Start to Speak and Understand Italian with a course at
Madrelingua Italian Language School, Bologna, Italy
Discover how that dream you have of speaking Italian could finally become a reality!
People like you from around the world dream of speaking and understanding Italian.
Perhaps because they have Italian forebears, or have a passion for the cuisine, the culture or the lifestyle. Sometimes it’s just a hobby, sometimes it’s the first step in a plan for a whole new life.
Madrelingua Italian Language School exists to help make those dreams come true.
And they do.
We just love it when our clients achieve their goals, when they learn to express themselves in Italian, even at a basic level. It’s thrilling when they first begin to understand when Italians speak to them.
And we know one thing: no matter who you are, what your age or nationality is, or what you did or didn’t achieve at school, you really COULD speak and understand Italian.
We’ve taught diplomats (to ambassador level), politicians, movie actors and sportspeople. Even a chess champion. But also pensioners, unemployed people, students, immigrants, people who fall in love with Italians or Italy, dreamers, and people who just like learning languages.
So we know that learning a foreign language is NOT impossible (though sometimes it can feel that way.)
And we know that you could do it too. It just takes time, and a bit of expert help & support, especially when you’re just starting out.
Every week of the year, every year, students at our school make real, measurable progress.
Making that happen, week after week, month after month, for anyone and everyone who desires it, is what we do for a living.
We’ll be with you every step of the way, making sure things work out as you hope. All you need to do is to take the first step.
How can I be SURE you can do this? How can I KNOW you are capable of speaking and understanding Italian?
Róża Maria Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein (Member of the European Parliament) wrote:
This is just to thank the language school “Madrelingua” for a great experience of learning italian in a most enjoyable and efficient way! After 3 intensive weeks not only can I follow spoken and written texts, but I can make myself understood in italian, on a basic level, which gives me real satisfaction.
Speak and Understand Italian Better, Starting Today!
You should definitely read the rest of this page to find out exactly how Madrelingua will help you really speak and understand Italian.
Then, when you’re ready to make your dream come true, you need to send a deposit ( just €150!)
Click on one of the “Buy Now” buttons that you see at intervals. They look like this:
Why This WON’T Be Like Going Back At School
I’m Daniel. My wife and I run Madrelingua Italian Language School in Bologna, Italy.
You’d expect someone who owns a language school to be an expert linguist, wouldn’t you? Perhaps with a college degree in the subject? But no, I studied other things, and like a lot of our clients, I wouldn’t say I was “good at languages”.
So, how did I end up living in Italy, speaking Italian, and helping others learn to do the same?
Let me tell you my story, and explain why learning Italian at Madrelingua will not be like any previous experiences you may have had!
Going way back to when I was a kid at school, I studied French. It was tedious, and lasted for what felt like years, and years. Can I speak French now? Of course not.
But as an adult I successfully learnt other foreign languages. Several, in fact. And let me tell you, it’s actually a lot EASIER when you’re an adult, if you know how.
In my early twenties, I was looking for a new direction in life, and ended up in Turkey teaching adults English in a private language school like the one I now own.
We taught adults from all walks of life: students, business people, military personnel, policemen, who’d leave their machine pistols under their desks during lessons.
Classes were quite traditional, with grammar and so on, but the REAL learning happened outside class, in the bars and restaurants of the city, where we young teachers made friends and enjoyed our free time with clients who were desperate to learn English and so happy to stand us drinks.
As my students learnt English, so I was learning Turkish. Not so much by studying, but by being there, by forming relationships, and by having a great time! I have great memories of those years, but more importantly learnt valuable lessons about teaching and learning foreign languages.
Traditional classroom learning has its place: I earn my living from it, and there’s no doubt a quality language course can really speed things up.
But like me, many people failed to make much progress with foreign languages at school, and so have little confidence. It doesn’t always help to use the same approach again, now they’re all grown up and may have other priorities in their lives, like family or work.
As a teacher of adults, I learnt that if my students aren’t interested, stimulated, and feeling a sense of progress, they’ll quickly lose their motivation, and even drop out. That’s their dream over, and in the REAL world, if my students dropped out, my job would be at risk.
Not something my French teacher at school ever had to worry about!
After Turkey I spent a year teaching Japanese children. They didn’t speak English, I didn’t speak Japanese, but we all learnt a lot anyway. Hell of a lot, actually. Boot camp for what works, and what doesn’t when communicating with people who know little or nothing of your language.
Next came an Academic Director role at a new school for adults in Poland, where I learnt to recruit, train and manage excellent teachers. And to make sure that they always put clients first.
After enduring an endless Polish winter, I was back in the UK, working in some of the best-resourced and most professional English language schools for adults in the WORLD. These were places where people would pay thousands for a course, and expect the best that money could buy, which I learnt how to provide.
