DITALS: The Italian language school Porta d'Oriente is officially recognized by the University for foreigners of Siena per stranieri di Siena as seat to obtain the Ditals Diploma to teach Italian as a foreign language.

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CILS: Certification of Italian as a foreign language

C.I.L.S. Certificate

   The Certification of Italian as a Foreign Language (CILS) is the official title that denotes the degree of linguistic competency of Italian as a foreign language. The CILS is awarded by the University of Siena for Foreigners and is recognised by the Italian State on the basis of an agreement with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

   Levels. The CILS covers four levels: ONE, TWO, THREE and FOUR. Each of these represents a progressively higher level of linguistic and communicative ability. Each CILS level is autonomous and complete: the certification for each level represents a degree of communicative ability which is adequate for specific social, professional and scholastic contexts.
   To obtain the Certificate in one of the four levels, it is necessary to pass an exam composed of five sections with tests in listening comprehension, reading comprehension, analyses of the structures of communication, writing skills and speaking skills.

   Applicants. All foreign citizens, Italian citizens residing abroad (descendants of Italian emigrants) and foreign immigrants in Italy may request to take the CILS exam. There are no age limits and applicants are not obliged to possess educational certificates or degrees, nor is it necessary to have obtained lower levels of the CILS in order to attempt the attainment of a higher level. The CILS exams are not bound to the study of specific methods or forms of Italian language courses. Each candidate can prepare for the CILS exams in the ways deemed most appropriate and suitable in accordance with the demands of the level.
   The CILS is useful to those who study Italian, who work and study within an Italian context, and to those who wish to measure their capacity in Italian. Each CILS level denotes an ability to communicate which may be used in different contexts and situations. The ability of each level of certification for foreigners who wish to undertake activities in relation with Italian institutions for professional or scholastic purposes is established in the document of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs entitled "Coordinated system of Certificates of Italian for Foreigners", Rome 1998. Level ONE denotes the ability to communicate in daily situations. Level TWO allows holders to enrol in Italian universities without the obligation of taking the pre-entry language proficiency test. Foreign students with a Level THREE or Level FOUR certificate may obtain extra points on University admission lists. At the University of Siena for Foreigners, the Level THREE is a requisite for enrolling in the Advanced Courses in Italian Language and Culture, Courses in Italian Language and Didactics for Teachers and Advanced Courses in Italian Literature and Art History. Level FOUR enables holders to enrol in the Advanced Course in Didactics for Teaching Italian to Foreigners and in the School of Specialisation in the Didactics of Italian as a Foreign Language. Level FOUR denotes the communication skills that a foreigner should possess in order to use the Italian language in the professional world. For example, it is the level necessary to teach Italian as an L2. Many Italian companies that work abroad or that wish to hire foreigners, or foreign companies that do business with Italy, require that their employees possess a CILS certificate, in accordance with the work they are required to perform. For example, Level TWO is accepted as the minimum level of competence required by the Italian Railway Company for employees involved in security.

   Exams and scores. All exams are produced and evaluated by the Certification Centre of the University of Siena for Foreigners on the basis of European standards set by the Council of Europe. Each of the five sections is worth 20 points, and in each section it is necessary to score at least 11 points. The highest total score possible is 100 points, and the lowest passing score is 55 points. Candidates must obtain at least the minimum score in each section to be awarded the CILS. If a candidate obtains the minimum score in only some sections, then the candidate may take subsequent exams in those sections in which he or she had not obtained the minimum score. The sections of the exam that have been passed are valid for one year from the date of the first exam.

   Sites and dates of the exams. Outside of Italy, the exam may be taken at Italian Institutes of Culture as well as at other selected venues. In Italy, the exam takes place at the University of Siena for Foreigners and in other selected sites (at the Centri Territoriali di Educazione Permanente in Tuscany and in other regions, at the Language Centres of certain universities, etc.). Our school is a selected site: that means that you can do the exam in Otranto. The CILS exams are scheduled twice a year, at the beginning of June and December, on the same day for all test sites.
   A fee is charged for sitting the exam.

