Latest news at La Dante in Cambridge

Consult our blog to get latest news!

italian argentina


, ,
Italian influence is perhaps the most prevalent within the cultural meltingpot that is Argentina and has most certainly left a deep and lasting impact on the country. Why?
italian movies

The best movies and songs to learn and improve your Italian

Italian movies and music are great tools for improving your Italian language skills. At the same tim you will immerse yourself in the Italian culture. Whether you are a beginner or an intermediate speaker, you can use them. There is something for everyone in the vast world of Italian film and music. In this article we highlight some of the best ones: the Italian movies and songs that are perfect for language learners.
Learn Italian secrets

7 secrets to learn Italian you need to know

When it comes to learn a new language, we can feel overwhelmed.   Will it be hard to go back to study? Will I have enough time to dedicate to it during my hectic days? Is Italian too different from my own mother tongue?Italian is such…
Halloween Italian courses Dante Cambridge

La festa di Halloween e le sue origini celtiche, romane e cristiane

La festa di Halloween comunemente celebrata il 31 ottobre in Inghilterra,  negli Stati Uniti e in molti Paesi del mondo,  è ormai divenuta molto popolare anche in Italia con il celebre rito del “dolcetto o scherzetto” ( “trick or treat”).…
Italian Courses online

Curiosità sull’Italia che non tutti conoscono

L’Italia è ricca di molte peculiarità storiche, geografiche e culturali che rendono il Bel Paese uno dei più attraenti del mondo. Eccone alcune che non tutti conoscono.Il fiume più corto del mondo è proprio in Italia. Si chiama…


I vincitori dei riconoscimenti "Business Chameleon " e "Lockdown Leader" saranno annunciati il ​​17 febbraio 2022 presso l'Imperial Museum Duxford, nel Regno Unito  LA DANTE IN CAMBRIDGE GRAZIE ALLA SUA TRASFORMAZIONE DIGITALE E` FINALISTA…

More aticles below

Can you run a business without foreign languages?

language learning cambridge

Have you ever got in trouble in the workplace because of some miscommunication caused by cultural differences? Misunderstandings sometimes are caused by cultural differences and language barriers, while being able to speak a language is not equal to fully understanding
a language. It might sound a bit tricky and complicated as you might be questioning why has the person become cold or not reacted the way you wanted. Did you lose a deal or was there awkwardness during the meeting?
Understanding business culture – will this make a difference for your business?
We easily get confused with the business norms if we are not familiar with the local cultures when doing business internationally. Let’s take negotiation skills as examples, the ways people negotiate, view and interpret the negotiation process, closely vary among local cultures.
For instance, from a Chinese perspective, negotiations exist primarily as a mechanism for building trust so that two parties can work together for the benefit of both. In business meetings or other situations, you want to build up the relationship and avoid embarrassing or even raising your glass above your Chinese guest. What is disrespectful to Chinese culture? Do not touch, hug, lock arms, back slap or make any body contact. Furthermore, clicking fingers or whistling is considered very rude. Never put your feet on a desk or a chair, and Never gesture or pass an object with your feet. Blowing one's nose in a handkerchief and returning it to one's pocket is considered vulgar by the Chinese.
 If you deal with  German business people instead, always show data and analytics above all.
 It can come as a surprise for some of us that, from a Japanese perspective,
“Yes” doesn’t mean “Yes”, it means  I understand instead due to its disciplined social system.
So it is crucial to take into consideration that cultural differences may result in misunderstandings when doing business. Moreover, Japan is a more relationship-oriented culture than countries such as Australia, particularly when it comes to doing business. Japanese want to know and trust someone before they do business with them. Relationships are developed through informal social gatherings and generally involve a considerable amount of eating and drinking. I would say that it’s the same if you wish to build up a  work relationship in Italy or Spain.
 If you are meeting Italians, always make sure you invite them to a good restaurant. It’s important for Italians to build a trust prior to doing business. Relationships are very important in Italian business culture. In the ‘Bel Paese, business people want to be familiar with their business contacts, so I suggest you work with a local representative to arrange introductions and appointments before your trip. Italians expect formality. When meeting contacts for the first time, address them a “Signor(e)’ (Mr.)” or “Signora’ (Mrs.),” with their surname. Wait until you’re invited to use their first name in subsequent meetings to be safe. It’s important to show respect for elders, people in positions of authority and people with professional titles such as “Dottore/ Dottoressa (Doctor).” Italian companies often employ a horizontal chain of authority, called “cordata” (which literally translates to a team of mountain climbers on the same rope). To fully understand this concept, maintain a good relationship with contacts who can educate you on theinternal structure of the companies you wish to do business with. Also, bear in mind that anticipate those negotiations often take time. Trying to rush the process or conveying urgency can weaken your bargaining position. For all these reasons we have to be very cautious of how different cultures behave during meetings
and deals can be facilitated overseas. Apart from negotiation skills, being able to express your opinions and writing business
reports are also very important.  Having proficient language skills help you overcome early difficulties in the workplace. B2 Business Vantage exam qualification can demonstrate that you are capable of doing business tasks in business English as it is a globally recognised exam. This test, in fact, is one of the three Cambridge English Qualifications for business  exams. Each of them is targeted at a different level. B2 is a middle level, which shows employers that you are ready to work successfully with international business companies.
The content for the exam is based on real everyday work and business tasks and is designed to develop your business English skills. By getting a B2 certificate, you will improve your career opportunities and easily be accepted globally by top international companies. According to statistics, employees are 18% more likely to have a faster progression than their peers, while 17% more likely to have pay rises.