And that was when it happened.
I was working as a teacher-trainer (teaching others how to teach foreign languages) and one of the trainees in my group was Stefania from Italy (my future wife and now business partner at Madrelingua).
No doubt about it, she was the most talented young teacher in the group, and also the prettiest! (Incidentally, she’s the one who’ll answer your e-mail when you write to us; firstname.lastname@example.org )
I have to admit, I had already visited Italy once, and hadn’t liked it much. I know any Italian or Italians and had had a lousy time. I didn’t have much desire to go back.
But that’s what happened. London wasn’t a great choice to bring up the family we were planning, and Stefi, like all Italians wanted to be close to her family.
In 1998 we moved permanently to Bologna, Italy, a medieval city, home to Europe’s oldest university and world-famous for its food.
Another new country, another new language, and this time I had a pregnant Italian wife to support not just myself. You’ll understand how tough things were for us at first.
Three children were born in the first four years, during which time I slept little and worked a lot.
New in town, I freelanced, mostly for private clients, who only continue to pay me if they were happy with their progress and with my approach to their learning.
Things started to improve and eventually I was hired at the British Council – the famous UK govt. cultural and language teaching organisation – and the best langauge school in the city at that time. But just two years later its closure was announced, and we teachers and staff were laid off.
Opening my own school had always been a dream, and here was the chance. Stefi and I were determined that Madrelingua (the name means “mother-tongue” or “native-speaker”) would be the best school we could possibly make it.
Did we succeed? That’ll be for you to judge.
How We Help YOU To Learn To Speak And Understand Italian
Italian classes at Madrelingua have one objective: to develop your ability to speak and understand the Italian language.
We believe that language learning is a natural process, something that everyone is capable of, something that you don’t have to be “good at” to succeed in.
And we organise things so that that has the best chance of happening for you:
- We’ll evaluate your level before you arrive in Bologna with a written test sent by e-mail. You’ll join a class with others like you
- From Day 1 you’ll get used to listening to Italian and working out the meaning because your lessons are IN Italian
- But don’t worry! You’ll be able to follow the lessons because the materials are chose and the teachers are trained to ensure that you can. Remember how I learnt to do this with Japanese children? I’ve trained our Italian teachers to do it too
- You’ll get new grammar and vocabulary in the first class of the morning, so each day of your course builds on your knowledge
- At break time, you’ll be speaking in Italian with your teacher and the other students at the coffee bar. No English, please!
- Back to the school for more practice: speaking, listening, reading, perhaps writing
- Choose the length and date of your course to meet your needs and objectives, start any Monday, study for one week or many!
- You’ll progress around one level every four or five weeks, but even a one-week course helps
- A “Tutor” is available to help you with your homework or offer more speaking practice, free of charge! She’ll be waiting for you in the library for 2 hours most afternoons.
- 3-4 social events are organised for you each week, so you’ll make friends to speak Italian with
This system works for hundreds of clients each year. Some traditional teaching, lots of practice, new friends, good times. And no English please!
It could work for you too. And I have a guarantee for you, something that that I believe NO OTHER SCHOOL IN ITALY is currently promising. Details below!
I’d highly recommend Madrelingua for anyone looking to study Italian in Bologna. From initial enquiries, through to course booking, accommodation finding and feedback follow-up, the service was professional and efficient.
My tutors (Francesca and Lucia) were both great and made learning a pleasure. We covered a lot of ground in the two weeks that I was there and I felt I made real progress. During the coffee breaks everyone, tutors included, goes to a local cafe and conversations are conducted solely in Italian. As a result, it became second nature for me to speak to other native English speakers in Italian, even outside of school hours. Even now, a month or two after my course finished friends I met on the course send me Facebook and text messages in Italian!
The School is well-equipped with both a book and DVD library and plenty of internet-enabled computers. Teaching is supplemented with a great social programme; in the two short weeks I was there I visited a parmesan dairy, took a cookery class, had guided tours of two of Bologna’s many museums, went for an aperitivo (or two!) and a couple of lunches, all accompanied by one of the lovely tutors and all conducted in Italian. So although I was booked on a 4-hour/day course, in reality I spent all day every day speaking Italian, which is definitely the best way to improve.
I feel in love with Bologna and the surrounding area, and made many good friends at Madrelingua. Grazie mille!
Making Learning Italian Easier
Learning a foreign language is not easy, sorry. It can take a long time (months, years), and can be pyschologically difficult (imagine what it feels like to not be able to express yourself AT ALL, and to not understand ANYTHING. It takes some getting used to.)
But our job is to make the whole process as easy for you as possible. How can we do that?
