Summer School in Florence
Katie Allen : 4 weeks July/August
I had done a week’s course in Florence before so I knew roughly what to expect from that side of things. I wasn’t sure what living with a host family would be like but I was hoping for a relaxed friendly atmosphere. Thankfully I felt that my expectations were both met and surpassed particularly with regards to my accommodation and host family. From a linguistic point of view, I was pleased by how my Italian had improved by the end of the language course.
The lessons at the Italian language school in Florence were well structured and presented and there was a good opportunity for students to both ask questions and enter in to a discussion. I felt I was placed in the right group for my ability; it was both challenging and doable. The teachers were all very nice and the school was certainly in a good location, right in the centre of Florence (quite literally a stone’s throw from the Duomo!).
I think being able to communicate in Italian, having discussions about world issues and learning more about Italian culture were the best parts of the course for me. There wasn’t really a low point, I enjoyed all of it. In fact I was pleasantly surprised by how friendly and welcoming other students were and I certainly found that living with some of the other students from the Italian language college made it particularly easy to be sociable and form new friendships.
I found there was a good range of activities advertised in the school, such as the visit to ‘Le Cinque Terre.’ As for the classes, I felt that we had enough teacher contact hours during the day for my needs and believe that it was good to have the afternoons free to enjoy the city and prepare work for the following day.
I loved Florence both as somewhere to live and as a cultural experience. The locals were all very friendly and there was a calm, safe atmosphere even at night. There were certainly plenty of things to do whether it was visiting a museum, looking around the shops or enjoying a ‘gelato’ . The city had a little of everything to offer visitors and language students alike. I would recommend any of the city’s squares; they have a great atmosphere and are full of nice restaurants.
I was really happy in my accommodation. The family I stayed with were lovely. They created a very relaxed familial atmosphere and made everybody feel right at home. They were very good at making sure we had everything we needed, and prepared a delicious meal for us each night.
I found the CESA staff both friendly and helpful. They were very good at finding a package which met my needs and keeping me updated.
I would highly recommend this course, not only from a linguistic point of view but also as a great opportunity to meet people from different cultures and experience a different way of life.
I would certainly recommend this course to anyone with an interest in languages and other cultures and would seriously consider doing another course. I think just experiencing another way of life and meeting everybody on my course some of whom I became good friends with, was the highlight of my trip.