language learning BBC cambridge
Sharing our experience with you
One of our business students Leon, a senior engineer at Qualcomm, in charge of developing Ads and writing code, did his online preparation for the B2 Business Vantage exam at La Dante in Cambridge.  When the course started, our business English trainer Alexis immediately
got to know his background, including his English level and the goals he wanted to achieve. So, Alexis started preparing teaching material to improve Leon’s skills, and realised that being Chinese he needed to be introduced to small talk that is
something British love prior to starting a business conversation. It was really interesting to see how Chinese and British need to learn on simple sentence building that makes them comfortable during the meeting. English business culture was introduced with real-life examples, and Leon’s presenting and communication skills greatly advanced. As language learning is of high importance for export as well as for establishing businesses overseas, at La Dante in Cambridge we pride ourselves of having taught highly regarded firms since 2010: Birkets, Qualcomm, ETT Solutions, and Corepixx among others with promoting business, and language culture in Italian, Spanish and English.

Article written by Dott.ssa Giulia Portuese, Director and founder at La Dante in Cambridge
and contribution from Alexis Loizou, English teacher for professionals


Spanish Online Courses

¿Conoces este ejercicio para practicar tu español en lugares cotidianos? En este artículo, te contamos cómo mejorarlo en 4 sitios del día a día.

academias de idiomas son lugares indispensables a los que acudir para adquirir un vocabulario rico y entender la cultura de la lengua extranjera que estés aprendiendo, entre otras cosas. Sin embargo, a veces puede resultar difícil encontrar ejercicios diferentes que complementen los de tu profesor para huir de la monotonía y seguir mejorando tu español.

A la hora de hablar en español ya sea en clase o en un país extranjero, lo que más cuesta es dejar de pensar en nuestra lengua materna. Así pues, para hacer que tu aprendizaje sea más estimulante, te sugerimos que pruebes la Práctica Espontánea. Se trata de un ejercicio dinámico en el que tienes que traducir, en este caso en español, los objetos que observes a tu alrededor. Esto te permitirá desarrollar tu rapidez mental en situaciones del día a día y que tu cerebro se adapte a entornos bilingües con más facilidad.

Puedes hacer este ejercicio en cualquier lado y sacar tu vocabulario a pasear. No obstante, te proponemos 4 lugares cotidianos y distintos juegos para que pongas tu nivel de español a prueba y mejores a pasos agigantados:

  1.     SUPERMERCADO: Hacer la compra será más divertido si repites los productos con los que te vas encontrando en cada sección; si lees las etiquetas de los artículos y traduces sus ingredientes; o si lees los carteles de cada pasillo.

Además, si vas acompañado, puedes crear diálogos con la otra persona precedidos de preguntas como «¿Me pasas (un producto)?».

