Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ
How can I register?

The first and most important thing to do is to fill out the enrollment form. Please attach to your enrollment form a proof of payment of the registration fee (70 €).
You can also use our online registration system.

When we receive your registration form, we will send you a letter (or a fax, or an email) of confirmation or an invoice (only by postal service). It is always possible to extend your stay, even if you have already arrived in Italy.

We try, as much as possible, to be flexible and to welcome you in our schools whatever the period and even though a minimum notice of registration is needed. If you book in advance, however, we will be able to better meet your needs and preferences regarding the accommodation. Moreover, do not forget that the visa procedures can take some time.

When can I start the course?

Students who already know some Italian can start any Monday; beginner courses have specific starting dates (see fees & dates)

On arrival, non-beginner students are tested and placed in classes according to their level and their particular needs.

How many students in a class?

The maximum number of students per class is 14 or 6 for small groups.

Which is the teaching method?

Our teaching method is based on communication. Students actively exercise the fundamental functions of the language. Our Italian language courses are based on the stimulation to learn through direct communication between the teacher and the student, keeping into account the student’s age, basic education and goals.

Particular attention is given to conversation, in order to develop students’ abilities to express themselves and communicate in Italian from the very beginning of the course. Naturally this method includes the study of the rules of syntax and grammar, as essential to Italian language learning, but which alone are insufficient for gaining a true command. Our language courses are aimed to the gradual achievement of the linguistic abilities of comprehension, speaking, reading and writing, also through study of the historical and artistic aspects, through visits to the monuments of the town together with teachers.

According to the level of the course, in our classes students deal with simple and complex matters, by reading texts and newspapers. Therefore, it’s easier for them to have an access to Italian culture and society and also to take part in everyday life. The aim of this method is to teach students in a very short time to speak and to “think” Italian as well as mastering the art of Italian Grammar.

What is the qualification level of teachers?

Our teachers are very well qualified. Most of who have studied Italian language and literature. All have completed specific training for teaching Italian to foreigners.

Why should I choose Scuola Portofino?

Why choose Portofino schools

 Founded in 1995, we have many years of experience in teaching Italian in Italy

  • Scuola Portofino is located in the city center, downtown
  • We have very large area and our classes are min. 20m2-40m2
  • Professional and experienced young teachers who have been specially trained in teaching Italian to foreigners
  • Italian at every level, all year round
  • Maximum of 12 students in each class (5 – 7 students on average)
  • Lessons for international students of all ages
  • Classes have all material and equipment (computer, TV, projection, etc.), also our teachers use all materials when they are teaching.
  • Our Language Courses with Experience, and Friendliness
  • We are using our own special program, not just with a book we respect practice, conversation, not just grammar education.
  • Courses start every week for non beginners,
  • Walking tours: in the center of Florence, Piazzale Michelangelo, Giardino di Boboli, etc.
  • Movies with Italian subtitles at school
  • Daily tour: Pisa, Bologna, Siena, etc.
  • Friendly and helpful staff that give personal attention to each student
  • Equipped for handicapped students.
What kind of accommodation do you offer?

Accommodation in a family single or double room with breakfast or half board

Accommodation can be with single people, couples, single parent families or “traditional” families. Each family may host 1, 2 or 3 students. The families, we have selected guarantee to be available for meeting and conversing with the students. When choosing families, we do not look for luxurious accommodation, but rather Italian families that happily welcome foreign students. In addition, the word ‘family’ should not just be understood according to its traditional definition: family can also mean a couple without children or a single father or mother who simply enjoy the company.

Meals

You can choose between breakfast or half-board (breakfast and dinner). You will eat with the family, but remember that the habits and routines of Italians may be different to your own. Generally, breakfast is coffee with biscuits. Dinner is a full meal that is served around 20.00.

Facilities

You will share an apartment or a floor of a house with other students at the Scuola Portofino, Italian students or with the landlord. All students share the kitchen and the bathroom with others. Apartments are furnished and the kitchen is provided with all necessary utensils (dishes, plates, pots etc). You can cook and eat by yourself or with the other students. Electricity, gas, water, bills and taxes are included in the rent. Sheets are provided without charge and are changed every 2 weeks. You must bring your own towels. We suggest organizing something to eat for your first dinner. The apartment does not have a telephone. The apartment will be cleaned before your arrival. During your stay you will be responsible for cleaning your own room as well as the common rooms (kitchen and bathroom).

