Friday 17th November marked an important milestone for IH Milan and for Sieglinde and Claudio. 35 years in the language teaching sector and 20 as an affiliate of IH World; an occasion to celebrate and what better way to do it than to gather all together in the brand new school in Viale Brenta for a sumptuous buffet, fine wine and some reminiscing while also looking towards the future.
Claudio opened the evening, thanking everyone for coming and asking our young and talented architect Nicoletta Ferrari to “cut the ribbon” and officially open the new school.
Invitations had been sent out to old and new friends: employees, teachers, consultants, students and suppliers who have contributed to the growth of the school over the years and they turned up in large numbers. It was great to see old friends and colleagues again. A real “school reunion” that brought back many memories.
Sieglinde then traced the history of the school with a slideshow to accompany the story.
Claudio and Sieglinde founded today’s IH Milan as Centro Lingue Tradint in 1982 as a language school and translating agency. Sieglinde talked about their concerns in the early days: “would anyone come into the school?” “would it be a success?”. They had many doubts as neither had an entrepreneurial background, coming from completely different fields of expertise: Claudio a geologist, Sieglinde a translator. One of their first projects was to translate technical manuals for Apple and for that job the multinational from Cupertino lent them a computer: a real novelty at that time!
To their satisfaction Centro Lingue Tradint went from strength to strength and at the end of the 80s it joined Aisli, the Italian Association of Language Schools, and obtained official recognition as a language school from the Italian Ministry of Education.
In the 90s a new adventure began: we became first an Authorised Cambridge Test Centre and then a Platinum Centre, rewarding the effort put into promoting and offering Cambridge Exams.
In 1997 we joined the International House family; at the same time a new school was opened in the centre of Milan and we began to offer Italian and study abroad courses.
Throughout the 90s and until 2012 the school saw a boom, acquiring among its clients large companies and multinationals, and an executive centre in Piazza Diaz was opened, just a stone’s throw away from the Cathedral in the heart of Milan.
Over the years the schools in San Donato and Milan have moved premises several times, always expanding and offering our students more comfortable spaces that are ideal for studying languages.
In 2001 we organised our first conference for state school teachers which, year after year, has continued to grow in prestige, attracting renowned speakers in the world of language teaching and it is now a key event on the academic calendar.
Three years ago we undertook yet another adventure: IELTS, the test that assesses the English language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is the language used. The number of candidates taking the test in Milan has grown steadily and we now offer it at other locations outside Milan such as, from south to north Italy, Palermo, Latina, Pescara, Ancona, Jesi, Genoa, Brescia, Treviso and many other cities.
Today, following the crisis that struck in recent years, the type of client we have has changed; fewer companies and fewer adults who, instead, now invest more in their children; above all, we now work a lot more with state schools, in the training of teachers and in Cambridge and IELTS exams.
Kids in Milan and San Donato still continue to flock to the summer camp we organise for 5 weeks every summer where they do arts and crafts, put on shows for their parents and, in short, have great fun in English.
Running a language school is a challenge because there are so many human relationships involved: business executives, company employees and professionals, parents and children, school principals and teachers, kids and young adults, public authorities, staff and freelancers, examiners, Italian students and our teachers who arrive from all four corners of the world with their customs, traditions and needs.
We have always tried to put people first and we believe that on the whole we have succeeded in this aim. Human relationships are everything for a language school, the most difficult but also the most rewarding part of the job.
A great deal has been accomplished since the doors of the school opened that far-off day in 1982. The simple fact that we still exist is in itself a real accomplishment. We have survived times of crisis and we have had to radically change our business direction more than once. However, our work is far from over and we mean to continue this incredible journey we have been on for so many years with more dedication and passion than ever.