  1.   TRANSPORTE PÚBLICO: Puedes aprovechar el tiempo durante los trayectos en bus o metro y repasar todo el vocabulario que veas. Pueden ser tanto las piezas que forman parte del medio transporte en el que te desplazas, como lo que llevan puesto los demás pasajeros. 
  2.     RESTAURANTE: Para amenizar la espera de la comida, traduce los platos de la carta o piensa en cómo pedirías en español. Imagen
  3.     TIENDA DE ROPA: Si vas a comprar con tu madre, hermano o amiga y no quieres dar más vueltas, aprovecha ese pequeño rato para acordarte de cómo es el vocabulario relacionado con la tienda. Además de la ropa, puedes practicar los accesorios, los colores o incluso los números. Imagen

Hacer este ejercicio no solo te ayudará a repasar vocabulario básico en español, sino que también te permitirá ganar más confianza en ti mismo y perder el miedo a hablar en español. ¡Por no hablar de que estarás un poco más preparado para tu próxima escapada a España o Latinoamérica! Dicen que “la práctica hace al maestro” y sin duda alguna cuanto más practiques tu español, antes lo dominarás y mayor nivel conseguirás.

Alba Fouz


Los ganadores de los premios Business Chameleon y Lockdown Leader se anunciarán el 17th de febrero de 2022 en Imperial Museum Duxford

“El 2022 ha traído consigo sorpresas para el centro cultural europeo La Dante (en Cambridge) tras dos años de transformación hacia un modelo de empresa online en el que hemos tenido que aprender de nuevo, construir nuevas plataformas y ofrecer un enfoque completamente distinto. Todo ello para dar a nuestros estudiantes una experiencia completa de aprendizaje de idiomas online, nada alejada de lo que son las clases presenciales”, señala Giulia Portuese, directora y fundadora de La Dante. Este centro cultural y a la vez escuela de idiomas, dirigida por Giulia Portuese, celebra dos nominaciones al Cambridge Independent SME Cambridgeshire Business Awards 2021: el ‘Business chameleon’ y el ‘Lockdown leader’. Estos premios reconocen a las PYME que hayan resistido ante las adversidades de la pandemia por el Covid19 y prosperado durante los tiempos económicos difíciles, además de valorar cómo el equipo y el liderazgo tuvieron un papel clave en la transformación de las empresas.

Háblanos un poco sobre ti y tu negocio

La Dante en Cambridge es un centro cultural europeo que promueve las lenguas y las culturas italiana, española e inglesa a través de una mezcla de clases online y presenciales con un equipo de profesores nativos cualificados y entusiastas. Además, contamos con unos programas originales en la Radio Dante que ayudan a mejorar las habilidades de escucha y comprensión de nuestros estudiantes. También estamos desarrollando nuestra Ryze App: una aplicación de aprendizaje de bolsillo que pone a disposición de los aprendices horas de escucha, textos y ejercicios que pueden utilizar cuándo y dónde deseen. Gracias a esta aplicación, el aprendizaje de idiomas ahora es más accesible para todos, pues por solo 2 dólares puedes asistir a media hora de clases con un profesor. Además, está repleta de contenido gratuito: es divertida, interactiva y flexible.

Cuéntanos un poco sobre la transformación digital que habéis llevado a cabo en el negocio estos dos últimos años y que evidencia el éxito del modelo actual de tu negocio.

La transformación digital de nuestro centro ha materializado sus esfuerzos en resultados reales en los últimos dos años, como por ejemplo en que La Dante es finalista de los SME Awards para la categoría de Business Chamelion en enero de 2022. Asimismo, un resultado palpable también sería que estamos aumentando nuestra influencia internacional más allá de Europa y, desde que empezamos el cambio a la enseñanza online, estamos atrayendo estudiantes de más allá de Europa, de Japón y México. Nuestro alcance internacional permite a los estudiantes aprender idiomas de forma asequible y desde lugares remotos a través de la nueva plataforma de aprendizaje Plateo Online, que cuenta con una plataforma de redes sociales que permite a la gente aprender a la vez que hacer amigos. En tercer lugar, destacaría también que fui (la Dra. Giulia Portuese, la directora y fundadora) nominada finalista como Líder del Cierre para los SME Awards en enero de 2022 y además el presidente italiano Mattarella me entregó un título de caballero para la Orden de las Estrellas de Italia en diciembre de 2021.

