Italian Language Program – Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are your classes open to everyone?

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

  1. 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.

  1. 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 school 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. However we recommend starting in the fall especially if you don’t have any knowledge of Italian.

  1. Are your classes in person or online?

Classes meet online through Zoom video-conferencing platform and Canvas, the leading learning management system used worldwide by the most prestigious institutions, where all pedagogical material resides.

  1. Do you accept students from any location?

Yes. However, please consider the time zone difference.  We are based in Seattle, WA USA (PT).

  1. 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 early October to June with a class break every 10 weeks.

  1. When do classes meet?

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

  1. How much is the tuition and what does it include?

Tuition is posted on the Italian Language Classes page. It includes 30 hours of synchronous instruction per quarter, Canvas subscription, Zoom access to attend lessons and meet out of class to practice with classmates, all pedagogical material including textbook and ancillaries and 24/7 access to Canvas.

  1. Is the tuition the same for all levels?

No, tuition varies by class level and is based on both historical enrollment levels and  to accommodate 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.

  1. How does your tuition compare with other programs?

As a non-profit, our language program is able to provide excellent value to its students. On a per-hour of instruction, instructor and director qualifications, student-to-teacher ratios, amount and quality of resources available to students, our prices are hard to beat anywhere.

  1. What is a typical class size?

We believe in a classroom environment and a warm class climate where students benefit not only from interaction with the instructor but also from peers and learn from other students. We begin the school year in the fall with a larger group of students with a cap of 20-24 students in A1-A2 and 16-20 students in B1-B2. Overload at times is possible. The number of students in each class tends to decline as the school year progresses. Attendance dynamics at each class allows a satisfactory student–teacher ratio and Canvas resources facilitate class management.

  1. Do I need to buy a textbook and/or ancillaries?

Not necessarily. In our language program you can complete each level of Italian without purchasing textbooks or other material, thanks to electronic resources that are available in your Canvas online classroom. These open educational resources include electronic textbooks, ancillaries, exercises, websites, audiobooks, and selected documents and media. The director and instructors have customized these materials to be more relevant to your course and keep them always up to date. Students interested in purchasing a physical copy of the textbook can search for a used copy of the recommended edition. Check the ISBN of the recommended edition in the class description on the Italian Language Classes page.

  1. Do you use a syllabus?

Yes.  All classes have a syllabus built around the table of contents of the recommended edition of the textbook with specific objectives to be reached each school year according to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

  1. May I consult the syllabus before I enroll in the class?

Certainly. Just email the Language Program Director along with any question regarding placement.

  1. May I visit a class for one or two meetings to experience it before I decide if the level, the online environment, and/or methodology is appropriate for me?

Yes. In order to visit a class contact the Language Program Director to organize your visit and provide the credentials to access the class for one or two lessons.

  1. Do you have a placement test?

Yes.  You can request to the director a free placement test to be completed at home. The Language Program Director will evaluate it and get back to you with feedback and recommendations.

  1. Are your classes being recorded for post-viewing?

In general we don’t not record classes at A1 level.  However, some of the instructors, at their discretion and with all students’ consent, record their lessons.  In that case recording will be available exclusively on Canvas for one month.

  1. What to do if I missed a class?

Thanks to the structure of our lessons and the use of Canvas synoptical pages where we tell students what to do before we meet, what to expect during the lesson and what to do after class, you can easily study the missed lesson by navigating the synoptical page. If a recording or class chat is available we recommend to use it. We encourage you  also to contact the instructor for clarifications. In addition, take  advantage of the warm up time at the beginning of each lesson during which the previous topics are quickly reviewed before advancing to a new one.

  1. Do I need to complete assignments and tests while attending your classes?

Assignments are marked on the syllabus and our synoptical pages on Canvas, however due to the demography of our classes all assignments as well as any other activity, are corrected in class and/or by providing the answers key. Tests are also available in a self-correction format or with an answers key to be completed at the discretion of our students.  While we value the need for homework and assessments we strive to provide a stress free environment where everybody can feel comfortable.

