Dante Alighieri Society of Washington
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Italian Language Classes FAQ



Are your classes open to everyone?

Yes. Our program is a non-credit program open to the entire community.

Do you accept K-12 students?

Yes. There is no age limit and everyone is welcome. However, the vast majority of our students are adults. We have had families and high schoolers preparing for college as students.

What is your class schedule?

The class schedule follows the same format as a college or university level class (three quarters of language instruction from fall to spring).

When do classes meet?

Classes are held Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.

Where are the classes located?
All classes are located on Seattle University campus in the Administration Building. However, please note that the Dante Alighieri Society – Italian Language Program is a self-sustaining autonomous program and independent of Seattle University.

What is the inclement weather policy?

Because classes are held on the Seattle University campus, we follow the lead of Seattle University. The Seattle University policy is available here: https://www.seattleu.edu/safety/emergencies/inclement-weather/

We want all of our students and instructors to be safe and we recommend they use their best judgement about how safe is to travel based on the condition near their homes.

In the event a class is cancelled, students will be notified via email. We will make every effort to make up the missed lesson at the end of the quarter.

Does your class schedule vary from quarter to quarter?

Occasionally different schedules are offered to accommodate staffing and enrollment needs. Be sure to check the Class Schedule for current offerings.

Is it possible to enter the program at any time of the school year?

Yes. While the subject matter of each of the three quarters of the academic year builds on the previous quarter, it is possible to enter the program at any quarter depending on one’s previous experience and knowledge of the language. If you don’t have any knowledge of Italian, please enter the program in the fall.

Who I need to contact for questions, advice and/or placement?

Contact the director, Giuseppe Tassone:

  •  by email at tassone@danteseattle.org;
  •  by phone at (206) 289-0419; or
  •  by mail to D.A.S. ITALIAN LANGUAGE PROGRAM, P.O. Box 16257, Seattle WA 98116-0257

Is the tuition the same for all levels?

No, pricing for our classes varies by level. Our pricing variation is based on both historical enrollment levels and on encouraging classes that benefit from smaller group participation and more one-on-one engagement. The intent is to maximize the benefits and value for each level.

How does your pricing structure compare with other programs?

As a non-profit, DAS is able to provide excellent value to its students. On a per-hour of instruction, instructor qualifications, and student-to-teacher ratios, DAS prices are hard to beat anywhere in the Puget Sound areas for in-person instruction, which DAS considers crucial to competency in the language.

In addition, our program has received financial support administered by the Consulate General of Italy in San Francisco and by individual donors that can affect our pricing.

Do you have a registration deadline?

Yes. The Registration Deadline for each quarter is found on our website’s classes page.

Registering by the deadline helps ensure that a class will meet enrollment requirements in order to be held as scheduled.

How do I register for classes?

Payment can be made either by online payment using PayPal or by mail with a check made payable to DAS Italian Language Program. Further information is available here.

Do you offer refunds?

Yes. Tuition fee is 100% refundable within the first two weeks of the quarter or before the beginning of the quarter if a class is cancelled.

Is a class ever scheduled and then canceled?

Classes are seldom cancelled once scheduled, but they do require minimum enrollment levels to ensure a viable class size for a lively learning environment and to meet financial constraints. We encourage students to register by the posted deadlines to ensure that sessions will be held.

What should I do if I missed the registration deadline?

If you have missed the deadline send an email to the Program Director at tassone@danteseattle.org to be added in a class if it is not at capacity.

What alternatives are available if a class is not offered or is cancelled?

In the event that a class you registered for cannot be held, the Program Director will work with you to find the most appropriate alternative or refund your payment if a suitable fit is not available.

Does the program offer a proficiency certification exam?

Yes. The Dante Alighieri Society of Washington is one of the few institutes in North America authorized to offer PLIDA (Progetto Lingua Italiana Dante Alighieri – Dante Alighieri Italian Language Project) certification. The PLIDA certificates attest proficiency in Italian as a foreign language on a 6-level scale according to the parameters established by the Common European Framework for Languages. Learn more about the PLIDA Certification Program.