Además, nuestros podcasts de Radio Dante también han aumentado sus oyentes en un 69% en los últimos dos años (Buzzsprout, Youtube, Spotify). La aplicación de bolsillo de idiomas Ryze App ha tenido su primera prueba y hemos recibido una respuesta realmente buena de su grupo de muestra de estudiantes.

¿Cómo consigues diferenciarte de la competencia y posicionarte por delante del resto?

La Dante cuenta con tres reconocimientos como centro examinador: un centro examinador PLIDA para el italiano (el único en Reino Unido), un centro examinador DELE para el español y un centro Trinity College London para el inglés (registro nº 68910). Somos el único Centro de Exámenes en el Reino Unido que ofrece exámenes para la ciudadanía italiana, reconocidos por la Sociedad Dante Alighieri. Además, nuestro centro también es la única oficina, entre las 400 oficinas de Dante en el mundo, que tiene un programa regular de podcast cultural a través de, con entrevistas, música, tradiciones, cine y cocina en italiano y español. Está dirigido por voluntarios, profesores y estudiantes recién graduados que desean acumular experiencia en el periodismo. La Dante es también un Centro de Formación Europeo con un programa de prácticas europeo consolidado que funciona desde 2010: formamos a jóvenes graduados en marketing digital, Google Ads, Google Analytics, página web y SEO, habilidades que son esenciales en cualquier negocio. También somos un Centro de Formación de Profesores desde 2010: ofrecemos un programa de formación de profesores para la obtención de los exámenes CEDILS y DITALS, así como el CLIL para profesores europeos. Estamos ampliando el programa a profesores españoles e italianos, que utilizan técnicas AICLE para enseñar historia, arte o matemáticas en inglés a niños y adolescentes.

¿Crees que este exitoso rendimiento empresarial es sostenible a largo plazo?

Desde 2010, La Dante llevó a cabo un modelo de negocio en el aprendizaje de idiomas a través de clases presenciales en las que los profesores nativos utilizaban libros de texto físicos. Cuando llegó Covid, se inició un programa de transformación digital gracias a las Becas Digitales del gobierno del Reino Unido y se invirtieron 10.000 libras esterlinas en la creación de una nueva plataforma: Plateo Online. En ella, los estudiantes, los profesores y el personal de marketing podían estar bajo un mismo techo. Además, los estudiantes podían ver vídeos, tener un perfil social y comunicarse. Se inició un programa de reciclaje de 3 semanas antes de que el gobierno británico cerrara todas las escuelas de Reino Unido en marzo de 2020. Los profesores tuvieron que volver a aprender a enseñar utilizando recursos digitales, produciendo material diferente o dominando las nuevas tecnologías como Zoom. En resumidas cuentas, tuvieron que aprender una forma más dinámica de enseñar. El equipo de marketing y los becarios tuvieron que volver a formarse en el uso de la plataforma y promocionar la escuela de una manera completamente diferente a través de Google Ads, Google Analytics y SEO. Esto garantizó que la empresa pudiera adoptar la tecnología digital más avanzada y prosperar en los próximos 10 años. Todo el equipo, después de algunas dificultades, aceptó todos los cambios implementados. Me siento orgullosa.

También nos interesa saber

– cómo se han adaptado y cambiado las empresas para hacer frente a los retos y oportunidades de Covid-19 para que se considere un premio especial.

– cómo habéis invertido y desarrollado nuevos productos, servicios, técnicas, habilidades o procesos para satisfacer las demandas cambiantes que Covid-19 trajo a su negocio y

– cómo estáis manteniendo o aumentando vuestras operaciones en los mercados establecidos y nuevos como resultado.

La Dante demostró un rápido periodo de adaptabilidad y cambio para hacer frente a los retos y oportunidades de Covid-19. Transformamos la forma de enseñar idiomas, haciéndola pasar de presencial a online para todos: profesores, alumnos y personal. Además, ayudamos a los alumnos que no podían pasar directamente a lo digital por su edad o porque no tenían los conocimientos informáticos necesarios para cambiar tan rápidamente, ofreciéndoles formación informática GRATUITA para Zoom Education y Google Classrooms.  Esto permitió que todos estuvieran seguros ante el aumento de los casos a partir de 2020.

