Building up bridges in Spain and South America

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It’s with great joy that so many new collaborations are being built at La Dante to promote Spanish language and culture. Thanks to our new innovative Online School Platform, our students make friends with each other thanks to a FB type of interface. This platform is cloud based and will reach remote areas where people are given new opportunities to learn the three languages and cultures that we promote: Italian, Spanish and English.

 

New horizons, new cultural bridges, new ‘sister schools’ are being built

We teamed up with MBestcare, a tour operator specialized in sustainable experiences. They are focused on the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of their clients. Their mission is to ‘help and care with dedication’ to all those who want to enjoy a refreshing and revitalizing holiday in Tenerife.

Their Body & Mind experience’s programme focuses on practising physical exercise, enjoying daily specialized activities as Yoga, Chi Kung or Mindfulness. Also, the students will enjoy a Sound Bath, a Forest Bath, meditation in nature session and the Oriental Therapy they like, ALL in one: learning Spanish in the wonderful Tenerife and well-being in one go.

 

I also recently had the pleasure to talk to Marcos Villa at one of our ‘Sisters’ schools in Spain’ Syllabus.es in Santander, north of Spain, easily reached by boat via Plymouth or Bournemouth or via plane. It’s situated in the Sardinero area and just 5 minutes away from the sea. If you were thinking of escaping to Spain for an interesting holiday, practising your Spanish, Santander offers great historical sites as well as the sea, trips and a mix of Europeans students who will be delighted to mingle and chat in Spanish with you.

Erika Garimanno at the Dante Alighieri in Mar de Plata in Argentina is a new proactive collaboration thanks to their contribution to our Radio Dante Viajes with programmes in South American Spanish narrating life in Argentina, music, traditions and the cultural activities they are involved in. They are also part of the Dante Alighieri Society and mainly promote Italian culture and language there. Their podcasts will give a special contribution to those who wish to listen and learn the South American accent.

 

And if you haven’t read about it yet, La Dante in Cambridge just awarded a Quality Spanish School certificate by the prestigious FEDELE.org association of over 170 Spanish schools worldwide, all with one mission: to promote Spanish language and culture to everyone and everywhere, helping youngsters and adults in learning Spanish for study and work reasons, to promote a system of collaborative schools, sharing ideas and build up sisters’ schools.

 

Always following the theme of Radio Dante Viajes, we continue to collaborate with Radio Mèxico Internacional, following their news feeds and radio programmes in South American Spanish directly through their web links. Rita Abreu, journalist and European Coordinator runs enriching and informative programmes about Mexico, music and art, films and history in Spanish.

 

Radio Dante Viajes is developing its themes and podcasts in Spanish with insights from life in Tenerife as well as the beautiful, historical Santander, the exotic Mar de Plata in Argentina.

 

Should you wish to collaborate with podcasts and news in Spanish: please contact us

redazione@radiodante.org

or at spanish@ladante-in-cambridge.org

 

 

www.ladante-in-cambridge.org

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La Dante selected as East Anglia’s high-growth business

La Dante in Cambridge has been selected as East Anglia’s High-Growth Business Programme at Future 50 for 2021. You can watch the interview by Kieran Miles, Programme Director at Future50 with the Founder and Director of our school, Giulia Portuese, here.

 here.  

Spanish and UK Trade, an Unlikely Partnership?

By Reece Thomson

In an increasingly globalised world being bi lingual in business is more important than ever. Being able to communicate sincerely with clients can be the make or break for closing a deal. Spanish is the fourth most widely spoken language globally making it a valuable tool in any entrepreneur’s arsenal. Within the context of Britain and Spain the nations share approximately 15 billion a year in communal trade from cars to medicine to Spanish cleaning products. Here at La Dante we can help any aspiring business person tap into this market through our wide range of Spanish learning courses starting from basics to advanced to help give you the edge in interpersonal business relations.

Perhaps one of the biggest exports of Spain is the appeal of a retirement in the sun, with approximately 285,000  British expats living in Spain in 2018. The desire for one of these lovely holiday homes in Spain is the end goal for many British. The impact of this retirement dream ingrained in the British psyche cannot be understated with it being a prominent concept on British television with shows like “Living in the Sun” and “A New Life in the Sun”.

The sun, such a foreign concept in Britain and arguably the driving factor behind this cultural phenomenon.  The wider impact of this movement is hard to measure as these Brits buy property in often secluded old towns and can in some cases bring a breath of life into what would otherwise be a dying community.