Laura Ciroi

Laura CiroiLaura Ciroi has been teaching with the Italian language program of the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington since 2003. She was born in Palmanova, in Northern Italy, a star shaped fortress built by the Serenissima Republic of Venice to protect the territory from the invasions of the Hapsburg and the Ottoman Empires. She was raised speaking Italian, French and Friulano (her native Northern Italian dialect). Laura received a Laurea in Linguistics from the Università di Udine where she specialized in Spanish and English literature. Since then she has lived and worked in Holland, Switzerland, Spain, England, America, and Italy.

Giuseppe Tassone moved to Seattle from Italy in 1993. He has been the director of the Italian Language Program of the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington since 1998 and the PLIDA coordinator since 2011. He is a language educator, coordinator, and advocate of Italian language and culture. He has a background in economics and finance (B.A. in Economics), but chooses to specialize in Italian language and culture  (M.A. in Italian Studies). He has 20+ years of experience teaching, developing curricula, coordinating, testing, and assessing in public and non-profit organizations (e.g. Seattle University, University of Washington, Shoreline College). Giuseppe reviewed and/or contributed to several Italian language textbooks, such as Da Capo, Oggi in Italia, Avanti, Piazza and Sentieri. He is the author of Ricordati di me,  Buongiorno Notte – Italian Films Series by Edizioni Farinelli and Un buon AffareItalian for Business by Hackett Publishing Company available in print (2016) and e-book (2019). Giuseppe teaches at Seattle University and heads the Italian Section in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures. Personal interests are: reading, traveling, cinema, economics, politics, playing and listening to music, swimming, biking, gardening and cooking.


E-mail: tassone@danteseattle.org

Francesca Giambartolomei

Francesca GiambartolomeiFrancesca is an Italian native, born in Cremona, northern Italy. She holds a laurea in Biology from the University of Padua and Masters of Biology from Eastern Michigan University. She left Italy in 1994 and has lived in New Zealand and the United States. She has a passion for teaching her native language, as a way of maintaining and exploring the Italian language and culture with different eyes. She has taught privately and in many institutions to students of different proficiency levels groups. Francesca is interested in literature, art and design, and in her free time, she likes reading, cooking, and making jewelry and ceramics.

Email: francesca@danteseattle.org

Damiano Pinton

Damiano PintonDamiano is a native of a small town in the Northern Italy countryside, about 17 miles away from Padua, a city famous among other things for its university, the fifth-oldest surviving in the world. He received his B.A. and M.A. Cum Laude in Japanese language and culture from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, while specializing in linguistics and translation. He lived in Japan for three and a half years, where he continued his studies and his sociolinguistic research on (im)politeness in language. While in Japan, he also started working as an Italian teacher, discovering his passion for conveying the beauty of the Italian language and culture abroad.

Email: damiano@danteseattle.org

Roberta Punzi

Roberta PunziRoberta was born in Salerno a city located in the region of Campania in Southern Italy where in the ninth century flourished the renowned Schola Medica Salernitana; the forerunner of the modern university medical schools.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Economics and Management for Arts, Culture, Media and Entertainment from the Luigi Bocconi University, and a Master’s Degree in Piano from the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory of Music in Milan.  Roberta has been working in the field of arts management since 2008. She has served as a project manager, fundraiser and arts administrator in high-profile nonprofit organizations and music festivals in Italy.  She has taught music and Italian language in middle schools, and has held lectures in performing arts management as a teaching assistant at the University of Milan and at the Accademia del Teatro alla Scala.  She has performed many solo and chamber music recitals across Italy.  Roberta moved to Seattle from Italy in 2018, and in March 2019 she started working with Greenpeace U.S.A. as a fundraiser.  She loves classical music, visual arts, reading, traveling, hiking and of course teaching Italian.

E-mail: roberta@danteseattle.org

Valentina Robles

Valentina RoblesValentina was born in Bitonto, a small town in Puglia, South of Italy. She has a Laurea in Lettere (Degree in Humanities) and a Laurea Specialistica in Scienze dello spettacolo e della produzione multimediale (Master degree in Media Studies). During her studies, she spent seven months in Spain where she was a tutor for Spanish students enrolled in Italian classes. Her passion for the theatre and cinema brought her to work in the production department for several projects for media, theatre, and live concerts.

Email: valentina@danteseattle.org