Alessio F. Bona

My name is Alessio and I was born in Monza (Milan, Italy) in 1984. (Yes, I am the German Tutor, and no, I am not German… more about this in the F.A.Q.s)

I studied foreign languages and linguistics at the university in Italy and in France, but I soon stopped attending language classes, because they seemed to me like a waste of time. I started learning languages on my own and I noticed that it went way faster, and (more important) it was more fun and motivating.

After learning English, French and Spanish, I moved to Berlin  in 2009 because I wanted to study sociology at the Humboldt University. They required a high proficiency level in German language in order to accept my application, so I had to learn it really fast. It took me less than one year to attain the requirements, but believe me: it was barely sufficient to follow the classes at the university.

Today German is my favourite language and it has become my job to help other people learn this complex but beautiful and powerful tongue.

How did it happen? Well, it all started with some friends asking me for advice. They wanted to learn languages on their own, but weren’t prepared to do it. Then more and more people started to ask for help, because they were unsatisfied with language classes, but felt they had no alternatives.

I was working at the university at that time, following a tutorship-program for foreign students. There I met many smart and talented people from all over the word. Most of them had this same problem: They wasted enormous amounts of time on language courses but felt unprepared to learn on their own.

This was enough. I felt it was the time to do something.

I revised all my experience, all my old knowledge of linguistics and language learning, and suggested to a couple of friends to give it a try: I followed them as a tutor for some months (for free, of course). At the same time I started reading more intensively about the theory of language learning and of German grammar, and I started developing new methods to explain grammar and to train language skills.

When I felt ready, I begun accepting paying students. At first I only tutored Italians, because this is my mother tongue and I felt a spontaneous bond with them. After some months I started to give lessons in other languages, too.

Years later, here I am: I tutor and teach in Italian, French, Spanish, English and German. I give workshops at the Humboldt University for students who want to learn advanced syntax, and I am the co-founder of Smart Deutsch.

I feel it’s only the beginning. There is a revolution happening: Every day more people start learning new languages, and many of them won’t attend language classes. Language classes are part of the past, it’s time to find new ways.

In my blog I share reflections and techniques to give others the opportunity to test them and to help me improve them. There is also an Italian version of it.