However the biggest and most important component of these two nations trading is tourism, with Spain being the fan favourite holiday destination for Brits. Since the 1970’s as holidaying became accessible to the everyday man Spain has enticed Brits to visit. Again this is down to our good friend the Spanish sun who we mentioned earlier. This combined with the culture of Spain from her tapas to her flamboyant celebrations make it a staple in British holidaying and looks likely to remain so. 

 It used to be a one-sided exchange but in recent years more and more Spaniards are choosing to visit the Uk. However it is not always in the traditional vehicle of a week’s holiday, Spaniards come to Britain in many different forms such as workers, students and the tourist. Increasingly in British cities you find Spanish run businesses and blooming microcosms of Spanish sprinkled around communities. Increasingly more Spanish students who come to study in the UK choose to stay after their degree is over and these are the seeds which will grow to form a stronger bond between both Britain and Spain.

This integration shows that although in economic terms the UK and Spain have an important, strong bond it goes much beyond the money as the exchange of people through tourism or otherwise shows both nations have cultural ties which will only increase over time despite the sword of Brexit attempting to sever this long lasting unofficial union.

Italian Influence on Scottish Culture

By Reece Thomson

Scotland in recent years has developed an identity as one of the more open minded areas of the UK, with the country booming in tourism since the 2000’s this has had a knock on effect for a more cosmopolitan country to begin to develop. If we trace the country’s history, though, one of the earliest and most successful examples of integration was the mass arrival of Italians in the 1890’s primarily on the West Coast. 

When immigrants arrive in a country or city more often than not they will stick together and tend to settle in once place, this was not the case for these eager Italians. Despite several challenges including lack of education and differing faith from most of the locals  twenty years after their original arrival the Italian influence had exploded across the entire country. This was in large part to the initiative of Italian entrepreneurs who had great success in forging businesses such as cafe’s , sweet shops and as everyone knows their undoubted influence on fish and chips becoming a staple. As well as this Italians managed to learn english very quickly and the Scottish slang to go along with it showing their overall adaptability and confidence. This quick mastery of the native language was just as important as their proficiency in food as it allowed the Italians to deepen their connection to Scottish culture. 

Even to this day the Italian impact on Scottish identity is huge. For instance one of the most associated icons with modern day Scotland is the deep fried mars bar.  Unfortunately it is arguably the pinnacle of Scottish cuisine. Without Italian muscle behind expansion and mainstreaming of chip shops in their early days the path of the Scottish pallet may have taken a completely different direction. Some of Scotland’s most loved snacks such as haggis Supper, red pudding , deep fried pizza and as previously mentioned deep fried Mars bar can all be derived from the chip shop or as Scots call it the “chippy/ chipper”. I get the feeling though that if you asked the average Italian to try a deep fried Mars bar or made any attempt to link it to their cuisine you would be in their bad books.

Even out with food the Italian influence in Scotland has produced some of the wee countries finest artists. Paolo Nutini is a direct example: his parents own a chip shop on the west coast of Scotland which traces the Nutini family back to those successful pioneers who arrived in Scotland in the 1890’s,specifically his father’s side originated from Barga in Tuscany. Lewis Capaldi is one of the most current artists globally and is another product of the Scottish Italian Union. The superstars Italian flare can be traced to Picinisco. A distant cousin of Lewis is the actor Peter Capaldi, he shares a similar path to Paolo and his parents owned an ice cream establishment in Glasgow. Famous for his role as Doctor Who and starring in “The Thick of It” for which he won several awards. It seems to be no accident that some of Scotland’s most successful personalities have the secret ingredient of Italian flare in their recipe to success. 

It is hard to measure the full extent of what the people of Italy have contributed to Scotland however it is fair to say they have had a long lasting impact on the nation and have helped produce some of Scotland’s most iconic people and cultural talking points. The cultures share a “bloodiness” to them in which we will not shy away from defending our opinions and use every vocal cord we possess to achieve this. Some call it impulsiveness or lack of reflection but the Scots and Italians call it true passion.  These overlapping branches of Italy and Scotland  can be seen within our dedication  to football with both nations sharing a true vigor for the sport but perhaps not sharing the same skill level on the field. I will let you interpret who is better.

 All joking aside both nations have suffered throughout their history in perhaps different ways and circumstances. But what remains is two lands of people who always hold their head high , have an optimistic attitude to the world and their branding as a nation from history ,culture and food is instantly recognisable. 

