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Mrs Heraghty: Italian Standard Course

” I didn’t really think too much about it before I booked a two week course – I just went for the experience!!

I have done something similar in France around 5 years ago, so I had some idea of what to expect.  I really hoped to be able to “chat” more spontaneously as a result of the course.

There was a lot of grammar but I do think that this was necessary.  The teacher did encourage us to talk, but it took us a while to get going.

Lessons at the Italian language school in Milan were good, loved having very small groups (4 or 5 per class).  Lessons were a mixture of activities; reading, grammar, discussion, listening comprehension, conversation & games.  Very good student/teacher interaction; friendly, kind, helpful, patient, keen to help & instructive.

I felt comfortable in the school, there were a lot of young nubile Italian design students in the library but – hey! whatever! – even they were friendly!  Office staff and teachers were very approachable.

Milan was great – I really enjoyed my morning bus journey in.  It was near the inner ring road so very accessible.  I (almost) felt like a real “Milanese” and loved not staying in a major tourist area.

The best part of it all for me was having the time to concentrate on my Italian and NOT having to do other things e.g. cook, clean, shop, go to work etc.  I LOVED being a student – education’s so wasted on the young!  (I’m a teacher by the way) and it was great to have the weekend free and then play tourist (I went to Lake Como).

All the students were friendly even though they were much younger than myself. Didn’t engage in college social activities, cultural programme etc – I was only there for two weeks and it just wasn’t for me.

Half-day lessons were ideal for me; had time to look over work again, finish exercises from previous day and do a bit of extra consolidation.  I needed to do this as I felt I was the weakest/slowest in the group and needed a bit more time than the others.  I would have liked more 1 to 1 conversation, but of course I could have paid for that.

I went to a local café near the college every day and became recognised.  Was able to speak a bit to the other diners – who were obviously Milanese locals on their lunch break.  Everyone I came across was kind, helpful and friendly.  I felt very safe, though didn’t go out much.  To be fair, I didn’t go for the social life.  Had a lovely day on Easter Monday (my first day in Italy) in Parco Sempione – lovely weather and full of Italians strolling and enjoying the public holiday.  I have been to Milan before as a tourist and didn’t want that again, hence the decision to take a language course.

My hostess was helpful, kind and accommodating.  We gradually got to know each other.  She was very good at understanding my bad Italian and we began to chat by the second week.  She preferred to eat at midday, but increasingly came to sit with me at meal times.  Kept asking what I would like to eat and to help myself to anything.  She cooked fresh food for me every evening and my room was clean, tidy and perfectly adequate with a nice balcony I could use.  There was constant hot water, which is always a plus!

I found CESA Languages staff helpful, friendly and efficient.  Felt I could have asked anything I wanted.  Can’t think of anything you can do to improve.

I would certainly go again – but it’s not cheap!  I would definitely recommend others to go though.

The most memorable part of the experience was my wonderful daily routine:

Leisurely breakfast, shower, journey to college by bus with locals.  Morning spent in the library.  Lunch at a nice Milanese (not touristy) café followed by afternoon lessons.  A short 10 minute journey home (excellent and frequent bus service).  Weather permitting a sun-bathe on the balcony.  Very nice dinner and chat with my hostess.  Then study, read, text family and chat to my husband back in the UK and early to bed.  Bliss!!