– Para responder a los retos de Covid, La Dante invirtió 10.000 libras esterlinas en una nueva plataforma de enseñanza digital: Plateo Online. También volvimos a formar a nuestro personal de marketing y a los profesores en el uso de diferentes técnicas (se incorporó Zoom, Google Classrooms, Blink Learning), hubo que aprender muchas habilidades y procesos técnicos nuevos durante un año de intensa formación con proveedores externos.  Ryze App se desarrolló con la Universidad de Norwich, Cambridge y

– Estamos manteniendo la cuota de mercado dentro de mercados establecidos como Italia y España, pero también estamos atrayendo nuevos negocios de Japón y México. La enseñanza online está aquí para quedarse y desarrollarse para llegar a más países con el marketing digital.

Cuéntanos alguna anécdota sobre cómo respondió el equipo, hazlo personal

Bueno, al principio el equipo era reacio a los grandes cambios, sobre todo los profesores que habían conseguido construir su material didáctico y su relación con los alumnos con las clases presenciales. Las cosas tenían que cambiar, no solo para sobrevivir, sino para prosperar. Teníamos que aceptar el cambio y aprender nuevas habilidades para la vida, renovando las competencias mediante la formación y la innovación sin el riesgo de perder el trabajo. Formamos a los profesores, a los alumnos que no tenían conocimientos de informática e invertimos en nuevas plataformas online. Al final de los dos años, ganamos nuevos alumnos y mantuvimos los nuestros.

Sin duda, el cambio fue bienvenido. Algunos profesores y parte del equipo de marketing prosperaron durante este periodo de cambio. También tuvimos algunas satisfacciones personales:

Dimos la bienvenida al mundo a dos bebés: Luisa dio a luz a Zoe a principios de la primavera, Tamara dio a luz a Massimo en diciembre y Lucía y Emilia esperan su primer hijo para enero de 2022. Todo esto trajo una inmensa alegría al equipo y en general es un año que comenzó con entusiasmo y energía que todos compartimos en La Dante de Cambridge.


The winners of the awards ‘BUSINESS CHAMELEON’ and ‘LOCKDOWN LEADER’ will be announced on the on the 17th February 2022 at the Imperial Museum Duxford

‘The 2022 has started with some excitement at La Dante in Cambridge, European Cultural Centre after two years of transformation online, retraining, building new platforms and having a completely new approach to give our students a thorough language learning experience online, in all similar to the face to face classes’ – Giulia Portuese, Director and Founder of La Dante in Cambridge, states. The Cultural Centre and Language school run by Giulia Portuese is celebrating two nomination for the Cambridge Independent SME Cambridgeshire Business Awards 2021: the ‘Business chameleon’ and the ‘Lockdown leader’ . These awards celebrate SME businesses punching above their weight during Covid19 in the past two years: in particular, they recognise how the business became resilient and thrived during tough economic times and how the team and leadership had a key role in the transformation.

We have met Dr Portuese at St. John’s Innovation Centre where the company is located.


Question 1 *

Tell us briefly about you and your business

La Dante in Cambridge is a European Cultural Centre promoting Italian, Spanish and English languages and cultures with a mix of online, face to face classes and enthusiastic native qualified teachers. Our Radio Dante’s original programmes help develop their listening and comprehension skills. We are also developing our Ryze App: a pocket learning app which has hours of listening, texts, exercises people can use in their own time and place. Learning languages is now affordable for all with just $2 for half an hour of teachers’ tuition. The App is packed with FREE content: it’s fun, interactive and flexible.


Question 2 *

Tell us briefly about the digital transformation within your business in the past 2 years which evidence your current business successes.

The digital transformation of La Dante brought some real results in the past 2 years : a) The director and founder Dr Giulia Portuese was given a knighthood from the Italian President Mattarella in Dec 2021 for the Order of the Stars of Italy, b) La Dante in Cambridge is a finalist for the SME Awards for the category of Business Chamelion Jan 22, c) The director was nominated finalist as a Lockdown Leader for the SME Awards in Jan 22 d) we are increasing our international influence beyond Europe and since the move to Online Learning, we are attracting students from beyond Europe, from Japan and Mexico. Our international reach allows students to learn languages in an affordable way and from remote places, thanks to a new Plateo Online learning platform which has a social media platform included. People learn and make friends.