 If you come from a family with Italian heritage and want to spark your Italian flare here at La Dante we offer online courses to teach you the language at several levels. On the flip side if the tale of Italian immigrant success in Scotland has inspired you to move to the Uk we also have courses in English to help you on the journey. 

 

LEARNING LANGUAGES ONLINE DURING LOCKDOWN

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Why study a new language now is a good idea

Cambridge Central Library

 

My experience abroad began a few years ago. From Naples (Italy) I moved to the Uk.  In 2013, I spent about a year in London and after, many years in Cambridge. Despite the difficulties that a completely new life in a completely different country from mine has entailed, now, I can say that these have been years of great enrichment. The first huge frustration I felt as soon as I was in Great Britain was of course the new language. For a sociable Neapolitan “communicator” and journalist who loves the Italian language like me, I can assure you that not being able to express myself with the surrounding world was a terrible feeling. The language we use completely permeates our life, our interactions, as well as our way of seeing things and our freedom. Without this fundamental tool you feel lost. Now, after many courses, some exams, a Master’s degree at the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, and some work experiences in the UK, I can say that I am totally grateful for the path I have taken which forced me to master my second language. The motivation to learn is important of course. I admit that given my very low level of love for the new language at the time, it came to my rescue the fact that, to some extent, I find myself forced to learn and practice English by the kind of life I had chosen: a new working and personal life in England. After all, I had always wanted to be able to use the most widespread language in the world, the ‘wildcard’ language, as I have always defined it. I thought about it strongly when during a trip to Norway, entering a little shop in Bergen, I missed a pair of earrings that I wanted to buy, but which, due to my clumsiness and shyness, was secured by another English tourist, or when I found myself for work in New York (wonderful city I fell in love with) and I could not exchange more than a couple of sentences with some nice patrons in a pub. The same happened when a group of American tourists tried to interact with me in Italy, on the island of Procida where I was during my summer holidays. What a frustration it was. Of course, knowing English makes you feel like a citizen of the world, confident that you can communicate with anyone. The potential of a language that is so useful and influential even in the professional field, can seriously make you feel capable of crossing doors almost anywhere. English is the most widely spoken language in the world, used by more than a quarter of the world population. 

And therefore, I went from being too insecure even to order a coffee in any London bar, to working in a language school, as well as a European cultural center. At La Dante in Cambridge, where I have been working for a few years, I have certainly perfected my haltingly English, through phone calls, emails, marketing campaigns, presentations, social and cultural events and even radio broadcasts (the bilingual broadcasts of Radio Dante).

Cambridge, Uk

La Dante in Cambridge, which is one of the foreign branches of the Dante Alighieri Society, the Italian cultural institution that aims to protect and spread the Italian language and culture in the world, has allowed me to continue to have the fundamental bond with my country and its culture I needed,  and at the same time to come into contact with cultures different from mine in an environment made up of people who love languages. ‘A different language is a different vision of life’, said the Italian film director Federico Fellini. It is definitely true. Language learning, in addition to the pleasure and opportunities it provides, is also known to be linked to a better mental health: it prevents cognitive decline by reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia, for example. This is because people who speak at least two languages ​​develop their temporal lobes, which allow for the formation of new memories. This increases the number of neurons that make up our brain. In addition, people who speak more than one language become better at ‘problem solving’, at better analyzing their environment and at carrying out more activities simultaneously (multitasking). These are undoubtedly some of the benefits that bilingual or multilingual people can enjoy. Neuroplasticity, that is the ability of the nervous system to modify itself to form nerve connections, is greater in children, but the brains of adults can also be shaped and improved. So it’s really never too late to challenge yourself and have a super brain! You think that most of the students of Italian at La Dante in Cambridge are really ‘very adults’, mostly retirees or academic professors. They are passionate, good at always making new progress, and are more than awake and active.

BBC, Cambridge, Uk

 I personally got a taste for it too and, since this new era of smart working and lockdown began, I took advantage and started studying Spanish with online courses, always with mother tongue teachers from La Dante in Cambridge. Nothing more pleasant. Even after a busy day of work, nothing is more comfortable than staying in the warmth of your own home, without having to travel in the cold or for a long ride by car, etc. I take a seat in my living room for a couple of hours with classmates of all nationalities (in my class at the moment there are two Turks, one Russian and one English for example) and my very nice Spanish teacher. Leisure, together with the feeling of using your time productively in something that contributes to your personal and cultural growth, do the rest. Obviously I am looking forward to going to Spain to communicate with the locals in the local language, but for now, safe from viruses, I have been preparing myself for that moment.

