Siena Language Study
Danti Alighieri, Siena
ABOVE: Michela, a teacher at the Dante Alighieri
Language School, hosts a vocabulary game at the Dante Alighieri language school.
by Durant Imboden
A few years ago. I enjoyed a
"language vacation" at the
Dante Alighieri language school in Siena, Italy. It was one of the most delightful travel experiences I've
had in years, and I would have extended my stay by months if I'd had the time,
money, and freedom.
Here's a brief description of what I encountered as a Dante Alighieri student in Siena:
My Italian class consisted of nine students: Mats, a technical stagehand at the opera
house in Gothenberg, Sweden; Goshi, a cook at an Italian restaurant in Japan;
Minna, a Swedish math teacher in training from Uppsala; Masumi, a Japanese
seamstress; Marie, another Swede; Lucie, a Canadian from Montréal; Fernanda, a
restaurateur from Querétaro, Mexico; Tina, a Dane from Aalborg who had just
gone to work as a tourist guide at a wine estate in Montalcino; and one American
Except for my grizzled self, the students ranged in age from 22 to 28. This concentration
was a little unusual and probably reflected the fact that not many
"language tourists" visit Siena in January. Year-round, the student
body's age distribution is surprisingly diverse:
Students are also of many different nationalities, including Swiss (16%),
German (15%), Americans (14%), Australians and Japanese (11% each), British
(10%), and others (28%).