Our Radio Dante podcasts increased their listeners by 69% over the past two years (Buzzsprout, Youtube, Spotify). The Ryze App language pocket app has had its first trial and we received a really good feedback from your sample group of students.

Question 3 *

How your business differentiates from your competitors and has the leading edge

La Dante has three recognitions as Examination Board: a PLIDA Examination Centre for Italian (the only one in the UK), DELE Examination Centre for Spanish and Trinity College London Centre for English (registration n. 68910). We are the only Examination Centre in the UK to provide exams for Italian citizenship, recognised by the Dante Alighieri Society. The only office, among 400 Dante offices in the world, who have a regular cultural podcast programme via which has interviews, music, traditions, cinema and cuisine in Italian and Spanish. It’s run by volunteers, teachers and young graduates who wish to build up their experience in journalism. La Dante is also a European Training Centre with a consolidated European Internship programme running since 2010: we train young graduates on digital marketing, google ads, google analytics, website and SEO, skills that are essential in any business. We are also a Teacher Training Centre since 2010: we offer a programme of teacher training for obtaining CEDILS, DITALS as well as CLIL exams for European teachers. We are expanding the programme to Spanish and Italian teachers using CLIL techniques for teaching history, art, maths in English to children and teenagers.

Question 4 *

Demonstrate with examples that this successful business performance is sustainable long term

Since 2010 La Dante has developed its business in language learning through live classes where native trained teachers had a communication technique using physical textbooks and being in a physical school until March 2020. Once Covid arrived, the leader started a digital transformation programme thanks to the Digital Grants from the UK government, £10,000 was invested in creating a new Plateo Online platform where students, teachers, marketing staff could be under one roof, where students could watch videos, have a social profile and communicate. A retraining programme started 3 weeks prior to the UK government closing all schools in the Uk in March 2020: teachers had to relearn the way they taught using digital resources, producing different material, learning to use Zoom and breakout rooms in Zoom, learn a more dynamic way of teaching. The marketing team and interns had to be retrained in using the platform, promote the school in a thorough different way via Google Ads, google analytics and SEO. This ensured that the business can embrace the most advanced digital technology and thrive in the next 10 years. All team, after some difficulties, embraced all our implemented changes. I feel proud.

Question 5 *

We are also interested in hearing

  • how businesses have adapted and changed to meet the challenges and opportunities of Covid-19 for consideration of a special award. Please advise
  • how you have invested and developed new products, services, techniques, skills or processes to meet the changing demands that Covid-19 brought to your business and
  • how you are maintaining or increasing your operations in established and new markets as a result.

La Dante showed a quick period of adaptability and change to meet the challenges and opportunities of Covid-19: we transformed the way we taught languages, making it fun from face to face to online for all, teachers, students and staff. We helped students who couldn’t go straight onto digital for their age or because they didn’t have the IT skills to change so quickly by providing FREE IT training for Zoom Education and Google Classrooms.  This allowed all to be safe in view of increasing infections since 2020 onwards.

–           To respond to the Covid challenges, La Dante invested £10,000 in a NEW digital Plateo Online teaching platform, we retrained our marketing and teachers to use different techniques (Zoom was embedded, Google Classrooms, Blink Learning), lots of new technical skills and processes had to be learned over a year of intense training with external providers.  Ryze App was developed with the University of Norwich, Cambridge and

–           We are maintaining the market share within established markets like Italy and Spain but equally attracting new business from Japan and Mexico. Online tuition is here to stay and develop to reach even more countries with digital marketing.

Question 6*

Tell us some stories on how the team responded, make it personal

Well, at the beginning the team was reluctant to big changes, especially teachers who had managed to build up their teaching material and relationship with the students with face to face lessons. Things had to change, not only in order to survive but to thrive. The leadership used by the director was to persuade them to embrace change and learn new skills for life, renewing skills through training and innovation without the risk of losing work. We trained teachers, students who were not IT savy and invested in new online platforms. By the end of the two years: we gained new students and maintained ours.