 I conclude with a quote from Francois Vaucluse who said: ‘Forgive them who speak only one language: they do not know what they do’. My wish for this new year to you is therefore to commit yourselves to learning a new language or to practice and deepen a second or third language that you already know or that you had started learning at school.

 

INFORMATION ON ONLINE COURSES

E-learning is as much, if not more effective than in-person lessons. The language courses of La Dante in Cambridge take place on Zoom with the help of Google Classroom and the use of the new online school platform, PLATEO, where all students can easily interact with each other and with teachers. Furthermore, with this new platform, all users, in addition to teachers, can easily share documents, videos, language tests and many other files to improve the learning experience and push all skills to the best.

 Since La Dante is a European Cultural Center, together with language courses, it also offers all its students many cultural events and extra activities, completely free to offer an experience as immersive as possible (conversation classes, cooking classes, aperitifs online, film club). The teachers, of English, Spanish or Italian, are all qualified native speakers who use an effective communication approach that encourages the students to speak in the language of study as much as possible.

Courses can be individual or group. The collective classes are formed by a few people in order to guarantee a higher level of individual attention to each student.

 

For more information or to register for English courses, english@ladante-in-cambridge.org, WhatsApp +44 7887 606227

For Spanish courses spanish@ladante-in-cambridge.org – – WhatsApp +44 7887 606227

For Italian courses for foreigners info@ladante-in-cambridge.org – WhatsApp +44 7887 606227

www.ladante-in-cambridge.org Radio Dante www.radiodante.org

 

Discover Radio Dante!

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RADIO DANTE HISTORY

Radio  Dante started to be broadcast on  3rd  March  2012,  founded by  Director  Dr. Giulia Portuese-Williams of the European Cultural Centre La Dante in Cambridge. The main objective of La Dante is the dissemination of European languages and cultures, in particular Italian, Spanish and English.

In 8 years, we have produced more than 100 radio programmes, trained 60 interns in radio broadcasting and marketing, built collaborations with  Colleges and Universities all over Europe and with La Dante Alighieri Society’s 500 offices around the world.

 

TRILINGUAL PODCASTS

Radio Dante broadcasts every two weeks with half an hour in English and half an hour in Spanish or Italian on Cambridge 105 radio. We also publish our podcasts on Radio Dante’s website, on La Dante in Cambridge’s website, on Spotify , on our Facebook account and on other social media.

 

THEMES

We cover cultural themes on our radio programmes:

MUSIC

We broadcast from classical to pop music. Moreover, we interview professional musicians who speak about their music, their artistic journey.

 

 

 

 

HISTORY

Knowing our roots allows us to discover the historical links that bind us to other countries. Our team is made up of people of different nationalities, which enriches the historical topics our journalists cover.

 

 

 

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

We also offer our listeners advice on language learning and other topics to enrich their lives and develop their skills.

 

TRADITIONS

To know the traditions of a community is to understand the way in which they relate among family, friends and the environment. Thanks to the multiculturalism of our team, we can tell our listeners all about the traditions of each region from different perspectives.


Pictures of our team at the broadcast studio

 

PARTNERSHIPS

We have been working for the past 8 years with the Department of Italian and the Department of Spanish at Cambridge University where academics often come and participate to interviews (this has happened prior to the pandemic).

Over 60 University Students chose us for a successful professional internships over the years, knowing the work experience at La Dante is valuable and well regarded all over the world. We have partnerships with the Universities of Valencia, Madrid, Zaragoza, Seville in Spain as well as the Universities of Venice, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Siena in Italy.

 

RECOGNITIONS

We are recognized by the British Government and by La Dante Alighieri Society, which is a a Cultural non-for-profit organization with 500 offices around the world.

7 Reasons to Learn a New Language

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WHY STUDY ANOTHER LANGUAGE?
AND WHY STUDY ITALIAN OR SPANISH?

 

1. Connect!We can improve the way we speak

One of the most rewarding aspects of the human experience is our ability to connect with others.  Being able to communicate with someone in his or her language is an incredible gift. Bilinguals have the unique opportunity to communicate with a wider range of people in their personal and professional lives.

 

Connect with the world

2. Advance Your Career

Language skills can be a significant competitive advantage that sets you apart from your monolingual peers. Learning a second language also opens additional doors to opportunities for studying or working abroad.

