Sara Schuster shares her experiences in Italian Conversation:

“Italian conversation with Valentina has proved to be the perfect mix and learning and relaxation for me in Florence.  In laid back settings (a bar- coffee in hand, or stretched out on a couch in one of the apartments are both prime examples) we practice talking, introducing ourselves, ordering or other necessities.  Personally, after the long hikes throughout Florence that I experience each morning in my pursuit to understand the growth from Gothic to Renaissance to Baroque (art and architecture, that is), these afternoons are perfect.  I love the alternately calm and interesting lessons as I learn everything from “Sono Sara e ho seidici anni” to “il mio fratello si chiama Alex” (“I’m Sara and I am 16” or “my brother’s name is Alex” for those not taking Italian).  The class allows students to, at their own pace, begin to absorb and then tentatively formulate Italian.  Rather than rigid structure and memorization, the class keeps everyone speaking, whether it be about “Milly and Molly”, the characters of a children’s book we’ve been working with, or over what we plan on ordering as the class shares a lunch out.  My comfort level in Florence has changed as I learn to communicate, if only in my broken Italian, and I have no doubt that I will only get stronger by the end of the month.”