The city of cobbled streets, terracotta walls and bad traffic that relies on the prosperity of glorious ancient structures. Rome is amongst the must-visit cities for first time visitors to Europe — particularly for its monstrous ruins, food and espresso. One of the reasons I came to Rome was to learn Italian. My Nonno, from Benevento and my Nonna, from the small coastal town Minori, emigrated to Australia during the ’70s. So, it made sense for me to go back to my roots.
I was in Turkey for two weeks already, having witnessed the storm of the July 15 military coup, and had grown quite an attachment to the vibrant middle-eastern Mediterranean country. I spent my last night in Izmir and was due to fly the next day to my new home city with no accommodation, no connections and no idea how things would pan out.
I organised my couch surfing host the morning before leaving Izmir. It was a hot and sunny day when I arrived into the buzzing Termini main hall. As with landing in all new countries, connecting to wifi was top priority (and generally does not come without difficulty). I finally located my host and we drove to his Roman apartment, a little north of the city in the peaceful neighbourhood, Cassia (not before a pizza and gelato lunch stop).
Unlike some other European cities, Rome is not particularly hard for finding affordable housing. It took me a total of one day to find and cost 500€ for the month. I was ready to settle into my new found space near Vittorio Emanuele after having already been on the road/air/sea for a month, but my host’s friends had convinced me to come on a 2 hour drive north to jump fence at a psy-trance festival. Little did I know that day that this group would become my crew for the remainder of the trip…
Being August, most of Rome was shut down as families closed business for Ferragosto, and a lot of Italians living abroad returned home to visit family and friends. So after a couple weeks of parties, lengthy Italian dinners, seaside chilling and countryside festival camping with my new friends, I enrolled at Scuola Romit in Monti.
Scuola Romit has one of the more affordable language programs and was also one of the only schools open during August. Initially, I enrolled for 2 weeks at the school with a follow up 2 weeks at one week break intervals. [I find that it’s best to have a break after each fortnight as language courses can be content heavy and overwhelming. It’s also good to take some time to venture around and practice your speaking skills—especially after a bit of booze.]
Coffee bar near Scuola Romit
Marlena was an incredibly talented teacher. She was very engaging and by the end of the fourth week, I had a solid grasp on present, past and future tense. Our classes were of about 10 people, and I was lucky to have met a couple of girls who were sharing the same adventure in Rome.
Although the school is equipped with 8 weeks of content, one of my classmates advised that this school is best for beginners as towards the end, some of the content became repetitive. After my 4 weeks of study, I was able to acquire my Level A2 certificate.
♥ Location: Monti is a beautiful area with lots of eateries, boutiques, vintage fashion stores and funky cafes. In my mind it’s the east side version of Trastevere. After class, we would soak up some sun by the Fountain.
♥ Price: For my 3.5 weeks, it cost me about 500€ including registration fee and materials. That worked out to be about 28€/day or a little over 9€/hour.
♥ Content: For four weeks of content, I had a good grasping on the language. Classes were generally structured in four parts: introductions/speaking practice, homework review, introduction to new content, then partner/group exercises.
♥ Marlena: Marlena was a very engaging teacher. She introduced topics well and explained language structures using consistent formulas making the classes easy to follow. She also corrected your mistakes as you went along, which allowed you to improve your speaking skills quickly.
⊗ Teachers: Although all teachers were welcoming and lovely, the teaching quality was not very consistent (—albeit, a matter of personal opinion). If you are planning to study there for a week or two, enquire via email to see who your teacher will be. This makes a big difference!
Overall, I enjoyed my time there and wouldn’t have changed a thing.