In my first LUISS semester I counted as an Erasmus student and not as an exchange student. Hence, during this time we received a small Erasmus grant and we had the chance to take part in a four week Erasmus Intensive Language Course. The EILCs is held every semester in three different Italian cities: Siena, Perugia and Venice. It is not compulsory to do the course, but since I only studied Spanish in school I thought it might be helpful to learn some Italian.
For this reason, most of the USE-LUISS students applied in October 2010 for doing the language course in February 2011 (before going to LUISS). Unfortunately, only one person from the USE was accepted for the language course so that most of us went to Rome without any Italian language knowledge.
In the course of time I realized that it is possible to survive without Italian. However, it is helpful to know Italian especially when it comes to communicating in the supermarket or in the restaurant. In addition, Italians are very happy if they hear that you put effort in getting to know the language and their culture. Even though we had a 32-hour Italian crash course at LUISS, my Italian did not go further than small talk. Hence, Romy my Dutch flat mate and I decided to use the summer to do the EILCs at the “Universitá per Stranieri” in Perugia. Andrea Naylor, one of the USE coordinators for the LUISS program helped us with the application procedure and in the end we got into the program.
The EILCs in Perugia
At the 1st of August 2011 we had a welcome meeting at the Universitá per Stranieri. The teachers explained us the program for the upcoming four weeks and during this meeting and the next day, we had a written and an oral entry-level test. The test was quite hard and based on this test we were distributed in different levels (A1, A2, B1). I did level A2 and Romy could already go a level higher. Classes took place from Monday to Friday. All classes were multicultural and it was quite easy to make friends, as everyone started off from the same level.
We had four different courses at the Universitá per Stranieri: Italian Language, Practice Conversation, Civilization and Language Laboratory. The teachers all only spoke Italian, which rose our listening comprehension immensely. In “Civilization” we did trips to famous Umbrian places such as the Perugina Chocolate Fabric and Bevagna. After the four weeks of language classes, we had to do a three-hour written and an oral exam to test our Italian knowledge. At the last day, the 26th of August, we received our certificate in a final ceremony and we had to say goodbye to most of the people who we met during the course.
What did we do besides the language course?
From the above it looks like we did not do anything than studying. But there is a lot to see in the region of Umbria and most of us used the weekends to travel to near by cities. During my time in Perugia, I went to Firenze, which is up north and to Assisi, which is only 20 minutes away from Perugia. We even went to the beach close to Ravenna at the Mediterranean Sea. It is definitely worth it to do some trips, but there are a lot of parties and events in Perugia as well. I hope that I will be able to visit some of my friends from the language course during this semester.
To sum, it is definitely worth it to do the language course. First of all, because you can improve your Italian language skills very quickly. Second of all, because you meet great people from different nationalities, who most probably even go and study in the same city that you do afterwards.
Here are some info’s for all USE students who will go to study at LUISS next semester and who are interested in doing the EILCs:
It is very important to also contact the LUISS coordinator at the USE. They most of the time have more information about the language course.