 

3. Feed Your Brain 

The many cognitive benefits of learning languages are undeniable. People who speak more than one language have improved memory, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, ability to multitask, and better listening skills. They switch between competing tasks and monitor changes in their environment more easily than monolinguals, as well as display signs of greater creativity and flexibility. If that weren’t enough, as we age, being bilingual or multilingual also helps to stave off mental aging and cognitive decline.

 

Madrid Gran Via

 

4. Deepen Your Connection to Other Cultures

Language is the most direct connection to other cultures. Being able to communicate in another language exposes us to and fosters an appreciation for the traditions, religions, arts, and history of the people associated with that language.

 

 

Firenze

5. See the World

Traveling as a speaker of the local language can revolutionize a trip abroad. While monolingual travelers are capable of visiting the same places, travelers who know more than one language are more easily able to navigate outside the tourist bubble and to connect and interact with the place and its people in a way that is often inaccessible to those without the language.

 

6. Boost Your Confidence

Any language learner can attest to making his or her share of mistakes while discovering a new language—often in front of an audience. It’s a necessary part of the learning process! Learning a language means putting yourself out there and moving out of your comfort zone. The upside is the amazing sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when conversing with someone in their native language.

 

 

7. Gain Perspective

As we explore a new language and culture, we naturally draw comparisons to what is most familiar. Learning about another culture sheds light on aspects of our own culture—both positive and negative—we may not have previously considered. You may find a greater appreciation for what you have, or you may decide to shake things up!

ARE YOU UP TO A GREAT ONLINE EXPERIENCE OR DID YOU THROW THE TOWEL IN TO LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE ONLINE?

How we enjoy and develop our language learning experience online

Here at La Dante in Cambridge, we are riding the big wave, having moved all of our language courses online for Italian, Spanish, and English.  Many of us are at home during the lockdown and really wish our time was well spent: consolidating or just learning something new. Our desire to travel will always be there, whether we do it this summer or in the autumn, wishing to visit friends in Italy and Spain, sipping that prosecco by the lakes or in the main square in Sevilla chatting to friends.

We have a great language learning experience at La Dante in Cambridge and our objective is to help people understand other cultures, help them succeed in their exams, help families whose children wish to talk to their grandparents in Italian or Spanish.

Many of our students have already asked when we will be back for our face to face lessons at la Dante, and the answer is, of course, people will always want to learn face to face to have a laugh and to have the eye contact with other students, share a cake during a class to celebrate someone’s birthday………it’s all about the culture and La Dante will open on September 1st. In the meantime, there are so many ways to enjoy and take advantage of this special time during lockdown: we can all learn how to use Skype or Zoom or Google Meet, our team has been helping some of our students who were not familiar with the platforms. There is also so much help on google search and our team of teachers has been great at facilitating the online classes.

We took the opportunity to ask our teachers 5 questions about the online learning experience at La Dante in Cambridge:

1)    Why do you think people should take this opportunity to learn a new language during  lockdown?

 

Ludovica – Italian teacher at La Dante in Cambridge

Ludovica Frezza, Italian teacher from Napoli: “Definitely, in this situation, it seems that time never passes, but by learning a new language you can spend one or two pleasant hours with your teacher and/or classmates. In this way, you change your routine by having fun, learning something new and meeting new people even if you are locked in the house.

 

Emilia Marra, Italian teacher from Catania:  Learning a new language is an excellent antidote against the sense of loneliness that we all have been experiencing in these strange months. Being part of a class that shares the same passion for languages not only allows you to interact with new people, external to your family group and circle of friends but also to learn a new tool through which to communicate.

Silvia De Paola, Italian teacher from Rome:  Sure, I agree with that. Learning online is great. It is an excellent resource for people who can comfortably connect from home and definitely take advantage of this situation. Furthermore, it is also an occasion for socialization which is crucial for everyone at this moment in which we are all asked to keep the safe distance from others to protect against the coronavirus disease.

Luisa Tammaro, Italian teacher from Naples: Life in lockdown is challenging, and people can get bored easily. Learning a new language in this difficult period means spending the huge free time to gain new skills and feel more productive. Students can easily join online classes from home and socialise with their classmates.

Tamara Benassi, Italian teacher from Bologna: Learning a language is ALWAYS a great way to keep your mind active, and add new skills while having some fun!

2) If someone finds that online is not ‘a real context’ to learn languages, what is your advice for these people?

