Informazioni pratiche per la comunità USI

Italian language courses - FAQ

Frequently asked question about the Italian language courses offered by USI.

 

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  • Eligibility

    Am I eligible to take Italian language courses at USI Università della Svizzera italiana?

    The optional Italian Language courses offered free of charge every semester are open to fully matriculated USI students or USI professionals only.

    The personal data of every single online enrollment is verified in Università della Svizzera italiana’s database.

     

    Are family members admitted?

    As class size is an important factor in language learning it isn’t possible to admit family members, friends or students studying in other higher Institutions.

     

    How much does a course cost?

    The cost of the intensive and semester-time language courses is included in the Università della Svizzera italiana’s tuition fees. The semester fee has to be paid before the start of the language course.

    The courses are free for staff.

     

    I am a SUPSI student / SUPSI professional. Can I attend USI’s Italian language courses?

    SUPSI students/staff may attend on a fee-paying basis provided that places are available. Contact your Department Director and/or your Departmental Secretary.

    SUPSI SEMP students should contact [email protected].

     

    I am a student/professional of another Swiss University. Can I attend USI's language courses?

    Priority will be given to USI students/staff. Students/staff of other Swiss Universities may attend on a fee-paying basis provided that places are available. Contact [email protected]

  • Accommodation

    Am I guaranteed accommodation?

    No, USI cannot guarantee housing. It’s your own responsibility to find an accommodation. We advise to start searching for a room several months before arriving.

     

     

  • Course fees and USI credentials

    I am registered with USI. How much does a course cost?

    The cost of the pre-semester intensive courses and the semester-time language courses is included in the Università della Svizzera italiana’s tuition fees. The semester fee has to be paid before the start of the intensive language course. The courses are free for staff.

     

    What happens if I don’t pay the tuition fee before the start of the Italian language course?

    You will not be able to take the free of charge language course if you don’t pay the semester fee in advance since you need the university credentials to access the material.

     

    When do I receive the account of the university?

    You will receive the USI account a few days before the start of the free of charge language course if you have payed the semester university fee.

     

    I am a student/professional of another Swiss University. Can I attend USI's language courses?

    Priority will be given to USI students/staff. Students/staff of other Swiss Universities may attend on a fee-paying basis provided that places are available. Contact [email protected] for further information.

     

    I'm not registered with USI nor any other Swiss University. May I take language courses free of charge?

    No. External users may enroll in fee-based courses only, see Courses for external users.

  • iCorsi and SWITCH edu-ID

    What is iCorsi? 

    iCorsi is USI’s eLearning platform. iCorsi allows lecturers and students to manage, share and access teaching materials, to carry out anti-plagiarism checks using the Turnitin software, to manage communication between lecturers and students, and to create and conduct online examinations.

     

    What is a SWITCH edu-ID and why do I need it? 

    The edu-ID digital identity is managed for the entire Swiss academic community by SWITCH, the foundation that provides IT services to all the Swiss universities. As the general objective of Università della Svizzera italiana is to achieve environmental responsibility, the course material is available in digital versions in iCorsi3. The edu-ID digital identity allows access to the iCorsi e-learning platform. Create a personal SWITCH edu-ID account using your USI account and link it to the Università della Svizzera italiana before the start of the course.

  • Language level and placement test

    How can I determine what my language level is?

    You should register for a course only if your language skills match the level of the course concerned.

    To determine your language proficiency, use the Self-assessment Grid of the European Language Portfolio.

    In addition, use the Placement test and read the entry requirements listed in the course descriptions carefully before enrolling.

    The USI Administration reserves the right to cancel your enrollment if your language skills differ from those listed in the course description if the corresponding level is fully booked or not offered.

     

    Is the placement test mandatory at higher levels?

    Yes, it is mandatory. As all higher level classes, A1.2-B2.2, require knowledge of material covered in lower levels, a definitive decision about admission can be taken only after the in-person entrance test organized the first day of the course.

    This is a one hour test, and includes grammar exercises and, for some levels, a short listening comprehension, a writing task, a reading comprehension and an oral examination.

    The lecturer will send you to the correct level if offered, attendance is however possible only in case of free places.

     

    Should I study for the placement test?

    Yes, we strongly encourage you to review all the grammar topics listed in the prerequisites for each level even though you passed the final exam of the previous level.

     

    When am I exempted from assessment testing?

    All students who passed the exam at the lower level 60 hours intensive course held before the start of each semester are exempted from assessment testing and are automatically admitted in the higher level semester-time course. All other students have to take the assessment test even after successful completion of the final exam of the previous semester-time course.

