FAQ – Italian Language Courses, Frequently Asked Questions

Thinking of taking an Italian language course in Italy?

Great! But first, check out our FAQ: a list of frequently asked questions, and the answers, of course.

The School

Is the school in the center?

Yes. Within a few minutes walk of the central piazza, close to the main shopping streets, the university quarter, and the station.

Can I stay and study in the afternoon?

Sure, we have a spacious library / study centre where you can spread out your books and notes. Stay as long as you wish. And most afternoons there’s a tutor to help you with your homework or make conversation in Italian.

Is there WiFi?

Of course. Ask us for the password when you arrive.

What sort of social events are organized for students?

Guided tours of the city, lunches, wine/cheese tastings, drinks, cooking lessons, etc. Choose from the four events we organize each week

Levels

Do you have all levels?

Yes, but if not, we’ll open a class just for you.

How long will it take to complete a level?

Around four weeks for most people.

Students

What are the nationalities of your other students?

Most of our students come from Europe, the United States or Australia.

Am I too old to learn Italian?

We don’t think so, and neither do the experts! But you’ll never know unless you try…

What’s the average age of your other students?

We have university students but also retired people, and all ages in-between. The composition of our classes varies from week to week. We’d guess that the average age is around 30-40, perhaps a little higher than other schools.

Teachers

Are your teachers qualified?

Yes, they’re university graduates with a teaching qualification. But more importantly, they have many years of experience doing what they do! The majority of our staff are on permanent contracts, which helps us lock in that experience.

Do the teachers speak English?

They do. But we’d advise you against relying on that to communicate with them. Much better (for you) if you can get the hang of getting your ideas across in Italian…

Results

If I start as a beginner, how long will it take before I can communicate?

By the end of the first level (4 weeks) you should be able to communicate in a basic way. Allow longer (8-12 weeks) to reach a level at which you’re more autonomous in the language.

If I learn faster can I move on to the next level?

Sure, talk to the ‘direttore didattico’ (teaching manager) who will help you decide what’s best.

Lessons

Are the lessons taught in English or Italian?

In Italian, of course. That’s the whole point. But don’t worry – our teachers have many years experience in getting their message across.

Will I get lots of speaking practice?

Yes.

Do I need to buy a book?

The first part of each morning’s lesson will be based on a coursebook, which you can buy if you wish. If you’re on a tight budget or don’t want the extra weight, you can borrow one instead. We ask for a deposit equal to the value of the book, which which will be returned to you when you return it intact.

How are the lessons structured?

From 09.30 until 11.30 there’s the ‘input’ part of the lesson with your first teacher. That usually means moving through the syllabus of grammar and vocabulary. Then everyone goes to the coffee bar, together with the teachers, to have a coffee, a snack, and to talk in Italian!

After the break, the remaining part of the lesson is ‘practice’ with a second teacher.

Is there homework?

Yes, and you’ll get more out of your course if you do it (there’s a tutor available to help if you need support.) But this is a course for adults, so in the end, it’s up to you!

Can I try a lesson before I decide to enroll?

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say. So we’re always pleased to arrange a trial lesson in group courses. Contact us to arrange a trial.

Courses

How many weeks do your students usually study for?

The average is three. Some people stay much longer (up to a year). Others do the minimum, which is just a week.

If I feel I’m not pushed, can I change to an intensive course or add individual lessons?

Absolutely.

Can I take lessons online?

Yes. You’ll find details here.

Exams

Do you prepare students for Italian language exams?

Yes, in particular during evening classes. Individual lessons, either on their own or as a supplement to a group course, are also a good option for students preparing for an exam.

When can I take a CILS exam?

The University of Siena’s CILS Italian language exams are offered in December and June each year.

Accommodation

What type of accommodation do you offer?

Most people choose to stay in a room offered by an Italian host family. But we can also arrange apartments and hotel rooms. Find out more.

Do you have rooms available in the historic center of the city?

Yes.

Are the rooms within walking distance of the school?

Yes.

Do you offer half-board or full-board?

No. If you choose a room with an Italian family, you have full use of the kitchen to prepare your own meals. Or you could eat out, as Bologna offers many delicious and affordable gastronomic possibilities!

Dates

When can I start?

Any Monday apart from national holidays and the two-week period that we close over Christmas / New Year. Details here.

Can I start on Monday?

Sometimes people ask us this on Sunday evening! The answer is usually ‘yes’, but you’d be wise to check. Contact us.

I’m planning to take a longer course. Can I take a break during my course?

If you don’t require a study visa, that’s no problem. Just tell us in advance so that we can arrange things for you. If, on the other hand, you apply for a study visa on the basis of your Italian course, consulate visa regulations do not allow you to take a break or otherwise modify the dates of your course.

Enrollment

How do I enroll?

Follow these simple instructions.

Can I pay by bank transfer?

Yes, but any fees charged by the sending or receiving banks are your responsibility.

Can I give you my credit details in an e-mail or over the phone?

No, sorry. We can only take card payments when both you and the card are physically present in the school.

Prices and Discounts

Where can I see the prices of Italian courses?

All our prices are on this page.

Do you offer discounts for students and pensioners?

We do indeed. You’ll find details here.

Visas

Will you help me get a study visa?

If you enroll and pay the full fee for the entire period of your course, we will issue the documents to certify this, which you will need for your visa application. Obviously, we are unable to guarantee that your application will be successful.

Can I get my course fee refunded if my visa application is refused?

We’ll refund everything except our standard €150 deposit, and any bank charges. So if you pay thousands for a six-month course but fail to get a visa, you’ll get most of your money back.

Can I apply for a visa if I only enroll on an evening course?

Consulates will only consider issuing study visas if you are enrolled on a ‘full-time’ course, that is to say, twenty or more hours a week. So evening courses, which are just six hours a week, would not qualify.

Have we missed anything?

Got a question we haven’t answered? Contact us.