Here’s valuable, inside information on how the “borsa di studio” (study grant) system works at Italian language schools, and what you have to do to get yourself a free Italian Course in Italy!
1. Most Italian schools in Italy offer a certain number of 100% and or 50% grants each year. What do they get in return? Good publicity, of course.
2. But would you believe? Sometimes nobody even applies for the free courses that are offered. It seems that it can be harder to give something away for free than it is to actually sell it!
3. That’s where you come in. You want to learn Italian, right? But would prefer not to pay for it? Avanti!
4. Don’t waste your time applying to the schools themselves. Italian language schools have to sell courses to pay the rent and the teachers’ salaries, and every contact is a potential customer.
5. “Borse di studio” are normally awarded through Italian Institutes of Culture in different countries, university language departments, and so on. Not only does this not lose the schools potential paying clients, but the effect is to create a network of “promoters” in language-learning centres around the world, in exchange for the free courses offered.
6. So, if you want to do a free course, start by approaching your local Italian Institute of Culture (there’s at least one in most countries, and several in some: check out the database here ). Ask them how to apply. They may, for obvious reasons, restrict applications only to their students. Or they may be more helpful.
7. If they don’t seem very interested, you’ll need to push a little. Check out the sites of the schools you’re interested in (start with the biggest ones) to see if they offer “borse di studio”. Then pester your local IIC to explain why they won’t allow you to apply to School X. After all, it says on School X’s website that…. and it’ll only cost them the price of an e-mail to put your name forward.
8. Remember: a borsa di studio / study grant will only cover the cost of the course. You’ll need to pay your airfare, accommodation and living expenses yourself.
So, what have you got to lose? They can only say “No”, right?
And if you give this a try, why not leave a comment on this post to tell me how you got on. It would be great to know if you managed to get a free Italian course by following this advice…