We definitely welcomed change. Some teachers and some of tbe marketing team thrived during this period of change. We also had some personal satisfaction:

We welcomed two babies to the world: our teacher Luisa gave birth to Zoe early in the Spring, and Tamara gave birth to Tommaso  in December, Lucia and Emilia are expecting their first child in the next few weeks. All this brought immense joy to the team and  this year definitely started with enthusiasm and energy that we all share at La Dante in Cambridge.

To contact us:

0044 7887 606227 whatsapp

Please let us know if you wish to talk to the Marketing Manager Gilda Notarbartolo or the director Dr Giulia Portuese


language learning

Lezioni online di spagnolo con insegnanti madrelingua e podcast con
conduttori spagnoli per imparare velocemente la lingua

di Lindita Brahaj e Gilda Notarbartolo

L’apprendimento linguistico attraverso l’ascolto della radio è un metodo sempre efficace e vecchio quasi cent’anni, sin da quando nel 1924 la BBC utilizzava la diffusione di programmi radiofonici stranieri (francesi, tedeschi, italiani) come mezzo di istruzione. E` provato, infatti, che 5, 10 minuti al giorno siano il tempo minimo per iniziare a capire una lingua e poi impararla. E a La Dante in Cambridge, dove la passione per le lingue contraddistingue tutto il team, lo sanno bene. E` dal 2011, infatti, che il Comitato di Cambridge della Societa`Dante Alighieri, diretto dalla dottoressa Giulia Portuese, ha avviato le trasmissioni di Radio Dante, dapprima in italiano e inglese e poi, da circa quattro anni, anche in spagnolo. Prima con trasmissioni registrate negli studi della stazione radiofonica inglese Cambridge 105 e poi, dall’inizio della pandemia e dello smart working, in podcast su tutte le principali piattaforme streaming audio (Spotify, Apple Podcast, Amazon Music, TuneIn e Alexa, Player FM, iHeart Radio ecc) e sul sito “Abbiamo avuto prestigiose collaborazioni con istituzioni come il Fitzwilliam Museum di Cambridge for Italian Art series o il Dipartimento di italiano e spagnolo dell’Universita` di Cambridge – racconta la dottoressa Portuese -, e con giornalisti e stagisti che negli anni hanno collaborato alla diffusione di programmi in spagnolo, italiano e inglese. Quest’anno abbiamo inaugurato due filoni specifici con Radio Dante Viaggi e Radio Dante Racconta in italiano, e Radio Dante Viajes, e Radio Dante Cuentos per i podcast in spagnolo. A breve ricominceremo a parlare anche di cinema con nuove trasmissioni sul tema”. La Dante in Cambridge infatti integra da sempre i corsi di lingua tenuti da insegnanti madrelingua, con eventi e prodotti culturali in grado di fornire un’esperienza quanto più immersiva ai propri studenti. Oggi è possibile iscriversi ai corsi online di spagnolo de La Dante in Cambridge facilmente e comodamente dall’Italia e poter usufruire dell’ascolto di interessanti podcast in spagnolo con conduttori madrelingua. Per rendere più piacevole l’esperienza di apprendimento dei propri studenti e ampliare i servizi offerti, La Dante in Cambridge quest’anno ha inoltre iniziato una nuova collaborazione con il Comitato di Mar de Plata in Argentina. La dottoressa Erika Garimanno, infatti, insieme ad alcuni dei suoi colleghi del comitato argentino e al Presidente Marcelo Liberati, contribuiscono al successo di Radio Dante Viajes con programmi che, in spagnolo, raccontano la vita in Argentina, la musica, le tradizioni e attività culturali in cui l’organizzazione è coinvolta. I loro podcast sono un valore aggiunto per tutti quelli che vogliono imparare lo spagnolo e sviluppare una parte importante dell’apprendimento linguistico che è l’ascolto. Le prossime collaborazioni annunciate dalla dottoressa Portuese de La Dante in Cambridge coinvolgeranno anche l’ufficio della Dante in Brasile e la dottoressa Rosemari Laurindo.