The correspondence of the Italian Certifications to the Common European Framework for Modern Languages

  Università per Stranieri di Perugia Università per Stranieri di Siena Università degli Studi di Roma Tre Dante Alighieri
Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read. Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation. Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.
Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.
Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
CELI 2 CILS 1 - B1 ele.IT PLIDA B1
Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

Dates of CILS Exams (deadline for enrollment 40 days before)
first session: June, 7 2012
second session: December, 6 2012

Starting dates: every 2 weeks
Duration: 1 or more weeks;
Lessons: 25 hours per week
Dates and Prices

Italian culture course (B1/B2/C1/C2 level) courses for teachers of Italian
Italian language course Programme Erasmus Plus for foreign teachers
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  • Cynthia from California italian language schoolDear Barbara: I am back in California and I enjoyed seeing the beautiful images on the CD you gave me. Thank you! The memories of those special places are etched onto my soul. Thanks again to you and Angelo for being so gracious and hospitable. I truly mean it when I say that we are friends…read more >>
  • Sylke from Germany ...ora e esattamente un anno fa, che io ho fatto un corso d'Italiano nella Scuola Porta d'Oriente. Nella questa settimana ho imperato molto di nuovo sulla regione e in Italiano. E per le conversazione nelle lezioni ho potuto pratticare la conoscenza nuova. Nella nostra regione si deve cercare a lungo per queste lezioni…read more >>
  • Annie from France ...Nostro gruppo ha avuto un'insegnante particolarmente competente che ha tenuto un corso tanto interessanto e vivo. Con la tua contribuzione entusiastica e grazie alle visite, ho possuto discoprire una regione tanto bella e particolare che non conoscevo, e la cultura affascinante della Grecia Salentina…read more >>
  • Anna from Sweden I have had a wonderful summer, I got to know a lot of new people and got a lot of new friends. I was staying two more weeks in Italy before I went home to Sweden, I went to St Benedetto del Tronto, Verona and Venezia, but I must say that I liked Otranto and Salento much much better. Thank you Barbara for everything. It has been the best summer in my life!read more >>
  • Lorenza from Austria ...É stato molto bello da voi; colma di ricordi, che adesso vanno raccontati e saranno ben conservati. Il vostro entusiasmo per la vostra terra, la possibilità di avvicinarsi e aprirsi di più a questa grazie alle vostre spiegazioni e gite, la cordialità della gente, la luce e il caldo - tutte esperienze bellissime…read more >>
  • Carla, David and family from Boston italian language school...the experience unforgettable for people of all ages. Attending the Scuola Porta d'Oriente is the opportunity of a lifetime and the school has my highest recommendation on all counts. If you travel the world, you will not find a more enchanting place or…read more >>
  • Tina and Lionel fron London italian language schoolLionel and I loved the school because:
    - They have a nice, professional, dynamic team and they are very flexible, they can adapt their lessons to your needs.
    - They are located in Otranto, it's a beautiful, very interesting and incredibly rich in history part of Italy…read more >>
  • Kitty from Singapore ...Vorrei ringraziarvi per tutto. Mi sono divertita ad Otranto. Veramente, é un paese bellissimo. Non dimentico mai come ospitale la gente locale lì... Anche mi sono piaciute tantissimo l'escursione organizzate da voi. Eravate così appassionati e le spiegazioni erano chiare e interessanti. Adesso, so un po' di piú dell'italia…read more >>
  • Madeleine from Swiss Mi é piaciuto molto il mio soggiorno a Otranto, il tipo di scuola mi conviene perfettamente. Per quanto riguarda la qualità dell'insegnamento, l'ho trovata excellente. E importante per me, ringraziare le mie professoresse. Le loro competenze pedagogiche, la loro pazienza e il loro entusiasmo mi hanno permesso d'imparare velocemente…read more >>
  • Maryse et Sylvianne from Belgium Chère Barbara, Nous voici bien rentrées de vacances, un peu mélancoliques d'avoir dû abandonner l'Italie. Nous avons été enchantées des cours que tu nous a donnés et entretenons notre italien en lisant dans la langue: nous ne voulons pas perdre les bénéfices obtenus…read more >>


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