- Minimum course length just ONE WEEK. If you’re happy, stay longer. Or come back another time. But with a short minimum course length, you’ll be able to check us out and see if learning Italian is what you really want to do
- When you book, you’ll only need a booking deposit of €150. No need to come up with the rest until the first day of your course (that’s another thing that most other schools won’t allow). It couldn’t BE easier. Just pay €150with your credit card (via Paypal’s secure payment facility), choose which Monday you want to start, go book your flight, and you’re on the way to Bologna and to speaking and understanding Italian
- Need a place to stay during your course? We’ll sort that out for you, if you need help. We deal with the booking for you (at no extra charge), you’ll pay the host family, hotel or appartment owner directly when you get here. Any problems, just let us know, so we can sort it out for you.
- Buy your course book directly at the school, or borrow it from us at no extra cost, so you don’t weigh down your bags on the way home (small deposit required). All you need is a pencil or pen, a notebook, and some enthusiasm
- The school’s open all day, so you’ll be able to stay as long as you like. There are plenty of places to study, or just hang out and chat!
Alexandra Griffiths wrote:
Learning Italian at Madrelingua boosted my accuracy and, above all, confidence in Italian. All of the staff are some of the friendliest and most professional teachers I’ve ever come across. So, after a 4-week intensive course, and taking the CILS exam, I decided to return only a few months later which consolidated firmly everything I had previously learnt with them. I would highly recommend Madrelingua to learn Italian.
Frequently Asked Questions
- I’ve never successfully learnt a foreign language before. Neither had, until I did. There’s a first time for everyone, even “experts”.
- Am I too old, or too young? Nope. I’ve taught kids as young as 3, adults in their 80s. It’s very, very rare to meet anyone who has a particular talent, or lack of it. Motivation and time and the key factors in langauge learning, not age.
- What if it’s too difficult for me? If you’re not used to learning, you might find it difficult at first. If you’ve never studied languages, that makes it harder too. But our teachers expect that. Most clients are people like you. The teachers are there to help you. Plus there’s the tutor in the afternoons, for extra support. And if all else fails, you can ask me. I’m not an Italian teacher, but I’ll be happy to help you if I can. After all, I’ve been through it myself!
- Can I afford this? Language study vacations can cost a lot less than other types of vacation. After all, you’re busy a lot of the time so won’t be wasting loads of cash just to keep occupied! Other than the cost of your course, which isn’t huge, and accommodation, which can be as cheap or expensive as you want, there’s just your eating and spending money. Bologna’s full of university students on low budgets, so if they can get by, so will you!
- When will I have to pay? Just a small deposit with your credit card or Paypal today. The remainder isn’t due until the first day of your course. By the way, you don’t even have to decide now when you’re coming or how long your course will be. Perhaps you’d like to look at cheap flights first? That’s fine. Just let us know. Now all we need is a booking deposit. The rest you can sort out via e-mail with Stefi.
- What if I change my mind about the dates or length of stay? No problem. Just let us know.
- What if I decide to extend my stay? We won’t complain. Lots of people do. The longer you stay, the more you’ll learn. Some clients stay for 6 months or more, starting at beginners and leaving with a top-level Italian qualification (plus lots of friends and happy memories).
- And if I’m not satisfied? Scroll down this page to find my personal guarantee to you. I think I’m the only language school owner in Italy ready to offer it, so you’ll want to know the details…
Joy Resta wrote:
This was the best language school that I have ever attended! Thank you so much to all the excellent teachers whose support was never-ending! I’m going to return in 2014.
How To Book Your Course Safely And Without Wasting Time
Booking an Italian language course is not a complicated process, once you’ve chosen the right school! In fact, it should just take a few minutes. Let me walk you through how to do it:
- First, you’ll want to take a good look around our website. You’ll find links to everything you need at the bottom of this page (but don’t stop reading yet… there’s important stuff to come!)
- Got any questions? You should email Stefi, who’ll be delighted to help (I’m management & marketing, she’s admin and customer care). Or phone. We all speak excellent English.
- Next, fill in the online booking form. If you don’t have all the details yet (your course dates, say), that’s OK. Just leave a blank.
- Now you’re ready to pay your deposit to confirm your booking. Go to our online shop, choose the course deposit “product”. It’s just like buying something on Amazon or in any online store. Payments are handled by Paypal, so totally safe.
- Then what will happen? Stefi will contact you to confirm your booking. We answer e-mails every day of the year, even holidays. If she’s got your booking form, but not your payment, she’ll gently remind you that she needs a deposit before she can go ahead and confirm your course and book accommodation for you.
- Once she has everything, she’ll lend you a simple Italian test via e-mail. It’ll take you about 30 minutes to complete. When you’ve sent it back, we’ll have an idea of your starting level, which we’ll check orally when we meet you on the first day of your course.
