Language Study in Italy
The best way to move directly from tourist to total immersion is by language study. Begin planning your trip by checking out language courses on the Internet, looking at location, price, and accommodations. Once you
narrow down your choices, ask questions and get recommendations from former students of the school you are considering.
My destination was Florence, and I found a school called Koine (www.koinecenter.com) that offers language lessons (group and individual) and
cooking lessons. Koine has schools in Florence, Lucca, and Bologna and summer programs in Cortona and Orbetello. Their website offered extensive information and online enrollment. Be sure to find out how much housing assistance your school
To take away some of the fear and apprehension about language learning I enrolled in a local Italian for travelers course a few months before departure. Even though schools usually offer beginning courses, I felt
better knowing some basic vocabulary before I arrived.
The classes were held weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a short break for a snack. Afternoons and weekends were free to stroll around the city.
As a solo traveler I had the option of being with a group and making new friends, or breaking away to be alone any time I wanted. My apartment gave me the freedom to shop for groceries in my neighborhood market and
try my hand at Italian cooking. But this freedom came with a steep price tag. I was the only one of my classmates living in an independent apartment. Other options offer some of the same benefits as independent living at less cost: a shared
apartment allows you to have your own room but share the living room, kitchen and bathroom. Many travelers choose homestays with Italian families or a bed and breakfast. To locate apartment vacancies in Florence go to www.yaif.it.