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Bologna Language School

#2
While I have not attended this school myself, I know someone who has and loved it. The classes weren't too large with excellent instructors. At one point there were only 4 students in the class and no more than 8. Keep in mind if you attend during the summer months there will be a lot of very young students. There are excursions and social activities given by the school.
 
#4
Hi Marlene. I will be attending Academya Lingue for one week in October and I’ll try remember to post a response to your thread afterward. I chose this school because they provide optional afternoon social or cultural activities in addition to four hours of daily classroom time, which ultimately means more opportunities to learn and practice the language. I noticed some schools cut the classroom time to two hours a day if only one student is enrolled in a particular level, while Academya Lingue provides the full four hours. The school gets very good reviews and I’m looking forward to it.
 
#5
HappyTrails2, please do post. Where are you staying in Bologna? I've been trying to find place close to the school (I have some mobility problems and don't want to be dependent on cabs). I've been looking at Cavazza Residence: https://www.residencecavazza.it/en/ which is about 1/2 mile away (about my limit).
 
#6
We’re staying in an Airbnb, Google Maps shows it as 400 meters (1/4 mile) from the school. The apartment is on the top floor, in the attic. The building has an elevator, but I’m not certain whether it will get you all the way to the apartment or whether some stair climbing is involved. I can send you a link if you are interested.
 
#7
I think I'll pass on the AirBnb. As a solo traveler, I prefer a small hotel-like place where there is a 24-hr desk and other people to chat with at breakfast. I hope you enjoy Bologna. I've been there many times, but it's been over a decade since my last stay.
 
#8
I’m back with my review. Did I like Academya Lingue? Yes, very much. It was fun. A lot of fun. One week was not enough, and I hope to return for a longer period, maybe as much as a month, in a year or two. Although I began on a Monday, I realized everyone else started or ended on random days. There’s no need to begin on a certain day unless you’re new to the language and have little or no background. If you have an extra day or two when you arrive in or leave Bologna, consider spending them in school.

For those starting from scratch, I suspect the school will provide a start date so the student begins on the first day of the cycle. For people who speak a little or a lot of Italian, you “plug” into the appropriate level, one through six. Based upon the results of my online test, I began in a low intermediate class. The school owner, Andrea, told me I could switch to any of the other levels if the class wasn’t appropriate for me. After only the morning (two hour) session, I knew I wasn’t keeping up and asked to step down a level. It turned out to be the right decision, most things in the new class were a review, but I was out of practice and just being in the class was enormously helpful. The change allowed me to enjoy the lessons and learn some new material without feeling stressed.

There’s a coffee break after the morning grammar session, with the anticipation the students will speak Italian at the bar. My class was a bit of a mix, often resorting to English since my classmates were from Holland, South Africa, Uruguay, US and Russia. The break lasts an hour, then you return to the school for the last hour, which focuses on conversation. At first I thought the break was too long and I wanted more classroom time, but as the week progressed, I realized I really needed the break. You can always return to the classroom early to review the material, which I did.

Most of the students were at the school to become proficient in the language, about three months. One woman was spending a year learning Italian. My class had between four and nine students depending upon the day and the session. Since most students were there for a long period, they had routine conflicts and would miss a session or a day.

The instructors were extremely friendly and helpful. I was always greeted with a smile. They frequently used games or contests during the lesson. Even though I was much older than most of the students, the games were very enjoyable and they made learning fun.

A few pieces of advice. On your first day, arrive at least 15-20 minutes early, especially if you’re starting on a Monday. It’s a bit congested with everyone being directed to the appropriate classroom. If the door to the building is closed when you arrive, ring the bell, they will buzz open the door immediately. Walk up to the second floor to find the small office. Don’t hesitate to change class levels, up or down, do what’s best for you. Before you leave home, practice. And then find more ways to practice. I reviewed notes from previous classes and thought I’d be fine, but I was more out of practice than I realized. In retrospect, I wish I would have taken even a beginning Italian class at the local recreation center just to get in the habit of speaking the language again. I think I would have been more comfortable in the intermediate class if I had practiced more. Regardless, you’ll have a great time.
 
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#9
Thanks so much for the information. Very inspiring! I'm hoping that I can go next May, but I need to deal with my knee (bursitis) first (My PT goal is to be able to walk at least 2 miles a day without pain).

I think nine students is way too many. Wasn't there was a limit on the number in class?

Were there any extra activities at the school that you participated in?

I use Duolingo a low level daily to keep my hand in when I'm not taking classes, and it seems to help. However, I agree that a class at home is a good idea to refresh conversation skills.
 
#10
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Quote Marlene:
I think nine students is way too many. Wasn't there was a limit on the number in class?

Were there any extra activities at the school that you participated in?
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I believe the school’s website indicates the average class size is four to eight students. We only had nine for my first day and the morning of the second day.

Yes, I joined them for two activities, the first was a tour to get acquainted with the city center and the “secrets” of Bologna on Monday, which lasted about two hours. It was on foot, but the geographic area is pretty small, so it was more standing than walking. The second activity I joined was a tour of the Roman ruins discovered under what is now a library. It’s a small area seen from clear floor panels in the library. The tour left from the school, and we walked just a few minutes to the library. It lasted less than an hour.

Just for calibration, one of my classmates from the US only planned to attend class for a week but enjoyed it enough to return for two extra days before she had to fly home.
 

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