Per info: / / WhatssApp (in
italiano) +447887606227

Articolo pubblicato su Il Confronto Magazine

Inspiring background story of the European Cultural Centre, La Dante in Cambridge: A creative language learning hub

By Giulia Portuese

Background of La Dante

It all started with the passion and dissemination of promoting my language and culture. I am Italian of Sicilian origins and with two sons Lorenzo and Luca born in Cambridge, my goal was to let them feel the richness of my Italian culture by giving them the gift of being bilingual. It wasn’t easy at all as in those days when they were just 5 and 2 years old (1997) there weren’t any good Italian schools in Cambridge. Just one with crowded classes of all levels with more than 30 children and one teacher paid by the government. There was a clear need for helping the Italian community and those families whose children were bilingual like mine.

After over 10 years spent at Cambridge University Press, the need for a cultural centre more than a school started to form in my mind and a strong need to make a difference in disseminating a great Italian culture and language in a country that has always had a fascination with Italian language

Think of Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Lady Morgan, Percy Shelley, John Keats, George Eliot, John Ruskin, E.M. Forster, D.H. Lawrence and W.B. Yeats to think of just a few. Think of the fascination of the Montalbano TV series that most people who study Italian know about.

The Eurovision context won by Maneskin is one of the newest groups that bring Italian at a European level.

I left CUP and with a project approved by the Dante Aligheri Society in Rome, I started La Dante in Cambridge, in September 2008 with just 6 students learning Italian. It was such fun and we joined forces with the then Director of the Alliance Française Francine Rouanet-Democrate in a dream that went beyond the dissemination of Italian (in my case) and French (in her case) but in building up and creating a European Cultural Centre based in Cambridge.

Well, I am very proud to say that, although we changed paths along the way and the AF passed on to other hands, I was able to create such a European Cultural Centre, La Dante in Cambridge which now offers language and culture in three languages: Italian, Spanish and English.

We got about 400 students per year, a nice achievement, and the knowledge that we help not just the community of Italian and Spanish but whoever is interested in these cultures. Our students are from age 5 to 90.

Yes that is right 90: we had a student who was 90 MaryAnn and came with her stick, borrowed books in Italian, attended her classes with our native speakers. That was a wonderful moment. She stayed with us for two years.

We help students who wish to learn for fun, for their exams (including my sons who did their GCSE and A-levels in Italian), business people improving their language proficiency and University entry exams. Some need languages just for travel.

This year in 2021, we were part of
East Anglia’s high-growth business programme

at Future50 for 2021.

With this interview, Kieran Miles, Programme Director at Future50

Highlights the journey of La Dante from an Italian Cultural Centre In 2010 to a European Cultural Centre with more than 400 students. The difficulties through the Covid-19 pandemic, the resilience of a great team and the transformation to carry on making an impact in language learning. He also mentioned the prestigious honorary award OSI given by Sergio Mattarella, Itaian president of Italy for the dissemination of Italian language and culture in the UK since 2010.

Since 2011, I also started the Radio Dante programmes with original podcasts, also on social media FB, spotify, buzzsprout and mixcloud. We have had prestigious collaborations with the Fitzwilliam Museum for Italian Art series, the Department of Italian and Spanish at Cambridge University as well as journalists, interns that collaborated in disseminating programmes in Spanish, Italian and English over the years. Lately we have two themes which are being developed:

Radio Dante Viaggi for those who travel to Italy

Radio Dante Racconta for children stories in Italian

the same for Spanish

Radio Dante Viajes

Radio Dante Cuentos

Forthcoming there is our Ryze APP The Pocket Learning APP, for learning Italian and Spanish to begin with, later we will add English, with the following functions

  • text
  • videos
  • podcasts
  • games
  • exercises
  • articles

which aim at attracting a younger audience for language learning.

This will reinforce our Online school Platform which started in March 2020 due to the pandemic. We had to renew and with hard work, determination, after over 10 years of being a face-to-face school, we transformed and enriched what we offered to our students by switching online for adult courses. This was a difficult time for us at La Dante, huge transformation, but with the dedication and understanding of my team, teachers and most importantly our wonderful students, we were able to do just that, and I am pleased to say that the 400 students stayed with us, some were new and mostly were those that started their language journey along the way.

In 2021, I was also blessed with an OSI Honorary title for the Order of the Star of Italy from the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella for the work done disseminating Italian language and culture in the UK.