Luisa – Italian teacher at La Dante in Cambridge

Ludovica: The context is virtual and not real, it’s true. But what makes it real is the relationship that is created with the other participants in the class. We can’t touch each other, but there is interaction. So if you feel like you are attending a non-real lesson, I would recommend focusing on what really happens during the lesson and not on the fact that you are online. There is no robot or pre-recorded video on the other side. The smiles, expressions, and voices…are real!    Luisa: For students, online lessons can be much closer to the ‘real context’ than it seems. Teachers work hard to make this happen. They use the same materials that they would use in a face-to-face class (i.e. books and exercises) and adapt them to the online class. Moreover, the advantage to learn a language online is the massive use of digital tools and sharing materials in real-time. Some interactive tools make the online lesson more usable and much closer to the real one. I strongly believe that people should not be so worried about the ‘context’ but should take into account this opportunity as a good chance to discover a new way to learn a language and make friends.

 

Daniel Miguel Pastor, Spanish teacher from Burgos: Thanks to new technologies and the work that teachers do to adapt, we make the experience of learning online very enriching. Online classes are a great and effective way to learn.     Emilia: ‘The online’ is itself a new language. Remote interaction is undoubtedly different from that in presence, but it is not a matter of comparing the two experiences in terms of more or less. The online is a big change compared to traditional teaching and offers many opportunities. As always, when the news knocks on the door, we are called to make a test, in order to understand the advantages of a new situation, and, why not, be pleasantly surprised by the opportunities it opens.          Silvia: With new digital tools, online teaching is very close to face-to-face teaching. Obviously, the mode of use changes but group interaction remains. Sharing multimedia contents can also be stimulating for the student accustomed to the ‘classic’ lesson since it represents a novelty.

3) Do you think there is an age in which people can learn a language?

Daniel Miguel – Spanish teacher at La Dante in Cambridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel: Of course not, any age is good to learn a new language. Many times some of us have that bad feeling for not having done something long ago, for lack of courage or for doubts. Likely, many people when they get older decide to sort it out and satisfy that urge. So, they successfully start a language course. Languages can be learned at any age, we just have to be motivated and eager, the teachers will also help us with that.

 

 

Luisa: I would like to use a quotation: ‘there is no age limit for learning until your passion towards curiosity ends’. I think you can learn a language at any age. Obviously, the learning mode changes from age to age.

Ludovica:  Everyone can learn a new language, but everyone has his own time. The important thing is not to be discouraged.

 

Tamara – Italian teacher at La Dante in Cambridge

Silvia: I think people can learn a language at any age. Taking a language course is not only learning an idiom but also discovering a world different from one’s own, a different culture. It is also a great occasion to meet new people.

Emilia: I believe that learning a new language is always within everyone’s reach.

4)   Tell me 5 things that make learning online fun with you: 

Ludovica: 1. Not only theory but also practice and discovery of Italian culture. 2. There is the interaction between classmates and between student and teacher 3. We watch videos and listen to music. 4. The teacher does not speak continuously, but also and above, all the students speak 5. In each lesson there is a new challenge: I don’t like boredom!

Emilia: 1. Extra material available every week on google classroom: interviews, newspaper articles, surveys; 2. Use of audio-visual resources; 3. Games and exercises in pairs thanks to the support of Zoom’s breakout rooms; 4. Immediacy in finding visual material shared with students through the use of Zoom chat or Skype; 5. Dynamic conversation.

Emilia – Italian teacher at La Dante in Cambridge

Luisa: 1. Many interactive games; 2. Sharing authentic material in real-time;  3. offering engaging interactive content; 4. Using songs and videos;  5. More structured lessons and more conversation.

 

Silvia: 1)  videos or songs during the class 2, sharing material in real-time 3, offering captivating interactive contents 4, lessons built with targeted exercises created ad hoc 5 very stimulating group exercises (for example talk shows on a topic)

Daniel: 1. I am a happy person who approaches the class in an entertaining way, always smiling (no one gets bored during my classes!) 2. I adapt each class to the students’ level and objectives. 3 I don’t always use the same methodology. 4. I like that students are entertained in class and learn as much as possible so that they always want to know more. 5. The way I work gives rise to many curiosities and aspects not only related to the language, but also to the culture of the Spanish-speaking countries

5) Would you recommend online learning at La Dante? if so, why?

Ludovica:  Yes, all teachers are prepared, reliable, patient, and positive. The classes are small, so you can’t feel neglected by the teacher. There isn’t only theory and you are totally immersed in the Italian or Spanish language.

Luisa: I would recommend online learning at la Dante because our teachers invest part of their time in online education training, and also because our team is constantly looking for new teaching content and new online tools.

