summer-courses-in-italy

Summer in the (Italian) City: 5 Incredible Summer Courses You Can Take Throughout Italy

Summer means longer days and more time to do the things you love.

Like learning Italian!

And if you want to improve your Italian before beach-weather ends, going to Italy and learning it from native speakers is one of the best things you can do.

Lucky for you, there are many excellent Italian language schools where you can learn the language while also getting the most out of your summer. From beach excursions to medieval festivals, these summer courses in Italy will kick you language skills and cultural knowledge up a level.

Maybe you’ll get a nice tan and a summer fling out of it, too!

Here are five summer courses in Italy that provide a great balance between language instruction and cultural excursions.
 


 
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What to Know Before You Go

If you choose to study in Italy at a language school, keep in mind that you’ll have to make all travel arrangements to and from Italy yourself. Unless you have citizenship in another EU country that participates in the Schengen agreement, you must also get the appropriate visa.

The best source of information on how to get a travel visa, and what kind you need, is to visit the website of the Italian consulate in the city closest to you. After you arrive in Italy your school will typically arrange in-country travel as it’s often a component of the coursework.

Once your trip is booked, it’s smart to prepare for language immersion to make sure you get the most out of it. FluentU is a convenient tool to become comfortable when surrounded by the sounds of real Italian. FluentU provides authentic Italian videos, like movie trailers, music videos, inspiring talks and more, that’ve been transformed into language learning experiences.

Each video comes with interactive captions to teach you new words while you watch. Just click any unfamiliar word for an instant definition, native pronunciation and visual learning aids. There are also flashcards and exercises for each video so you remember the vocabulary when you’re done watching. The videos are organized by genre and learning level so you have the freedom to learn with whatever interests you.

Not only will you be actively building your Italian skills ahead of your trip, you’ll be learning about Italian culture from the media native speakers actually watch. Don’t forget the FluentU free trial when you’re putting together your packing list.

While many courses for absolute beginners start at set times, you generally have more flexibility if you’re at the intermediate or advanced level. For non-beginners, most summer courses can be tailored to your ability and start at any Monday during the summer.

Also be aware that while these courses can greatly improve your Italian, most of them don’t give university credit. They’re really good options if you need to take an Italian fluency exam or are looking to advance a level over the summer so you can start at a higher level the following school year.

5 Immersive Summer Courses in Italian Cities and Beach Towns

Istituto Il David: A Productive Beach Vacation

The Istituto Il David is named after Florence’s most famous statue! With this summer program in Florence and one of three beach towns you can admire the beauty of the city and the sea.

With Istituto Il David’s summer courses, you can choose between a two-week program or a four-week program. The shorter program includes one week of instruction in Florence and one-week of instruction in one of three beach towns: Rimini, Orbetello or Otranto. Each week includes 20 hours of instruction.

With the longer course, you get a more intensive language experience. Time is divided up into two weeks in Florence and two in your beach location of choice and you get 40 hours of instruction each week.

You can also choose to take additional courses in Italian cooking, history of art, fashion, business or an arts and crafts workshop. These courses must be purchased and arranged separately.

The school also provides you with a single room in a shared apartment or family home in both Florence and Rimini or Orbetello, as well as transportation between cities. This way, you can either share your love of Italy with other enthusiastic language learners or learn culture firsthand in a family setting. (Note: only apartments are available in Otranto).

What makes this program unique:

This program recognizes that when it’s summertime, you just need to get out to the beach. Instead of fighting this urge, they just made it part of the learning experience. With this program, you’ll never feel like you were cooped up in a classroom when you could’ve been playing beach volleyball with the locals.

Scuola Leonardo da Vinci: Learn Italian Through Travel

Named after Milan’s most famous resident, the Scuola Leonardo da Vinci has locations in several Italian cities. The benefit of a school with multiple locations is that you can go to more than one branch and still get the same curriculum.

That’s the beauty of Scuola Leonardo da Vinci’s “Italian Tour” summer program. You get to study at two to four locations, depending on how long you want to stay. And these cities are an art lover’s dream: Milan, Rome, Florence and Siena. The minimum stay in each city is one week.