     

    Can I change classes if the level I originally chose is not the right level for me?

    Yes, provided that levels and places are available.

     

  • Course registration

    Is course registration mandatory?

    Yes, for the good organization of the course, registration is mandatory at the following link: https://www.desk.usi.ch/it/corsi-di-lingua-e-certificazioni

     

    Can I transfer/move the registration from one level to the other?

    No, once the registration is submitted, it's not possible to change it. Before applying, please consult the Self-assessment grid carefully.

     

    When is the enrolment deadline?

    In order to guarantee all interested students a place on the course and to avoid unnecessary waiting lists, you should register only if you are seriously interested in attending at least 75% of the course. Online enrolment is, in general, possible up to two weeks before the start date of the course but a course may be full at an earlier time. We therefore advise you to register as soon as you are convinced that you want to attend the course.

     

    How do I register?

    Registration is online: https://www.desk.usi.ch/it/corsi-di-lingua-e-certificazioni

    The registration form can also be found in the description of each course (click on the title of the course) or, at the bottom of the pages of each language offered. The steps are 3:

    1. Select the Campus (Lugano or Mendrisio);
    2. Select the semester (autumn or spring);
    3. Select the course modality (intensive pre-semester or semester-time).

    Enrolments are accepted on a first-come first-served basis. You may request to be placed on a waiting list if the class is full.

     

    With which account can I register online?

    If you have an USI account, always sign-up with it. Register with your private email address only if you don't have a University account yet since you are a new student.

     

    Where can I find the description of each course?

    Click on the title of each course to view the description.

     

    The course schedule is not convenient for me, can I register for a higher level even though my language skills don’t match?

    No, register for a course only if your language skills match the level of the course concerned. The USI Administration reserves the right to cancel your enrollment if your language skills differ from those listed in the course description.

     

    I don’t know my schedule yet, can I register for more than one time slot?

    No, for the good quality of the course just select one time slot for the interested level.

     

    I am undecided between two intensive courses in two different languages, for instance French or German. Can I enrol in both courses and decide later which one to attend?

    No, in order to ensure optimal course organisation, guarantee all interested students a place in a course and avoid unnecessary waiting lists, it is not possible to enrol on several courses offered at the same time.

     

    If I attend the pre-semester intensive course and passed successfully the final exam, am I automatically enrolled in the next level offered during the semester?

    No, enrolment is not automatic. In order to ensure optimal organisation of the course, enrolment in the next level is necessary for Italian, German and French courses.

     

    When is the detailed confirmation of enrolment email sent?

    The online registration enrols participants automatically. A detailed informative email confirming the enrolment will be sent a few days before the beginning of the chosen course.

  • Withdrawal

    What is the last day to withdraw?

    For the course planning, accurate data on the number of participants is very important. In case of unexpected withdrawal, it is the responsibility of the candidate to inform the administration before the start of the course by writing to [email protected]. Withdrawals are no longer possible the week immediately preceding the start of the courses, both intensive and semester-time. Last minute withdrawals in respect of intensive courses should be avoided since many activities are organised together with class-hours.

     

    When is the admission in the Italian language courses denied?

    Withdrawals must be notified to [email protected] as soon as possible since other students may be waiting for a place to become free. All students who don’t attend the first class meeting in which the assessment test is organised, will automatically be dropped from the course and prevented from attending Italian language courses in the following semester, unless there are free places available.

  • Minimum and maximum number of participantes

    What happens if too few registrations are received for a particular course?

    A minimum number of participants for each course is required to go ahead. If too few people have registered, the course will be cancelled.

     

    What happens if too many registrations are received for a particular course?

    The maximum number of participants per Italian language course is 25. Once this figure is reached, we start a waiting list. If a place on the course becomes available, the next person in line is contacted via email. Therefore it is particularly important that you register only if seriously interested and deregister from a module as soon as you realise you cannot attend it.

     

    What happens if enrolled students don't come to class?

    The Modern languages Laboratory reserves the right to cancel courses at short notice if enrollment numbers are too low. If the number of participants drops significantly, the Language Center may merge parallel courses even thogh the schedule is different.

     

    What happens if I don’t get a place?

    If you don’t get a place on a course, you can try again in a later semester.

  • Course attendance

    Is there an attendance policy?

    Yes, class registers are checked on a daily basis, and any absences are noted by the lecturer. You are expected to be regular and punctual in class attendance and to fully participate in the course once admitted. In order to benefit fully from the course, 100% attendance is recommended. You are responsible for completing homework and autonomous activities outside class hours every day/week. You are responsible for communicating attendance issues with your lecturers via email with as much notice as possible and to catch up independently. The minimum attendance requirement is at least 75% of the number of classes held in the academic session.

