For the past (almost) 2 weeks I have been attending Italian language school at Il Sasso Language school in Montepulciano, Italy, http://www.ilsasso.com/eng/ and it has been such a fabulous experience. I know learning a new language is supposed to be serious and studious, (and I am doing that) but I don't think I have laughed as much in years! For the first time since beginning the job of trying to become proficient in this language, (and that is some time ago) I am able to seriously laugh at the ridiculous mistakes I make in the process of trying! Being at this school has made me less concerned about sounding bad (but no doubt I am still doing a very good job of that) and more concerned about trying. This new found freedom in the process of learning is a combination of a number of things - firstly the teachers at Il Sasso are fabulous and totally geared towards students learning in an easy and positive environment, secondly, I have a fabulous class mate, my new friend Amelia from NZ, (the only other person in my class) who is heaps of fun and together we find the mistakes each of us make incredibly funny (in fact our laughter at each others errors, reminds us not to repeat them), and thirdly, the after school activities organised by the school are a wonderful addition to the whole experience as I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting the other students in various levels. I have learnt an incredible amount in the 2 weeks and am disappointed I do not have the time at this point to do another 2 weeks - immersion is certainly the boost one needs to jump a number of steps in the learning curve!
In the afternoon, after our 'study' sessions finish, we have been on cooking classes, trips to other towns in the gorgeous surrounding Tuscan countryside and a fabulous hike to a nearby village. I have always claimed my Italian language skills needed "head space" and I am now convinced that immersion allows a focus which is unable to be achieved in my normal weekly classes - it makes an enormous difference to the end result. With the apartment we have recently bought in the centro storico (old area) of nearby Citta della Pieve (a 40min drive away), there is no doubt I will return to this language school to further my learning curve.
They also make the superb wine, Vino Noblie di Montepulciano here - in itself, a wonderful reason to plan a visit to this part of the world!
|Our Cooking class|
|This was a serious cooking class (we made gnocchi, stuffed zucchini + more) - though this photo does not look so serious!|
|The view on our walk from Montepulciano to Montefollonico|
|Silvia & Costanza from Il Sasso Language - this was taken on our hike to Montefollonico with |
Montepulciano in the background
|The centro storico area of Montefollonico is delightful|
|The conclusion of our 2 hour hike from Montepulciano to Montefollonico|