While the coursework is intensive, the scheduling is somewhat flexible based on course intensity. Even if you take the most intensive course, lessons end in the early afternoon so you still have plenty of time to explore.

What makes this program unique:

The opportunity to see art! If you want to learn the Italian language, you must study Italy’s art. The two are so intertwined that it’s almost impossible to learn one without the other. If you go to all four cities on this trip you’ll be exposed to every art movement that Italy is famous for: Ancient Roman, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque.

The Umbra Institute: Cultural Immersion in Perugia

For those of you who want to beat the sweltering Italian summer heat, then the cool mountain town of Perugia may be right up your alley. This beautiful town with its characteristic Medieval architecture has been a center of scholarship for centuries. At the Umbra Institute, you can catch the learning bug as well.

The “Intensive Italian through Culture” summer program is indeed intense. This six-week program is the equivalent of two semesters’ worth of study in the U.S.! So if you’re looking for a challenging but rewarding experience that’ll greatly accelerate your level of Italian, this program is for you.

The courses are divided into four levels: elementary (no prior Italian studies required), intermediate, advanced intermediate and advanced. Lessons focus on language comprehension, exercises and conversation. In addition to the 100 hours of classroom time, students also engage in 20 hours of cultural excursions. These include film screenings, museum visits and culinary excursions.

What makes this program unique:

The cultural immersion level in this program is among the best. That’s because, in addition to all the extracurricular activities you can do, you have plenty of time to interact with real Italian students. The institute organizes language exchanges, social events and dinner parties so that the students can meet, socialize and speak Italian together!

The University of Torino: The Italian University Experience

For true language immersion, you must avoid the tourists. Torino (Turin) is a beautiful city tucked away in Italy’s northwestern mountains. While it’s a busy university town, you won’t find that many tourists here.

The University of Torino holds two summer course sessions. The first is from July 4 through 26 and focuses on art and culture. The second is from September 5 through 27 and focuses on words and music.

Courses are divided into 60 hours of classroom instruction and 30 hours of cultural activities. Morning classes focus on language instruction while afternoon classes are focused on conversation and hands-on cultural activities. What activities you do depends on which program you decide to follow. These include guided tours, film screenings and concerts.

What makes this program unique:

This program is unique because it gives you a true taste of Italian university life. You study at a real university and can choose to live in real student housing and eat at the university cafeteria. This is an invaluable experience if you’re thinking about continuing your education at an Italian university. Italy’s education system is very different from that of the U.S. or U.K., so it may take some getting used to.

The Dante Alighieri Society: Cultural Immersion in Siena

The Dante Alighieri Society is an international society dedicated to the promotion of Italian culture throughout the world. During the summer, they organize language courses and cultural activities on their campus in Siena.

In addition to language classes tailored to your level, you’ll also have the opportunity to enrich your knowledge through cooking and culture courses. Using the medieval city of Siena as a backdrop, you can learn about the city’s art and history firsthand!

The society also organizes film screenings, museum visits, tours and wine tastings! If you’re there on July 2 or August 16, you’ll also get to experience the centuries-old Siena festival and horse race called the Palio. When it comes to Renaissance festivals, this is as authentic as it gets. With period costume, food and entertainment, it’s a must-see event!

What makes this program unique:

The experience of studying with the DAS doesn’t have to end when you leave Italy. There are hundreds of local DAS chapters in dozens of countries, so odds are there’s one near you. To find the chapter nearest you, try doing a Google search of “Dante Alighieri Society” and the name of a nearby city. So if you’re looking for a place where you can meet other people who share your love of the Italian language, your local DAS chapter is a good place to be!

 

Spending a summer in Italy is one of the best ways to get truly immersed in the language and culture. Spending just a small amount of time there will increase your competence with the language drastically and you’ll notice the difference!

The language learning experience is enhanced when you have a good balance between classroom instruction and cultural activities. And that’s what you get when you spend your summer in an Italian city.

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