(Seen this email before? I sent it on the same day two years ago. But it’s just as true now, perhaps more so, so we’re using it again…)
The 2022 Italian Course ‘Save 20%!” offer proceeds, with a good number of people from around the world having already paid a small deposit to lock in a great saving on their next Italian course!
The more optimistic ones, I suppose.
On Friday I wrote about why Bologna is a great place (maybe the best!) to study Italian.
So today, in all modesty, let’s consider which school to choose in Bologna.
Madrelingua is a member of the national association of Italian Schools, ASILS, as you can verify by clicking through to their website.
And as you will see there, two other Bologna schools are also members.
Both are respected and valid associates.
Either is worthy of your consideration.
So what makes OUR school, the newest of the three, actually, the final choice for a lot of students?
Perhaps it’s the price?
We’re neither the most expensive, nor the cheapest.
Though from a marketing point of view, that’s a perilous position to be in.
Maybe it’s the fact that we have the ugliest website?
I’m a great believer in home-made marketing tools.
ANYONE can have a nice-looking website – just throw enough money at a graphic designer – but it takes time and patience to put together something that looks like it’s run by a bunch of (sniff) ‘language teachers’.
Besides the website, one reason people sign up to study Italian at Madrelingua is because my wife, Stefania, valiantly answers the phone and responds to emails seven days a week, three hundred and sixty five days a year.
On any given Sunday afternoon, a potential student might be pondering the search results chucked up by Google and, at a loss as to which to choose, decide to shoot off an email to all of the schools they see in Bologna.
An hour or so later, despite it being the weekend, they get a reply, patiently answering their questions. (Try it!)
Thursday, by the way, is our staff Christmas lunch.
It’ll be at the end of the morning on the final day of teaching before the Christmas/New Year holiday, which is the only period of the year when we close (though Stefi still answers the phone and replies to emails!)
It’s traditional at these events for the boss (that’s me) to stand up and make a speech, the contents of which must include heartfelt thanks to everyone for their hard work, self-sacrifice, and so on.
We’ll all drink too much wine, Secret Santa gifts will be exchanged, and the company credit card will take a hit when it’s time to pay the bill.
Everyone then winds their way home to sleep it off – another Christmas lunch over and done with, nothing very remarkable having happened, little being different from similar events attended in many previous years (OBVIOUSLY THIS IS NO LONGER TRUE – THIS HAS BEEN A REMARKABLE PERIOD!)
Mostly it’s the same faces each time – Stefi and I, and our team of permanent Italian teachers: Francesca, who’s in charge, Paola, Giula and Angela, but also whichever of the regular or more-occasional freelancers happens to be available and up for a free pizza – Giovanni, for instance.
Many of them have been with us since the early days.
Paola was, I recall, the first ever ‘permanent’ employee we hired (a daunting and complex process under Italian law). Francesca came not much later, a refugee from a competitor, then Giulia, all fresh-faced and just starting out after uni (now she’s a mum, and complaining about a mid-life crisis!)
And freelancer Giovanni was MY Italian teacher (at a competitor school) twenty years back, before we’d even considered opening Madrelingua, which was started in 2005.
And here we all still are!
Between you and me, and leaving aside that I still have to write the speech for the Christmas lunch, the staff certainly have SOMETHING to do with the school’s success.
It can’t be just the fantastic marketing…
I’m just not sure what it is, exactly.
It’s not so much that we have permanent teachers, which in theory should lock in experience and lead to ‘better’ teaching.
Neither is it that the teachers have decades of experience – and not between them, either – each!
I’ve worked in other schools with permanent staff who’ve been there for years, and many of them haven’t given a fig (so to speak) about their clients.
It’s not so much that the teachers are particularly talented, compared, say, with other Italian teachers in other schools.
Nor that they are necessarily any kinder, or more interesting.
I just think it’s that each and every one of them, in some small way, views their job as to actually CARE about the students who study with us.
So they know their names, where they’re from, and why they’re learning Italian.
And they DO THEIR BEST to help clients reach their goals, whatever those may be.
This work of ‘caring’ goes on week after week, year after year.
And as a consequence, time after time, former clients come back to study with us again – a second, third, fourth, or fifth time!
I’ll put that in the speech, I think. Though I’ll have to pretty it up a bit, and add some jokes.
Other reasons to choose Madrelingua for your Italian course?
Here’s a list – some points are trivial, but anyway:
- Check on Google Maps and you’ll see that we’re absolutely the most CENTRALLY-LOCATED
- Madrelingua is on the first floor of a historic building, right alongside the cathedral
- Every classroom has air-conditioning, which is vital in the summer
- We all speak English (though it’s better for you if we communicate in Italian)
- The school is a family business, run by an English/Italian husband and wife team. Got a problem? Talk to the owners
- And no, we DON’T offer ‘third age’ courses. We have a good mix of ages and nationalites and everyone gets along just fine
What else can I add?
People really do learn Italian, and to a good level, at that!
Assuming they stick with it long enough, of course.
In the end, it’s just a question of time – the human brain is programed to learn foreign languages, given the need and the opportunity.
The important thing is that you feel SAFE, comfortable and interested enough to keep at it, until the magic happens!
We want you to feel at home, but more stimulated, if you see what I mean…
2022 Italian Course Offer!
Just a reminder: this week, save 20% on group Italian courses of any length beginning in 2022 at our school in Bologna!
- Pay the ‘Winter Offer – 20%’ course deposit (€120 instead of the usual €150)
- That ‘locks in’ a saving of 20% on your whole course!
- This promotion is valid for group courses only, not individual or online lessons
- Courses can be of any length: the more you study, the more you learn!
- Don’t worry about deciding the dates of your course now – just email us when you know
- The offer ends at midnight on Christmas Day – 25th December 2021
For more information, check out these pages on the school website: