample opportunity to learn and use Italian and be apart of a comprehensive learning experience.

The overall aim of the programme is to instil the linguistic, practical, and cultural aspects of the language as well as the Italian way of life.

Features

  • Total immersion in the Italian language
  • Total beginner to advanced classes available
  • Semi-Intensive, Intensive, or Super-Intensive programs offered
  • Study from minimum of 2 weeks
  • Total beginners start every month
  • All other levels may start on any Monday
  • Small classes: average 8 students per class
  • Free weekly guided tours, excursions, and activities
  • Free activities with native Italian speakers
  • Wide range of optional courses available

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