Over 50 students of Italian at the University of Leicester have recently returned from 'the course of a lifetime'.
The University's School of Modern Languages has pioneered a summer programme that cannot be found at any other British university. All students of Italian who successfully complete their first year of studies, and who wish to continue studying Italian, spend three summer weeks in Italy. Whilst there, they reside in a picturesque Tuscan village, live with Italian host families, and follow an intensive course devised in collaboration with the prestigious British Institute of Florence.
George Ferzoco, Director of Italian Studies at the University, explained: Almost all of our first-year students have never studied Italian before. In many other universities, this could be a handicap. At Leicester, however, we do everything possible to accelerate the learning process. During the first year, students study in small groups for several hours weekly. They benefit from the latest in teaching methods and facilities - such as the renowned Language Centre's video and audio laboratories.
The culmination of the year lies in the summer programme we have set up, thanks to the encouragement of the University and the help of the British Institute. Our students get to study for three weeks in Massa Marittima, a gorgeous Tuscan hilltop town. It was founded by the Etruscans in the eighth century B.C., and is filled with marvels of medieval art and architecture.
This year, Leicester's Lecturer of Italian, Marina Spunta, accompanied the 54 students on the trip. She said: On our first evening in Massa Marittima the town's mayor, Dott. Luca Sani, put on a civic reception in honour of our students. The local people were remarkably generous hosts, and made us feel like royalty. They put a brand new building, equipped with modern teaching aids and computers, at our disposal.
Student representative Michelle Keates had nothing but praise for the programme. We had the most wonderful time with our host families, who made us a part of their homes and showed us around Tuscany, and we also got a lot out of the classes.
Enrolment in Italian at Leicester has grown since the establishment of the summer programme. This has helped to bring to the University a new Lecturer, Clodagh Brook, who said: I am looking forward to helping our students get the most out of the exceptional opportunities afforded to them here at the University of Leicester.
Students at the University of Leicester can study Italian in combination with French, German, Spanish, and several other subjects including Art History, English, History, Archaeology and Politics.
Details about studying Italian - and/or French, German and Spanish (which also offers a summer programme - in Spain) - at the University of Leicester can be obtained from the School of Modern Languages, tel. 0116 252 2680.
NOTE TO NEWSDESK:
For more information, please contact George Ferzoco on 0116 252 2654 (work) or 0117 968 2702 (home).
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