Guest review: Anne rediscovers the joy of pizza on an Italian and cooking holiday in Sorrento
Anne is a self-confessed oddity (her words not mine!). Most of Anne’s Italian was self-taught so she wanted to take her language skills on holiday for some conversation practice. Nothing odd about that, Anne!
Anne opted for the Italian language and cooking holiday at our language school in Sorrento with the aim to improve not only her language skills but also to discover a culinary world beyond pizza and pasta. However, Anne soon found out a secret about pizza that would change her mind forever.
We caught up with Anne on her return to find out more about her language holiday and her time in Sorrento.
Who else was on the language holiday?
I was in the class with 5 other students of different nationalities, which was great as it put more focus on the need to communicate in Italian. They were younger than me so had studied a lot in schools and institutions before – I was a bit of an oddity because most of my studying had been done individually!
You could say that I am an older student on paper but definitely not at heart! I think we are all just 18 inside really and everyone at the school treated me, and each other, that way.
There were some other older people there but everyone is so concentrated on the language and improving their language skills so what does age matter? You are all in the same boat so you do have something in common – trying to express yourself in Italian the best you can.
What was your typical day like?
Every day started off with a wonderful conversation with my host family. I stayed with a lovely man who was a professional sculptor so had the same interests and passions as me – it was a great match. His daughter also lived there too so she often joined in the conversations. I enjoyed my time talking with them so much that I never wanted to get away!
I then had a lovely walk to the school – first amongst the hustle and bustle of the traffic but then along a lovely avenue before along streets with beautiful wisteria hanging from the walls. I now associate the smell of wisteria with my time in Sorrento.
Once at the school, we had a wonderful 4 hours of Italian language lessons with congenial people. The language lessons were taught by friendly young tutors who were interested in us and gave everyone equal turns to speak. When the lessons were over, I had lunch with the other students.
It was often hard to tear myself away but I had to because I had booked cookery lessons too. They were wonderful too. I was hoping to not just make pasta and pizza because the pizza in the UK is normally so bad but we made our own pizza, rolling out the dough ourselves and holding it up to the light until it was lovely and thin, and it was delicious! We also made tiramisu, stuffed chicken and stuffed courgette. It was great fun working with people that have so much passion about what they do.
Which day was your favourite and what did you do?
My absolute favourite experience and highlight of my week had to be when the other five students in my class had to prepare for an international exam the next day. This meant I had an hour alone with our tutor just for conversation practice. We spoke about the holiday in general and my time in Sorrento – just normal free flowing conversation. Priceless!
How did your Italian improve during your stay?
Italian did improve but I am never satisfied as I feel there is always more to learn.
While I was there, I exchanged books and experiences with the other students so this inspires you to continue.
How did you spend your evenings?
Not once did I feel alone or at a loose end. I did something different each evening but ate out with the other older students a few times. You find that the shops are open later and dinners take longer as you just want to admire the view so you take your time and are never rushed. I sometimes read at home but not often as I preferred to be out and about.
How was the home stay accommodation?
Very convenient and I was able to find my way around easily. There was plenty of space to put your things and it was warm enough.
I was concerned about sharing a bathroom but as there were only 2 other people in the apartment, this was never an issue.
Would you repeat the experience?
Yes. It though it was good value for money. I would be interested in going to other places but would go back to Sorrento too because now it is so familiar and I would be able to find my around.
I was delighted with how friendly every employee at the language school was. They were like friends you had never met before.
I have such great memories of the stunning views, scents and little fishing village below.
What advice would you give to other travellers wanting to do a language holiday?
Concentrate on being more open and talkative than you usually would be at home. Take the opportunity to have conversations whenever possible – in the bank, with a shop assistant, ask about anything, initiate conversation. The locals were open to chatting and very friendly.
Take the chance to immerse yourself in the language.
You can read more about Anne’s Italian and cooking course here.