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Your quarterly quota of expert insight and fresh thinking.. The business magazine for Suffolk and Cambridgeshire...

10th August 2016

{ A New European Cultural Centre at La Dante in Cambridge }


Cambridge City polled 73.8% to remain in the EU and yet overall the country voted to leave. Ex-Prime Minster, David Cameron, previously urged Britons to learn languages for greater global competitiveness;  now more than ever, there is a need in the UK to know European languages and cultures, to enhance understanding and appreciation of each other’s traditions and outlook. 


Do we really need to speak other languages? Well, would pointing at a menu give the thrill of being in another country? Imagine the pleased look of a waiter when you can order your favourite aperitif in Italian: uno spritz per favore or in Spanish: no hay guisantes o parika en mi paella por favor or the feeling of satisfaction at being able to express yourself in another language, whether on holiday or with work colleagues. 


Here at La Dante we have developed a unique method, giving people the chance to learn and live the language at the same time, a unique communicative approach with cultural exposure that accelerates learning.  One of our students, Uwe Beykuefner explains: ‘the course is interesting as well as informative, diversity of topics and the native teachers are very encouraging... I feel I am learning very fast.’


A Vision of Cultural Understanding


In 2005, Dott.ssa Giulia Portuese-Williams had the vision of a European Cultural Centre in the heart of Cambridge, and in 2007, together with Francine Rouanet-Democrat, in 2007 formed Cambridge’s first Italian and French Cultural Centre. Since then La Dante has evolved to become a real window onto Italian culture with cineclubs, evenings with homemade traditional food, concerts and art walks where even the stones speak Italian... a vibrant cultural immersion unique to Cambridge. As La Dante member Linda Lauzana comments, ‘What people love is this mix of language and culture. Our Radio Dante bilingual programme on gives authentic exposure to interviews, wine festivals, food recipes and traditions in a monthly programme offering all that’s Italian.’ 


In 2011 La Dante, under founder and director Dottssa. Giulia Portuese-Williams’ leadership, became a Bilingual Cultural Centre, introducing courses to help Italians to improve English  for work and study and making the centre a true bridge between both cultures. As the director comments: ‘Our long-cherished dream has been to create a European Cultural Centre in the heart of Cambridge where bilingual groups and those interested in European languages come, feel at home and learn a range of languages from Italian to Spanish to Swedish. This September, that dream becomes reality, as we start offering ‘Spanish for all’, for adults and children, business and study, with our dedicated team of Spanish teachers, highly-qualified mother-tongue teachers who shares our passion for transmitting learning and discovery through language.’


New courses, new discoveries at La Dante Cambridge

In addition to Spanish, in the near future we’ll be hosting bilingual groups from Greek to Polish, German to Hungarian under one roof in the heart of Cambridge, a city where students, professionals and retired people have always enjoyed daily interactions with other cultures as a matter of course.  The post-Brexit future has arrived. And it’s multilingual.   


To find out more visit Tel: 01223 315191 or email:


To enjoy learning Italian or Spanish, please come and see us during our Open Days in September: 2nd & 3rd as well as 9th, 10th and 11th. Meet the teachers and have a free cup of real Italian coffee!

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