  1. Are your classes centered only on grammar? 

We believe that learning a language requires building a solid foundation and understanding of the structure of the language.  Students are exposed to grammar but will also focus on building vocabulary and gaining conversational skills. In addition the 90 minutes of lessons are well balanced to practice all skills through films, songs, web search, audiobooks, and ludic activities.

  1. Do you have a registration deadline?

Yes. The Registration Deadline for each quarter is found on our website’s class page. Registering by the deadline helps ensure that a class will meet enrollment requirements in order to be held as scheduled.

  1. How early should I register for a class?

Since classes fill up quickly we suggest you register earlier to save your spot in the class. Registration for fall quarter usually opens mid-June, winter quarter in late October and spring quarter in February.

  1. 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.

  1. What should I do if I missed the registration deadline?

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

  1. Do you offer refunds and who do I need to contact for a refund?

Yes. Tuition fee is 100% refundable anytime prior to the beginning of the quarter and by the day after the third lesson.  Contact the Language Program Director for a refund. Please let us know in your request the reason for your withdrawal from our program. We value your feedback.

  1. Is it possible to get a partial refund after the first three lessons?

Unfortunately no.

  1. Do you offer senior discounts or other discounts on tuition?

Members of the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington receive a discount on tuition. Information on joining the Dante Alighieri Society is available here.

  1. Is a class ever scheduled and then canceled?

Classes are seldom canceled 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. If a class is canceled you will receive a 100% refund.

  1. What alternatives are available if a class is not offered or is canceled?

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

  1. Does the program offer a proficiency certification exam valid for the application for Italian citizenship for example?

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 Exam.

  1. Does your Italian program prepare for the PLIDA exam?

Our classes are not specifically designed to prepare for the PLIDA exam, however the language proficiency achieved by attending our lessons will help students in preparing for the exam. In addition, through Canvas, students can access a Module with samples of the PLIDA exam at each level to study on their own and prepare for the PLIDA exam.

  1. Do you offer private lessons?

We do not offer private lessons.  However, students can contact our language program staff about their availability for private tutoring independently of the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington .

  1. Are you affiliated with the Società Dante Alighieri in Rome?

Yes. The Dante Alighieri Society of Washington is one of the over 480 chapters located throughout the world. Each chapter operates independently of the others. The Dante Alighieri Society of Washington is also one of the more than 300 worldwide PLIDA Examination Centers.

  1. Have you ever offered in person classes? Are you planning to offer in person classes in the future?

Yes.  Our program started in 1984 with in person classes hosted at Seattle University as a self-sustaining autonomous program. We began offering online classes in response to the Covid pandemic in 2020. The response to the online classes has been overwhelmingly positive, so we are not currently planning a return to in person class.

  1. Is it possible to get college credits by attending your classes?

No. Our program is a non-credit program.

  1. Do you offer extra-curricular activities?

Yes, being a cultural center dedicated to the promotion of the Italian language and culture in the world, our students and instructors are highly encouraged to participate in the events organized by the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington.  In addition through Canvas pages and other means students are exposed to international event such as La Settimana della lingua italiana nel mondo, La Settimana della cucina Italia nel mondo 

and local events such as the Italian Mixer at Seattle Opera and Cinema Italian Style at SIFF of which the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington is a proud partner.

  1. 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.

  1. Do you offer an end of the quarter evaluation form?

Yes. In an effort to provide a high quality language program we ask students at the end of each quarter to complete an evaluation form about their class experience and the program in general in addition to periodical inquiries about their progress in the class.

  1. Do you offer summer courses and/or review section during the summer?

Normally not.  However, students who register in June to continue in the fall with the next level of Italian maintain access to their Canvas classes to review what has been covered during the school year and  take advantage of the supplementary material to keep up with Italian during summer break.

  1. Who do I need to contact for general questions about the program, Canvas, Zoom, withdrawal, teaching assignments, feedback, advice and/or placement?

Contact the Language Program Director, Giuseppe Tassone: