Sono contenta che uno dei lettori del blog – Romi Patel di Auckland – abbia scelto di studiare con Lucia De Zuani, un’insegnante per cui io tifo per e per cui provmuovo il suo Homestay Italian Learning Vacation qui sul blog. (Vedete il tab sotto “Language Learning -> Lucia De Zuani). Penso che language immersion sia uno dei migliori modi per imparare bene una lingua e Lucia offre questo modo di apprendimento a chiunque voglia vivere con lei e la sua famiglia nel nord Italia vicino a Lago Maggiore. L’anno scorso, dopo aver letto di Lucia sul mio blog, Romi e sua moglie hanno fatto il lungo viaggio, attraversando quasi tutto il globo, per arrivare sulla soglia di Lucia dove sono stati ben accolti e dove hanno trascorso una vacanza a perfezionare le proprie competenze linguistiche. Durante la vacanza, Romi è stato intervistato da Alan Clist di “Dream of Italy” che abita come loro ad Auckland in Nuova Zelanda e che dirige un bellissimo sito dove si possono acquistare regali d’Italia on line. Con il permesso di Alan sono contenta di pubblicare di nuovo l’intervista in cui Romi racconta la sua passione per la lingua e parla del suo soggiorno con Lucia De Zuani.


I am happy that one of my blog readers – Romi Patel from Auckland – chose to study with Lucia Dezuani, a teacher for whom I am a fan and for whom I promote her Homestay Italian Learning Vacation.

I think that language immersion is one of the best ways to learn a language well and Lucia offers this opportunity to anyone who wants to live with her and her family in northern Italy near Lago Maggiore. Last year, after reading about Lucia on the blog, Romi and his wife made the long trip, crossing practically the entire globe, to arrive on the doorstep of Lucia’s house where they were warmly welcomed and where they enjoyed a lovely visit while improving their Italian. During the vacation, Romi was interviewed by Alan Clist di “Dream of Italy” that also lives in Auckland who manages a great site where you can acquire Italian gifts on line. With Alan’s permission, I have happy to repost Romi’s interview in which he talks about his passion for the language and talks about his stay with Lucia Dezuani.

Kiwis in Italy! Interview of Romi Patel by Alan Clist of “Dream of Italy”

Hi Romi, thanks for the time to chat today. What are you doing in Italy right now? Gaynor and I are here in Italy for two reasons. Firstly to pursue our study of the Italian language and, secondly, to spend three weeks in vacanza, practicing our Italian and traveling around Northern Italy.

Where are you from and what do you normally do? I am, originally, from Auckland, but now live on a lifestyle block near Pukekohe (part of Auckland). I have lived there for the last 22 years and share it with Maximillian, the Orange Cat, and Arnold and Eva, my two Kunekune piglets (all animals understand my Italian perfectly).


I don’t think there is a “normal for me”. My career spans law, broadcasting, and engineering. My current occupation is as a consultant in business growth. I assist companies with things such as developing strategy, responding to tenders, project management, and mergers and acquisition.

What inspired you to go to Italy to learn Italian? I suppose that I should answer this by commenting on why I decided to learn Italian in the first place. During previous visits, for both pleasure and business, I found that by combining English with my university French and schoolboy Latin I was able to communicate with the locals. So, I said to myself, all those years ago, “one day I will learn this language; one day Roger Fitch, one day”. So, five years ago that “one day” arrived.

It was one of those mid-life crisis things, where I decided I needed a new challenge to keep the old grey matter functioning. Gaynor decided to join me in this pursuit and we enrolled at the Dante Alighieri (the Italian society) school in Auckland to commence our conoscienza of La bella Vita. Everyone that knows me, knows that I am a pugnacious bastard and that once I start something I want to master it. Learning once a week in class for two hours and using self-help aids, such as CDs, takes you only so far. So, we decided to bite the bullet and head off to Italy to do the ‘full immersion’ thing.

So, two years ago we attended the Edulingua school in Castelraimondo, a small town in the Le Marche region. This course was an intensive four-week exercise, which left us mentally drained. Now, two years later, we decided to take it a bit easier and do only a week of “school” and three weeks of inflicting our newly-honed Italian skills on real Italians.


How long does the language school last? To call this current experience a “school” is probably incorrect. There are just the two of us and we live in our teacher’s home (an apartment). So, from breakfast to nightcap we are constantly learning and strengthening our Italian. We have lessons in the morning with Lucia and then, in the afternoon and evenings she takes us on site-seeing trips in the area (and in the Lakes region of Italy, there is a lot to see), we go shopping, and we dine with her friends.

What does the stay include?
▪ Being picked up and dropped off at Milan airport
▪ All lessons and materials
▪ Accommodation
▪ WiFi (having WiFi is now one of our must-have criteria for selecting accommodation)
▪ All meals, including eating out (we weren’t allowed to pay for anything), and the compulsory daily gelati
▪ Wine and drinks with dinner (naturalmente)
▪ Excursions and entrance fees

Where is the Homestay? Lucia is based in Borgomanero, a town located about 40 minutes from Milano

Where do you live while studying in the language school? In Lucia’s home. She has a large three-bedroom apartment, located a short walk from the town centre

What is the best thing about doing this? The concept of total immersion would have to be the highlight for me. Lucia was available every waking moment, to guide us and, more importantly, correct us when we used our Italian.


Is there any preparation or something you need to do before attending? Not really. I would advise anyone thinking of taking the plunge to clearly communicate their objectives and learning preferences in advance of arrival. We did this with Lucia and were able to focus on the areas we needed help with, rather than attending a standard Italian language course. One week is not a long time and it is important to have an advance idea of where you will need assistance.

How did you match the course with the level of Italian you have? By clearly communicating with our experience and expectations. Lucia customizes her delivery accordingly. She has taught people ranging from those with only elementary skills, to those, like us, who need fine-tuning and more experience in using the language in real life. Through several email exchanges, she was able to sum up my expertise (or lack thereof) and tailor her approach to suit us. So, it was less of the Italian for travelers (such as asking, “from which platform does the train to Urbino leave?”) and more of participating in everyday dialogue. Meeting her friend and having “normal” conversations over dinner and drinks is a great way to improve your Italian and to raise your confidence

Se vi interessa un vacanza di homestay con Lucia Dezuani potete trovare più informazione seguendo questo link. Avete più domande? Potete contattarmi! A presto! If you are interested in a homestay vacation with Lucia Dezuani you can find more information following this link. Have more questions? Please contact me! Until the next time!

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