‘Italian Study Vacations’ 7: How much progress will I make?

How much will your Italian improve during an Italian study vacation? Obviously, the answer will depend on many factors, but the most important one is the length of your course. The longer the course, the more you will improve.

If you take the 20-hour per week class, which is what we normally recommend, the minimum length course of one week will not make a vast difference to your level, though it’s an excellent way to begin and much better than nothing at all!

Many schools don’t offer one-week classes at all, perhaps because of the time necessary to settle in and get into the routine of studying. Madrelingua does, because we feel that it’s a good opportunity for clients to find out if learning Italian is really for them, as well as being a chance to get to know our school and how we operate.

But you’ll learn a lot more in two weeks than in one: after 40 hours of classes, we’d expect you to have improved around half a level.

A typical person will complete a level in four to six weeks, and there are six levels, so if you have a sabatical period or an extended period of vacation, you could soon be speaking Italian extremely well!

If you already know a language that is similar to Italian (French, Spanish, etc.), you will make much faster progress and so probably need just four weeks per level rather than five or six. If you have successfully learnt other foreign languages in the past, that will help too.

And generally, if you are a relaxed, out-going sort of person, who loves being part of the group and hanging out with new friends, you’ll get to the point when you can speak and understand Italian faster as a consequence.

Of course, not everyone has all (or any) of these advantages, but most people will get there in the end: foreign language learning is a natural thing that human brains do, and there’s no reason to imagine that yours should be any different!

In the next article in this series we’ll be looking at the role of homework in your Italian course.

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