I thank the day that my husband and I decided to stop and stretch our legs in Todi during a drive from Rome to Pisa. It was the summer of 2006 and I was already searching for the perfect location for an Italian immersion program in Italy…if only I could find the perfect school, one that shared the same vision of making language learning intensely personal, social and fun. In Todi, we stopped for coffee at a bar just steps from the stunning Piazza del Popolo. An Italian teacher myself, I quickly spotted a few non-Italians – a Japanese woman and an Austrian man – standing at the counter and could tell from their notebooks that they were students of Italian. When I asked them if there was a language school in Todi, they simultaneously began telling me about the fabulous little school above the cafe’: La Lingua, La Vita – amazing teachers, fun and interactive lessons, the chance to live with a host family and truly become part of the fabric of life in Todi. Less than a year later, I returned to Todi to spend 3 days getting to know the school created by my now dear friend Stefania Belli, a gifted educator who embraced a teaching philosophy which couldn’t be closer to the heart of what we believe and practice at Speak! : teach to the whole person (body, mind, spirit), teach also by making the student part of the life of the town, involve lots of conversation and culture. After just one day of visiting classes, host families, apartments and getting to know the people of Todi I was convinced I had found not only the perfect location, but the perfect school. Five years later, I am still amazed by the school Stefania created, by her dedicated faculty and staff and by the incredibly strong support system offered by the people of Todi – from host families to hair stylists. They all make Two Weeks in Todi the immersion experience of a lifetime. Grazie, Stefania!
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