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Learn Italian on the Beach

Combine Language Study and a Family Vacation in Italy

Study Italian in Siena
Colorful houses are everywhere in Viareggio, on the Italian Riviera, where you can learn Italian at a fine language school.

The best class I’ve ever had was on the Italian Riviera in the Tuscan town of Viareggio. Spending three weeks there at the Puccini Language School improved my Italian to the point that I could communicate with my Italian relatives. It also provided remarkable opportunities to explore Tuscany and enjoy the Mediterranean coast.

The School

The usual schedule includes class from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with a 20-minute mid-morning break five days a week. Class sessions range from two to 13 weeks. The time frame is typical of many language schools in Italy and it works well for a mix of travel and lessons. The basic 2-week course starts at €340 (approx. $370), with weekly add-ons available through 8 weeks; for very serious students, the semester course is 24 weeks and costs €3,360 (approx. $3,660). There are a wide variety of course options available. Some programs offer housing as part of the package. Other programs allow students to choose their own housing but usually offer assistance finding what is most comfortable to you. My family chose to find our own housing halfway between the school and the beach.

Full Language Immersion

I took beginner classes while my mother and sister took intermediate. The Puccini school and many others offer a variety of programs from beginners’ courses to those for Italian teachers. Other courses available included cooking and singing. All the classes are taught completely in Italian. If my teacher knew a word of English, she never let on.

The Students

The students at the school came from all over the world, but were generally 20-something Europeans. Every day we all went to a little café on the mid-morning break and chatted over espresso and pastries. While the advanced students discussed their home countries and politics, my beginner class had slightly more cryptic conversations:

“Purple?”

“Yes, shirt is purple. You yellow?”

“Yes! Good coffee, yes?”

We had a long way to go, but we were having fun working on it.

Besides the morning breaks my fellow students and I frequented the beach and the bar together. Many Italian language schools organize trips and social events for their students. The Puccini school provided a spagettata night on the beach once a week, which was a good way to get to know other students while eating amazing pasta and watching the sunset. You know you had a truly international learning experience when you come away from a trip being able to say “cheers” in eight different languages.

Beach in Viareggio, Italy
And yes, there is always the nearby beach after Italian lessons.

For More Info

Giacomo Puccini Centre, Viareggio (Tuscany). All wide variety of levels and courses are offered from April through October.

Related Topics
Language Study Abroad: Articles, Programs, and Resources
Language Schools in Italy
 
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