     

    Participation

    Active and constructive participation is the basic prerequisite for your individual learning success and for the success of our courses for all participants. This includes independent preparation and follow-up of the course meetings as well as regular and punctual attendance.

    Regular active participation is a prerequisite for admission to the final exam and for the issue of a certificate. Please notice that the maximum absence is the 25%.

     

    What should I do if I can't attend class?

    If you're unable to attend one of the classes due to an unexpected event, such as illness, always email your teacher.

     

    How are the classes conducted?

    1. Intensive pre-semester courses: 60 hrs of mandatory in-person lectures and at least 20 hrs self-study.
    2. Semester-time courses: 28 hrs of mandatory in-person lectures and at least 40 hrs self-study.

     

    What happens if I miss the first class?

    Signing up for a course requires commitment for the full course. If you fail to attend the first class of the course and do not email your reason for not attending at least two weeks before the course starts, your name will be removed from the attendance list without notice to make space for those on the waiting list. You will be prevented of attending language courses the following semester.

     

    Late arrival due to unexpected problems.

    Since the entrance test is compulsory, students have to ensure early arrival in order to take the course starting from the first week. Exceptionally a new examination date may be scheduled for those students who experience delays in their arrival plans due to unexpected problems. Late arrivals must be notified as soon as possible. The latest possible access in the classes is however the 1st of October in Autumn semesters and 1st of March in Spring semesters.

     

    What is the minimum attendance? What happens if I miss a class/how many lessons can I miss?

    Attendance is mandatory and the minimum attendance required to sit the end-of-course test is 75% of the course. You are automatically excluded from the course if you miss more than 2 consecutives semester-time classes or 2 consecutive intensive course days. To attend at least 75% of the course students can miss a maximum of 3 lessons in a semester-time course.

     

    Is it possible to attend half the course, for instance one week instead of two weeks intensive course, or once every second week semester-time course, or one hour instead of two hours?

    For the good quality of the course, attending 50% of a course is not allowed.

    Enrol online only if you can attend more than 75% of the course.

    It’s not possible to join the course after the programme starts either.

     

    Is it possible to attend two different grammar levels in the same semester, for instance A2.1 and A2.2?

    No, for the good quality of the course attending two different grammar levels in the same semester is not allowed. Only apply to the appropriate level.

     

    Is it possible to attend the Italian Grammar course and the Conversation course in the same semester?

    Yes, you are allowed to attend the “Grammar course” and the corresponding level of the “Speaking course” during the same semester to improve both abilities.

     

    How many times can I attend the same course / level?

    In the event of availability, the same level can be attended several times. For the good quality of the course, priority is however given to all students who have never attended the course before.

     

    Classroom disruptions

    The Language Learning Center reserves the right to exclude participants who disturb the class.

     

  • Homework

    Is homework mandatory?

    Pre-semester intensive courses:

    Yes, the 60 hrs classroom activities are complemented by at least 20 hrs asynchronous self-study. Consider approximately 1,5 hour of out-of-class work per day.

    Semester-time courses:

    Yes, the 28 hrs classroom activities are complemented by at least 40 hrs asynchronous self-study. Consider approximately 3 hours of out-of-class work per week.

  • Personal Electronic Device

    Will I need to take my Personal Electronic Device (PED) to class every day/week?

    Yes, all USI candidates must bring their own laptop or tablet to class in order to access the learning materials in iCorsi3. As there are only a few power outlets in the classroom, remember to charge your computer before coming to class.

     

     

  • End-of-semester exam

    Is registration for the final test needed from A1.1 until B1.2 level?

    No, when you sign up for a Language class from A1.1 until B1.2 level, you are automatically signed up for the end-of-semester exam for that semester.

     

    Is registration for the final test needed from B2.2 level?

    For the B2.2 level final exam of the German and the French language courses, online registration is needed at the following link: esami.lu.usi.ch. Access to the platform is through your edu-ID.

    For the B2.2 level final exam of the Italian language course, you are automatically signed up for the end-of-semester exam for that semester.

     

    Success in the exam.

    The examination tests the four skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. To pass the exam candidates need to achieve a minimum of 60% in grammar and a minimum average of 60% in the four skills tested.

     

    Is the final exam mandatory?

