Carolyn: Learning a new language can be both fun and rewarding; especially if there is a fun and rewarding technique. Today's program can help you shed your old-fashioned ideas of learning a second language. Instead, travel to the heel of the Italian boot. Learn Italian in the morning and spend the afternoon sunning by the Mediterranean...drive to the Roman baths, or explore the artistic center of Lecce, the city that Italians call "The Florence of the South".
It's in Lecce that you'll find the Apulia Domus School of Language and Culture. Students at Apulia Domus range from college-age to after retirement, couples or singles, from absolute beginners to those who just need to brush up on their skills.
My guest, Nella Leo, is the Director of Italian Language and Activities. Apulia Domus uses a teaching method that is unique to the teaching of Italian.
Nella Leo: Our goal is to let them learn in 2 weeks time because we take care of grammar but just in a level where the student can dedicate time to the grammar. But the first thing that the student wants to do is to have the satisfaction to say some words in Italian.
Carolyn: Some of the premiere universities in the United States have study abroad programs with Apulia Domus. For instance, Vassar, Weslyan and Wellsley were so impressed that each one moved its study abroad program from the University of Siena to Apulia Domus in Lecce. Not only do the students benefit from the curriculum at the school, but they spend time in a less-touristed region of Italy.
Nella Leo: In Lecce, you won't hear English speaking all the time, as in Siena. When American students come to Italy they normally go to Tuscany, to Rome and they never come to the south. So this is a good opportunity for them to do this with a university program. We are proud of this because if they chose us it's thanks to our way of working and thanks to the possibilities that we can give to the students once here.
Carolyn: And just what are those possibilities? You might take an excursion with a private guide and driver to beaches, monuments and ancient sites. You might take a trip to see the Trulli houses, unique to Southern Italy. Or maybe take a boat ride along the coast, or attend a local religious celebration or festa.
Nella Leo: This aspect of social activities; not all the schools do it, but for us it's very important. And we know that without this, the study holiday is not the same. I know you have to study Italian, but I know also that you are out of your country. So for us it's very important.
Carolyn: OK, so maybe you like the idea of exploring a lesser-known region of Italy, but you're still a little shaky about Italian classes? Not to worry, Apulia Domus has you covered! The school offers a variety of courses, in English, that will teach you aspects of Italian culture. Classes are offered in cooking, dance, ceramics and cartapesta, a distinctive form of sculpture using paper mache.
Nella Leo: We can also organize classes for people who don't want to learn the language but instead, learn the culture. Our staff is Italian people specializing in teaching Italian culture in a foreign language, above all, in English.
Carolyn: For accomodations, you can stay at the school itself or one of the nearby hotels or B&Bs. You can check out the Apulia Domus website at www.apuliadomus.com and click on "Apulia".
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