Ciao A.L.C.E.!

Ciao A.L.C.E.!

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

I am now ending my 9 weeks of school at ALCE. It has been pleasurable and frustrating in turn. I now can not only ask for directions but usually understand the answer – an important consideration. Not only that, if I don’t understand the answer I can ask for clarifications. I can carry on a half-way (underline half-way) decent conversation in Italian but have a limited vocabulary. Still, it is a substantial improvement. I now dream of coming back to study more but but like so much in life – it depends. Time will tell. I have enjoyed the city a lot and if you’ve read other posts you know that I highly recommend it.

Every two weeks on Friday morning there is a test to see how we have progressed. There is a grammar test, a dictation, oral comprehension and conversation tests. Sometimes I do miserably, especially on the oral comprehension. My biggest challenge is listening to a recorded conversation and understanding what is being said. I will continue to practice when I return home and hopefully one of these days I’ll feel comfortable in the language.

I’ve had some very good teachers and some who I know more by random conversations at school than actual lessons. I think that I’ve covered just about everyone in the pictures accompanying this post. Every Friday following the morning lessons there is a little party to say goodbye to those at are leaving. So this happens almost every week since people come at various times and stay for various durations. You’ll have to click on this photo so see everyone. Most I don’t know but starting with the guy with the t-shirt there are Nick, from Germany, Ciaran from Ireland, me, Romy from Israel and Pasqualina from Australia. Of course you’ll need to click on the photo to see everyone.

There are always two teachers each day – two hours of grammar and two hours of conversation. There are extra lessons on Monday and Tuesday, usually on some aspect of grammar or phonetics. There are excursions regularly including “aperitivi” on Wednesdays and Fridays which I have attended often. On these occasions a group of students accompanied by a teacher gather at the Due Torre (two towers in central Bologna) and go to a bar for something to drink and eat. There are also out of town or in town excursions for various interest.

People come from all over as noted above. Here are some others:

So here goes the gallery:

Grammar: The first teacher was Agnese who left after two weeks to have her baby (she had a boy), next came Fiametta for just two weeks and then Davide for the final 5 weeks. I like them all but especially Davide.

Conversation: One teacher lasted the duration, Claudia, who I really like a lot. She has a great sense of humor, is very patient and is dedicated. I think that she ran out of red ink correcting my homework.

There were two Franceschas – Francesca and Franceschina. I never had Francesca as a teacher but did go with her and two other students to Ferrara one Saturday. Francescina earns the diminutive due to her size – just over 5′ tall. She has a great dry sense of humor and I enjoyed not only her lessons (usually extra lessons in grammar) but talking with her from time to time. I kidded Franceschina and called her la cowgirl because she wore boots when the weather got colder and smoked hand rolled cigarettes.

I never had lessons there with Marilena but she was my Skype tutor for several weeks before I left for Italy and I saw her frequently at school.

There are also the staff members: Rosanna, Luca and Sanja. Rosanna is a principle of the school and Luca is as well. Sanja is a staff member from Denmark.

The last day I was already having a nostalgia attack. By now ALCE seemed like home. I hope to return soon and will really miss the people.



12 Responses to “Ciao A.L.C.E.!”

  1. Peter H. Says:

    Joe, Bittersweet! Glad to have you home. Lets do lunch. Peter

  2. Joe Says:

    Definitely. I’ll have lots of storied to tell so we’ll need to set aside some time.


  3. Dana Says:

    Great post Joe. It’s been fun following your blog during your stay. Hope your trip home stays safe and uneventful! Dana

  4. Joe Says:

    More to come. I’m now in Palermo (Saturday night) and on Monday morning I rent a car for 3 days. The adventure continues. I’m glad that you liked the post. I’m really going to miss Claudia, Davide and Franceschina in particular,


  5. Jamie P. Says:

    Congratulations, Joe. What a splendid little voyage!

  6. Joe Says:

    The story’s not over. It’s now almost midnight in Palermo and the joint is jumping. Watch for a post.


  7. Doak Says:

    Joe, Very nice post. Sorry your trip has to end but glad to hear it’s not the end of your adventure and blogging. I have enjoyed following your blog. See you when you get back. Let’s do lunch. I have a list of questions. Ti offro io. Doak

  8. Joe Says:

    OK Doak. I’ll email when I get back.


  9. Mary Says:

    Joe! How exciting to have followed your Italian adventure. Given the situation here in Oakland, are you sure you want to return? It sounds much, much nicer where you are…
    Looking forward to seeing you; hope the rest of the experience is wonderful and passes slowly.
    Ciao – M&M

  10. Joe Says:


    I’m glad that you’ve been following along. There is more to come. I am now in Palermo and pick up my rental car this morning, I’ve read about the “Occupy” stuff in Oakland if that’s what you are referring to. It was worse in Rome in the middle of October when the “Black Bloc” disrupted the similar demonstration there.

    Stay tuned. I’m looking forward to seeing you and Mike when I return.


  11. Teachergirl Says:

    Had a very different experience with this school. Rosana the owner was an absolute nightmare and went biopolar on me. Avoid avoid void!

  12. Joe Says:

    Well, sorry that you had a bad experience. What was the situation? It doesn’t really sound like her.


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