Tamara: Yes, because it gives you the chance to learn a language and culture in a small group class with a native Italian speaker.

Emilia: The online tuition by La Dante guarantees the quality of the teaching of the frontal lesson, while integrating the most recent resources available on the internet, in terms of both platforms used (Zoom, Blinklearning, Google Classroom) and content available for the teaching of the Italian language L2.

 

Silvia – Italian teacher at La Dante in Cambridge

Silvia: Definitely, because our team is constantly looking for original content and new ways of doing the teaching, with particular attention to making the students feel at ease during the lessons, always using new ways to satisfy them.

 

Daniel: I recommend learning with La Dante because it is a very friendly and familiar school that knows how to treat its students and that not only offers languages but also brings different cultures to everyone in an interesting and entertaining way. In addition, online classes are well organized and it is always about improving and incorporating new technologies and improvements that facilitate learning for students.

Let us know what you think of these interviews and if there is anything you would like us to do differently within the virtual classrooms or by offering new opportunities online, click here to get in touch 

 

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

 

 

5 Reasons for Studying Languages Online (vs. Face-to-Face Classroom)

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“Shall I take my next course online or shall I stick with my face-to-face classes?”

If you are reading this post, it is possible that you are toying with the idea of signing up for an online course, but perhaps you don’t have a lot of experience studying online, if at all.

If you have taken face-to-face classes all your life, being a little apprehensive at the beginning is normal, even if you are tech-savvy. However, taking an online course, as opposed to a face-to-face class, definitely has its perks. Here are five advantages to studying languages online.

    1. Enhance your career or study to improve your communication when you are abroad

During lockdown, you may have more time to focus on learning a language and dream of your next trip when all the restrictions with international travel are lifted.

An online live session gives you great interaction with your teacher and your fellow classmates at your own pace through break out rooms in Zoom.

In a survey at Learning House: 44% of online students reported improvements in their employment standing and 45% reported a salary increase. By the time you finish your online course, you will have gained more work experience and learned new skills that will help you advance in your career, or if you study for fun, a great result for your future trips or family and friends reunions in the chosen country where the language is spoken!

2. Maximise your study time at home

By studying online with live native teachers, you choose your own learning environment that works best for your needs: be it your bedroom, your study or when this lockdown ends, the café across the street, or your local gym. Or if you just missed your class, you can listen to your teacher’s class recording as you run on the treadmill. Isn’t that awesome?

Taking an online course also means that you don’t have to commute to class, which means less time spent on the bus or car and more study time learning.

  1. Extra time to read or listen to podcasts
    As we are all in lockdown right now, it’s great to develop our skills and improve our knowledge, be more exposed to the language of our choice by reading more newspapers, apps for languages like com or SlownewsinSpanish.com and if you prefer listening to podcasts, listen to Radio Dante podcasts with programmes in Italian/English and Spanish/English on a variety of cultural topics.
  2. Self-discipline and responsibility

Who says that having to be more self-disciplined is a disadvantage? It is true that studying online requires more self-motivation and time-management skills, because you will spend a lot of time on your own without someone physically close to keep you focused on deadlines. Look at it this way: your online course will not only teach you languages and cultural topics, it will also help you become more self-motivated, a trait that will make you stand out in the workplace and beyond.

  1. More choice of language course topics
    Let’s face it, when thinking about what to study, besides for interest and career opportunities, whereto study is also a deciding factor. By taking an online course, you can really focus on the subject you are interested in and choose from the variety of online courses and programs.

I only listed five benefits to learning online but, having been an online student myself, I know there are many more. Can you think of other advantages or reasons why you prefer to take your next course online? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

And don’t forget to follow us on FB, Istagram or Twitter and let us know what you think.

