We have tried to answer some of the frequently asked questions here. Please do contact us at any time. We are happy to help with your query on studying at The British Institute of Florence.
Q. HOW MUCH ITALIAN WILL I LEARN IN ONE MONTH?
A. This varies from person to person. Typically, however, in a one-month beginners course you will learn basic grammar like present and past tenses, how to construct simple sentences and, in particular, how to get by in Florence and Italy. (asking for things, directions, simple conversations etc).
Q. WHAT TIME ARE THE ITALIAN CLASSES?
A. Our standard Italian classes are held each morning, Monday – Friday. The lessons start between 10.00 and 11.00 and finish between 12.30 and 13.30, depending on the day and the other optional activities. There is a 15 minute break in the middle of the lesson. You will be given a detailed programme at the start of the course.
Q. DO YOU USE ENGLISH IN CLASS?
A. Classes are taught in Italian using an interactive method so you will be immersed in the language from the very first day. Learning a language is different from studying other subjects, as a language has to be learnt as a system of communication. We use a method of progressive skills integration aimed at helping you acquire the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing in their natural order. However, all of our Italian teachers are fluent in English.
Q. WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO THE ITALIAN TEACHERS HAVE?
A. All of our teachers are mother-tongue graduates with a specialised qualification in teaching Italian as a foreign language and many years of teaching experience. They are all fluent in English too.
Q. HOW MUCH HOMEWORK WILL I HAVE TO DO?
A. A small amount of homework will be set each day and more at weekends..
Q. CAN I COMBINE ITALIAN WITH ANY OTHER COURSES?
A. Yes, you can combine the Italian language course with History of Art and/or the Life Drawing course. The course dates coincide and the course timetables are organised so that all three courses can be taken in the same month.
Q. CAN I TAKE ITALIAN EVEN IF I HAVE NEVER STUDIED IT BEFORE?
A. Yes, of course. We have a beginners’ course starting each month. See here for dates and fees.
Q. HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHICH CLASS I WILL BE IN?
A. All participants are asked to fill in a self assessment form when they enrol. If you have never studied or had access to Italian before you should enrol as a beginner. If you have some knowledge of the Italian language you should enrol as a non-beginner. About two weeks before arriving, non-beginners will be sent the placement test to do so we can start assessing their level. On the first day beginners will go straight into class and non-beginners will have an informal chat with the Italian teachers to assess their oral language skills. With all of this information we will put you in the right group.
Q. WHAT IF I’M NOT SURE WHETHER TO CLASS MYSELF AS A BEGINNER OR NON-BEGINNER?
A. Don’t worry. There are situations where the distinction is not clear and we are happy to help out even before you decide to enrol. Please fill in the self-assessment form and we will contact you to discuss your requirements.
Q. I STUDIED ITALIAN SOME YEARS AGO, SHOULD I GO INTO A BEGINNERS CLASS?
A. If you have already studied Italian at some point you should enrol as a non-beginner and fill in the self-assessment form.
Q. DO I HAVE TO COME TO CLASS EVERYDAY?
A. You are expected to come to class every day. Missing classes slows down your progress and that of the group. If you are going to miss a lesson please talk to your teacher about how to make it up. This can be either through self-study or an ‘Aiuto’ session. As everyone is different we offer optional extras for those people who want more than the core lesson. These include Aiuto individual sessions, Caffè e Giornale, Cultura e Parole. You do not have to attend these if you don’t want to.
Q. WHAT IF I FEEL LIKE I’M IN THE WRONG CLASS?
A. At any time during your course you can talk to the Head of Languages who will advise on the situation. Just ask at reception.
Q. DO I NEED TO BUY ANY COURSE BOOKS?
A. All material needed for the course will be provided by the Institute.
Q. WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING WITH ME?
A. The only thing that you will need to bring is something to write with and a notebook.
Q. CAN I TAKE JUST ONE WEEK OF AN ITALIAN COURSE?
A. Yes, it is possible to take just one week of an Italian course. If you already have some knowledge of Italian then you can start at any time. Beginners must start at the beginning of the course. Please check the dates and fees page for 1, 2 and 3 week prices.
Q. HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DO I NEED TO BOOK?
A. There are no booking deadlines however some courses fill up quickly so early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.
Q. WHO TAKES COURSES AT THE INSTITUTE?
A. Courses at the Institute are open to adults of all ages and nationalities. Ages range from 18 - 60+ and people usually stay from 1 - 12 wks.
Q. WHAT TIME OF YEAR IS BEST TO COME?
A. Florence is a wonderful city which changes quite dramatically throughout the year. It gets busy and vibrant with tourists at Easter and in the summer which some people love, while others prefer the quieter times from November to March. It can be cold in January and February and hot in June and July. If you would like to talk to us about when is the best time for you please contact us.