Hello from a splendid small city within the mountains of the Italian north! The weather is awesome and our hotel is incredible!!! A view over the whole valley and three three-course meals a day - we're gonna get fat instantaneously!
"We" means around 18 people from all over Europe, especially from the Eastern countries and as far as Russia and Armenia. All young people, roughly between 21 and 27, are representatives of youth organizations working on the European level. And we've come together to learn the Italian language, but also to do some networking in order to connect our associations and allow us to work together in a better way.
The course is really cool! We've got around two hours of language studies every morning, then we do a unit about the Italian culture. Thus, yesterday for example we talked about the various Italian newspapers and their role in society. A really interesting thing, this cultural learning. And of course, you learn all the time as we're together with people from twelve different countries and different backgrounds. So table discussions during lunch mostly give you just as much new information as the morning classes.
In the afternoon, we've got classes again, but this time it's in order to connect our organization. For the moment, we're elaborating how cultural differences can pose problems to working on the European level. Thus, we played the game of Abigail who's trying to get over the river, a game which everybody involved in intercultural language will know very well. It's supposed to show and compare our value basis in different cultures. And we had pretty hard discussions which person in the story behaved morally correctly according to our own values and which one didn't.
We're lodged in a beautiful hotel on a mountain close to Levico Terme.
<iframe width="425" height="350" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.it/maps?f=q&hl=it&geocode=&q=strada+per+vetriolo,+3,+levico+terme&sll=41.442726,12.392578&sspn=10.011574,17.226563&ie=UTF8&ll=46.015611,11.301265&spn=0.00906,0.016823&z=15&output=embed&s=AARTsJpviTY5zkzo6-uUeifEtZR3_TB1Cg"></iframe><br /><small><a href="http://maps.google.it/maps?f=q&hl=it&geocode=&q=strada+per+vetriolo,+3,+levico+terme&sll=41.442726,12.392578&sspn=10.011574,17.226563&ie=UTF8&ll=46.015611,11.301265&spn=0.00906,0.016823&z=15&source=embed" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">Visualizzazione ingrandita della mappa</a></small>
Actually I don't want to know what the Council of Europe is paying for this!! We've got a pool, three meals a day (but three-cours Italian meals, mind! not the German sandwich kind of thing...) and a lot of comfort, a high quality Italian course and subsidised visits to Venice, Verona and the Garda lake on the weekends..."incredibile", the Italians would say
so at the moment i'm really enjoying myself and going out with the others, enjoying Italian weather, climate and culture, and meanwhile slowly getting fluent in Italian. It'll be another few days and then Italian will probably have taken the place of English as the first language of communication at the lunch table and for everything else we're discussion. Most already think in Italian anyway...
wish you all the best and a hot summer whereever you are and what you're doing at the moment. I haven't come around to talk about the trip to Levico Terme yet, which also was a very challenging thing, but I'll do that very soon.