First-time Italy Volunteer LeAnn describes a day in a summer English language program in Monopoli. Join now! 2019 is the last year for Global Volunteers in Italy.
Our language “camp” began today in the breathtaking setting of the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. Rita brought her students to meet us for a field trip, so they could practice English in an ‘old world’ setting. We began with a group photo at the fountain. Then we proceeded on a lively tour of Monopoli. We visited the historical centre of the city to the church of the Madonna Della Madia. There were many conversations with everyone chatting excitedly as we meandered through the streets – conversational English at its best.
On the steps of the Duomo, we listened intently to a presentation in English by one of the students on the history of the Cathedral of the Virgin, and the significance of the Icon arriving at the port. Inside, we quietly touched a piece the actual wooden raft carrying the Madonna, who was ornately displayed on the High Altar. It was a wonderful way to help the students express their interest using English adjectives.
When we returned to the street, Mary complemented one of the boys about how well he sang in yesterday’s class. He replied by joking around and singing “skin a ma rinky dink”. The relaxed atmosphere was an excellent forum, and the students seemed to open up and participate in the discussions. We felt it was a positive experience even for those who did more listening than speaking.
We chatted as we strolled down the sun-lit street, passing other churches and storefronts until reaching the beautiful shore at Porta Vecchia. This was the “Old Port” which was the door to the city, and a point of interest for further discussion. This seemed to be a popular area for sunbathers, and, the students told us it was very busy during the summer months. One of the students gave a presentation in front of the castle of Charles V- “Castello Carlo Cinque”.
We stopped and talked to children and families who were out for a walk. That led to more conversation about family life and career options. The students seemed eager to share with us their hopes and dreams for “adult lives.” It occupied so much of our time that I hardly realized we had once again arrived back at the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, where our field trip began.
After a wonderful lunch at the Piazza Garibaldi -and warding off the pigeons – my partner and I had an exceptionally good tutoring sessions with our adult students in the afternoon. Now, this is my idea of a properly balanced “summer camp!”
I ended the day with my first swim in the Adriatic sea – La dolce vita!