Rules of behavior if living with a family

If living with a family, it gives you the unique opportunity to integrate yourself in Italian culture and the way of life, but there are a few necessary compromises to be made between you and the family that host you. There are some rules that you must follow: keep your room tidy; do not wake up the family when you come home after midnight; do not use the personal items of the family without permission; do not use the kitchen for your own purposes; the use of the washing machine is not included, so you cannot use it without permission of the owner; the use of the iron is permitted without charge; you are permitted to use the common rooms and to receive telephone calls; the room (if it is not locked) will be cleaned every day. 

  • Accommodation in a shared apartment single or double room

 We can provide several shared student’s apartments located throughout downtown of Florence, available with single or double rooms. In shared apartments students have their own private room (single or double) and will share a common kitchen and bathroom(s). We recommend shared apartments as a great way to facilitate social/personal interactions with fellow students. Double rooms cannot be shared by 2 people who don’t know each other previously and have not previously decided to share the room. The school does not pair people who do not know each other previously.

Living in an apartment with Italian or foreign students, or with the landlord, requires maturity but also allows you to have a lot of independence. You will share the bathroom and the kitchen with other students, and you can cook for yourself.

Rules of behavior in shared apartments

We ask you to the following rules: Keep the common rooms clean and tidy, clean plates after using them; take out the garbage each day and put it in the appropriate bins; be very quiet and do not wake up flat-mates when you come home after midnight; do not have parties (parties are absolutely forbidden, especially with people that do not live in the apartment. This is for health and safety reasons but also to ensure peace and quiet for neighbors and for students that do not participate); absolutely do not use a bed or room in the apartment that is unoccupied; do not invite a ‘friend’ that is not well-known to the apartment; inform the secretary of the school of any possible damage or technical breakdowns; leave the apartment in a clean state when you depart.

  • Accommodation in a private apartment

Private apartments are of course more comfortable than shared apartments, but are also more expensive. These are studios for the exclusive use of 1 or 2 people. They have a sleeping area, a living-room, the kitchen and a bathroom and are recommended to those who want to be completely independent. Prices are available upon request. Remember that private apartments must be booked in advance and that their prices can vary according to the city and time of year. Scuola Portofino only deals with bookings. The rent must be paid directly to the landlord of the apartment, but your credit card number is needed to make a booking.

  • Accommodation in a residence

These are apartments with one, two or three rooms. In each room there are one, two or three beds, there is also a kitchen / living room, bathroom with shower, air conditioning, television and a daily cleaning service. Upon request there are extra services: parking, breakfast, a secretary and a safe for your valuable objects. You must pay the whole amount directly to the our school bank account or credit card

  • Accommodation in a hotel

We are in contact with hotels located near to our schools (the basic offer is for bed and breakfast every day- a room with a shower or bath). Prices for hotels are available upon request and vary according to the category chosen:

  • Luxury category (5 star hotels)
  • 1 Category (4 star hotels)
  • 2 Category (3 star hotels)
  • 3 Category (2 star hotels)
  • 4 Category (1 star hotel)

The norm is that, we book rooms from the Sunday before the start of the courses, until the Saturday after the end of the course.

Different arrival and departure days arranged upon request. Scuola Portofino only deals with bookings. You must pay the bill directly to the hotel reception, but your credit card number is necessary to make a booking.

Where do I go when I arrive?

You should go directly to your accommodation address upon arrival The first night of stay is the Sunday within 9.00 p.m. (unless otherwise agreed with the host) before the course begins. The day of departure is the Saturday after the end of the course. It is important that the student leaves the room not later than 10.00 a.m. on Saturday (unless otherwise agreed with the host) as the room has to be prepared for the next student.

It is essential that the school is given details about the student’s arrival (day, hour, number of the flight/train, airport/station, etc.) in time to inform the host when to expect him/her. Without this information the school cannot guarantee that someone will be waiting for the student on arrival.

Where is the accommodation located?

Our accommodation is centrally located and the school can easily be reached in approx. 15-20 minutes by public transport.

When will I receive my accommodation details?

If you take accommodation service, (renting payment must be paid), and accommodation details will be sent within 2 weeks before the beginning of the course.

Can I change accommodation if I don't like it?

The first day of school you can go to the accommodation office and they’ll try to solve your problem as quickly as possible.