- Stefi will start looking out for a great place for you to stay. We work with trusted host families, reliable appartment owners and hotels near our school. A week or so before your course, she’ll send you full details.
Meekal Hashmi wrote:
Thank you Madrelingua! I looked around the whole country for a good school to learn Italian. I spoke to so many people in so many places and read so many reviews. After speaking to Stefania at Madrelingua, who very patiently answered all my very annoying questions, I settled on the school. It was terrific. A real family run enterprise with a perfect blend of professionalism, charm and personal attention. Stefania helped me find excellent accommodation and settled me in painlessly into the school. The teaching was excellent – both Lucia and Francesca managed to bring a real sense of fun to learning Italian and I really felt I made good progress. My only regret is that I couldn’t stay on the course for a few months rather than a few weeks! I shall always remember my time at Madrelingua with immense fondness and hope I can at some point return again. Full marks to everyone there.
Here it is: My Personal Guarantee To You
People are different.
Perhaps learning a foreign language, while a nice dream, won’t really be for you. Could be you’ll hate being away from home and your loved ones. Or maybe you’ll understand that you have other priorities. Or just don’t enjoy it the way you thought you would.
That happens sometimes. But you won’t know unless you try, will you?
I believe that you CAN learn Italian. I did, and I’m not “good at languages”. I also think that the absolute best thing would be if you signed up for a course at our school right now!
My advice is that you should definitely give it a try. Dreams don’t come true unless you’re willing to take the first step. But you should remember that learning a foreign language takes time, and can be tough, and that you’ll need to stick with it, even when it’s hard, so as to see the results later.
But if it’s not for you, it’s not for you.
Let’s say you’ve booked a course for a number of weeks (it’s cheaper and you’ll make more progress with a longer course).
B then you find out early on that it’s not what you want?
Well, that’s nobody’s fault. And I wouldn’t want you to lose out because of it. So here’s my PERSONAL guarantee to you:
Book a course of two or more weeks (there’s no upper limit, stay as long as you want). If, at the end of the first week, you’re not getting out of it what you hoped, I’ll cancel your course there and then and give you a REFUND for the remaining part of your course.
You’ll pay just the published price for a one week course, and get the rest of your money back.
Got that? Now you can confidently book a month-long Italian course, or two months, or whatever you want, safe in the knowledge that if at the end of the first week you’re not absolutely satisfied, I’ll give you back the difference between what you paid and the published price for the one-week course, which is our minimum period.
As far as I’m aware, no other school in Italy offers a “Satisfied, or cancel your course and get the rest of your money back” guarantee like this.
We never did it before either, but then I remembered: our job is to make it easier for you to learn to speak and understand Italian.
Mary Nixon wrote:
I spent 4 weeks studying at Madrelingua in 2012. Madrelingua is a very well run and well resourced school. Bologna is a great city, the school is very conveniently located, and the teaching is excellent. I came across several repeat attendees. Although the speaking of Italian is strongly and actively encouraged if you are an English-speaking real beginner it might be comforting to bear in mind that Stefi speaks brilliant English. There was no shortage of computers and plenty of time to use them. The two teachers who were available for two hours in the afternoons to help with homework were lovely and very encouraging. The school was open until 8 pm at night for the truly keen. I strongly recommend Madrelingua.
What You Need To Do Next
This is the time for cautious, rational people to have a good look around our website and check us out. Here are some places to start:
Or if you’re the impulsive type and just want to fling youself into this new adventure….
P.S. Something Even Easier And Cheaper To Start With?
We also teach Italian online, via Skype video conferencing. If you have a reasonable Internet connection, why not try a lesson from your own home or office with one of our regular Madrelingua teachers?
Just to see how you like it? And how you like us.
The minimum committment for online lessons isn’t a week. It’s just one, one-hour lesson, and you can definitely afford that!
Online Italian lessons are completely personalised to your needs. You choose what to study, conversation, grammar, it’s up to you! You’ll find the prices in our shop, here.
P.P.S. How To SAVE 15% On Your Italian Course
Want to save money on your Italian course? Course you do!
As a reward for reading this far fill in the form below and you’ll immediately receive a 15% discount voucher, which means big savings even on our shortest courses.
Once you’ve filled out the form, be sure to check your inbox for the confirmation request (we want to be sure it’s you and not some spammer).
Click the confirmation link in the email you receive to give us permission to mail you. You’ll then be sent your voucher, valid for any group course you want to do.
I’ll also send you updates from our blog and occasional promotions. If that’s too many e-mails, or if you made the weird decision to study at some other language school, go ahead ad unsubscribe from the mailing list any time you choose by clicking the link included in every mail you get.
Just in case you were wondering, all the testimonials on this page are 100% genuine client testimonials and are taken from our Testimonials pages, here.