Italian lessons offered in the basement of Mugs in Fort Collins

What may look like a regular coffee shop on the first floor transforms into a classroom designed for Italian lessons, located in the basement of Mugs on the corner of South College Avenue and Olive Street.

Andrew Cangelose has been teaching Italian lessons in the basement of Mugs in Fort Collins for almost four years. He teaches one beginner class on Wednesdays, and one advanced class on Tuesdays, both held from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

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“I have been teaching Italian for years,” Cangelose said. “Academically, I’ve taught for two years at Trinity University and also at Texas A&M University for about 4 and 1/2 years.”

Cangelose said he began to teach in Fort Collins thanks to the persuasion and demand from some of his friends.

“Some of my friends in Fort Collins said to me one day, ‘Do you think you could teach Italian here?’ because they said they were very interested,” Cangelose said. “So I told them to give me at least five students to start off with and a place to teach, and then I would start teaching lessons and see how it goes.”

Cangelose hosts a total of three, 10-week sessions a year, held in spring, summer and fall.

“I’ve taught lessons on and off for the past few years, and I’ll continue to teach it as long as people will continue to attend and enjoy it,” Cangelose said. “The fun part is seeing what it may or may not evolve into, which is the creativity aspect of it all. I’ll like to see it change, morph and grow into something that I didn’t expect.”

Lynda Blake has been attending Cangelose’s Italian lessons since September 2012.

“I’m on a quest to improve my Italian,” Blake said. “I’ve lived in Lucca for three years, and got by pretty well, but my Italian is really bad for someone who’s lived there for that long. My goal is to be able to translate Italian documents in English.”

According to Blake, she has been to a total of five sessions and continues to come back due to Cangelose’s unique teaching style.

“He has a unique perspective about learning and teaching,” Blake said. “I’ve learned more with him than with any other of the experiences I’ve had studying Italian, including the teachers that I’ve had in Lucca. He made it so crystal clear to me and I couldn’t figure out why I was learning more here than I did in Lucca.”

Monica Young is also a student of Cangelose’s, and has been taking Italian lessons for two years.

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“In 2013, I signed up for a bike tour in Italy, so I wanted to learn a little bit of Italian before going over there,” Young said. “After the bike tour, I spent five days in Florence just roaming around, and the bit of Italian that I learned was very helpful then.”

Not only does Cangelose teach the Italian language itself, but according to Young, he teaches the students about the Italian culture.

“He teaches us about the culture; such as in Italy, you go to breakfast in a bar instead of a café,” Young said. “So he told us how you’re supposed to go in there and how you’re supposed to act, and he teaches us how the culture is like and how the procedures are.”

Pennie Nalezny also has been attending Cangelose’s Italian lessons since September 2012, and said she started taking the lessons because it was something different and new for her to try and experience.

“I always recommend to my friends that they should try this and start with the beginning class,” Nalezny said. “I think it’s just something good to do and expand your mind to do something that’s a little more challenging, and it’s always good to keep your mind active as you get older.”

For more information about the Italian lessons, contact Andrew Cangelose at 979-255-7794 or acangelose@gmail.com.

Collegian Reporter Amanda Thompson can be reached at news@collegian.com or @amanduhh3003.