    The results of the final test are strictly informative (pass or fail) and give the chance to the teaching staff to recommend subsequent courses. You don’t have to take the final exam if you are feeling unprepared since you can take the assessment test for the next level in the following semester instead, but you won’t get the course completion certificate. Remember to inform the teacher if you don’t wish to sit the end-of-course test.

     

    When does the end-of-semester exam take place?

    The final exam schedule is published in iCorsi. Normally it takes place in week 12 or 13 of the running semester. This is a two hours test divided into 4 abilities, and includes a short listening comprehension, grammar exercises, a writing task, a reading comprehension and an oral examination.

    Level B2.2 exam on the other hand takes place during the exams sessions (January, June and September).

     

    Do I have to take all the abilities of the written final test?

    Yes, it is imperative to take all the parts of the written final test to get the certificate of attendance and the ECTS points.

     

    Is it imperative to take the final exam in person?

    Yes, unless the course is online, it is imperative to be present at USI during the exam session.

    Remember to bring your Personal Electronic Device (PED). As there are only a few power outlets in the classroom, remember to charge your computer before coming to class.

     

     

  • ECTS credit points and certificate of attendance

    Am I awarded credit points for the Italian language course?

    Italian language courses usually do not count towards a degree at USI Università della Svizzera italiana.

    Exceptions:

    1. Swiss-European Mobility Programme students (SEMP) and International Exchange students will be awarded 2 ECTS credit points after successful completion of the Italian language course (60 hrs course or 28+28 hrs course) in the Academic Year 2023-2024; starting from the Academic Year 2024-2025 Swiss-European Mobility Programme students (SEMP) and International Exchange students will be awarded 3 ECTS credit points after successful completion of the Italian language course (60 hrs course or 28+28 hrs course);
    2. Faculty of Biomedical Sciences students of the Master in Cognitive psychology in health communication will receive 2 ECTS Credit points after successful completion of the language course (60 hrs course or 28+28 hrs course). Any extra module will be awarded 2 ECTS as Extra-credits; starting from Academic Year 2024-2025 the students of the Master in Cognitive psychology in health communication will receive 3 ECTS Credit points after successful completion of the language course (60 hrs course or 28+28 hrs course). Any extra module will be awarded 3 ECTS as Extra-credits.

    At USI all examinations on official courses are graded on the 1 to 10 scale. For language courses the evaluation is however expressed by a binary system (Pass or Fail).

    For further information: ECTS USI Language courses

     

    What does "successful completion of the course" mean?

    1. 75% attendance of the in-person course;
    2. Successfully passing of the final exam.

     

    Do I get a certificate of attendance at the end of the course?

    Yes. You are entitled to sit the end-of-course test if you attend at least 75% of the course . If you pass the final test you obtain a course completion certificate. The attendance certificate will state your name, the level of the course and the total number of hours of the chosen level but not the assessment scores, the grades or the percentage average achieved in the final exam since language courses do not count towards a degree at USI.

     

  • In-person language learning

    What does “in person learning” mean?

    In person learning is the instructional interaction that occurs “in person” and in real time between teachers and students in the classroom of the Campus.

     

    Why are the Italian language courses offered “in person”?

    In person learning allows you to interact with other students and with your lecturers. The best way to learn a language is through a combination of face to face instruction and asynchronous learning activities using the e-learning iCorsi3 platform.

     

    Does the University offer online Italian language courses?

    USI offer online Italian language courses to IOR and IRB researchers and staff of Bellinzona Campus, only. Online courses require a high-speed Internet Service Provider, a PC with Fast Processor, a webcam and a microphone.

    The online learning process is normally accelerated and requires commitment on the student’s part. Staying up with the class and completing all work on time is very important. Once a participant gets behind, it is almost impossible to catch up.

     

    May I join the course online even though the course is advertised as “in-person learning”?

    No, for the good quality of the course, blended language learning is not offered.

     

    Are language courses recorded?

    No, for didactic reasons the courses are not recorded.

     

    May I exceptionally request a synchronous remote session via Microsoft Teams if I’m ill?

    No, a synchronous remote session via Microsoft Teams could be requested in case of health problems and isolation during the pandemic, now not anymore.

  • Tandem language learning

    The Modern languages laboratory, USI's Language centre

    Modern languages laboratory

    About us

     

     

    What does “Tandem language learning” or “Language exchange” mean?

    “Tandem language learning” is a method of language learning based on mutual language exchange between tandem partners, where each learner is a native speaker in the language the other person wants to improve.

     

    Add a post to find a language exchange partner

    Add a post here www.desk.usi.ch/en/language-tandems

     

     

Aggiornato al: 29 luglio 2023