ICGSE PREPARATION AT LA DANTE IN CAMBRIDGE

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The International GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) we held this year was a project to teach English B2 level, Geography and Maths in English for the best students coming from the Lyceum Fardella-Ximenes in Trapani, Sicily.  The thirty-five Italian students aged 14 and 15 came to La Dante in our lovely Cambridge in February for two weeks. Our English CELTA qualified teachers organised interesting and stimulating tasks in and out of the classroom that went far beyond the exam preparation. The students’ commitment and interaction was excellent and so were the tutors who accompanied them, Prof Matteo Peraino and Prof.ssa Lucia Abate who were pivotal for the success of the project. The course programmes were topical and planned accurately, with challenging and stimulating activities. For each course, they had to run interviews and research, presentations and debates.  In the Geography class, they discussed themes based on environmental issues, such as climate change, hurricanes, and weather forecasting. They studied issues related to cities and specific industrialised countries. Teaching and discussions during these themes were both rewarding and newsworthy as the students came from one of the most beautiful places in Sicily where pollution problems are extremely low.  As the IGCSE programme developed into English B2 level they discussed and enriched their vocabulary and enriched their speech. The lessons focused on social media, law and order, and sustainable fashion. They took several tests in preparation for their exam next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for IGCSE Maths we had the professor Alex Datta who helped them consolidate the maths programme in view of their exams: from differentiation questions to understanding quadratic functions, the students responded well and were proactive during the whole course. The teenagers have also been given the opportunity to take advantage of our beautiful city to enjoy British culture. So the teaching was integrated by a social programme, which included a walking tour of Cambridge. The first point of interest was the iconic King’s College, and then they gained a better insight into what Cambridge University life is like by visiting a variety of colleges. Of course, the Cambridge experience would not have been complete without a punting trip under an incredible February sunshine. The group also went to Grantchester to enjoy a walk through its typically British meadows. Along with the cultural experience, we offered them karaoke evenings and the screenings of British films to relax after their hard work. They really enjoyed that and at the weekend they visited the nearby cathedral town of Ely, as well as London.

It’s safe to say the group experienced everything British weather has to offer, from the unseasonal February sunshine and blue skies to gale-force winds and hail. We’re grateful to them for bringing the sunshine!    Our teachers and our team really enjoyed meeting them. We took the opportunity to interview these excellent and motivated students to find out their take on the experience. Here is what they thought about the IGCSE course in English, Maths, and Geography at La Dante in Cambridge:

Alessandro: “This experience is a big opportunity because I think that studying in Cambridge, in England is a big opportunity to improve my skills and my language. I really like La Dante teachers, (Michael Jill, Michael Brown, Rebecca Caute, Alex Datta, Gudrun Hughes) we talked about current affairs, and my English is improving a lot. The best thing is that we always speak in English. In Trapani you study English but here it is a different type of study, much more effective, of course”

Aurelia: “I am enjoying this experience. I haveimproved my pronunciation as well as my understanding. I feel more confident. The thing I like the most is that I am learning about English culture and traditions. Also the family who hosts me helps me in this because they often talk to me, so I feel more confident when I speak in English.

Martina: Professors are really good, they’re nice and gentle and we are practicing writing, speaking, listening and learning a lot of words.

Ruben: The teachers are so well prepared, my objective is improving my English skills, and I can feel more comfortable in communicating. I also love being with my friends and at the same time learning new things. Cambridge is a very nice city, and the people, who live here, such as my house family, are lovely and hospital.

Martina II: This is my first time in England with the school and my classmates. I think that it is something that everyone has to do because we can do so many new experiences, we can learn so many things about the language, culture, and tradition in England. Cambridge is a beautiful city. The best thing about this city is the place itself. I loved the punting tour on the river Cam.

Giuseppe: I am really enjoying this experience at la Dante in Cambridge because the teachers are so good and the atmosphere is very nice. We are lucky because we can practice a lot with high-qualified teachers. The things I like the most are the lessons themselves because they are perfect.

Alberto: La Dante is a happy place, and Cambridge is a really nice city. I am so enjoying this experience. It is very effective because you are in a city where people do not talk your language and so you have to push yourself. I am always with English people. The things I like the most is being with my friends and seeing Cambridge, its parks, cinemas, and colleges. Living with British family is so cool. I am enjoying this because you only talk English with them.

Serena: I am learning a lot about the English culture and habits. I really like the city with it monuments and the colleges and also the people who are very kind. Here they eat very early in the evening and this is strange for us because we have dinner at 8 pm and they from 5 to 7 pm. On a typical day, in the morning we go on trips, we visit the city with a guide or the teachers, and on the afternoon we have the lessons on Geography, Maths and English teacher. My favourite subjects are English and Latin. I am a very curios person, I want to discover this culture because I think it is important for my future to use a good English. It is the first language in the world, so the first tool to find a good job and to learn more about other people habits. I really like La Dante teachers, they are very kind and they make us feel at home. Thank you so much La Dante in Cambridge!

  We welcome more IGCSE projects in English, Maths, and Geography, and of course for other subjects. Our European Cultural Centre, La Dante in Cambridge attracts the best qualified trained native teachers and we have been developing exclusive projects in Europe since 2011.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us at: english@ladante-in-cambridge.org