Want to learn to speak Italian? You have the following options:
- use a self-study course or similar resources
- join an evening class, or similar, in your home town
- take an Italian study vacation
- come to Italy for reasons other than doing a course, and hope you’ll just pick up the language
Any of these could be the right choice for you, and of course, it’s important that the way you choose to study suits your preferences and priorities.
However, if you want to reach a good level in a foreign language, you’re going to have to do a fair amount of work, and the more hours of study you manage, the faster your progress will be.
A study vacation will allow you to dedicate your time to learning, at least for a week or two. The progress that you might make in months of evening classes could be achieved in just a few weeks if you study more intensively.
What’s more, if you take evening classes at home, chances are you’ll be in a class with other people who share your mother tongue. It can feel unnatural to practise speaking Italian with classmates who you will speak your own language with before and after the class. That’s definitely not a problem with an Italian study vacation, where your classmates will be from different countries and so the “lingua franca” will be Italian.
Making friends, with whom you will comunicate only in the language you are studying, is one of the greatest benefits of taking a course abroad. Another one is the chance to fit in sight-seeing and gastronomy after your classes and at the weekend.
In short an Italian course in Italy is the ideal way to accelerate your learning, make new friends, and have an enjoyable (and different) vacation.
In the next article in this series we’ll be looking at how much an Italian study vacation will cost you.
Matthew Schuler says
Or you can do ALL of them. In the last three and a half years I have: taken a first semester class in Italian at the local university, worked my way through the rest of the book on my own, checking my answers and pronunciation with my teacher (private lessons), worked through 100 Pimsleur CD lessons 5 or 6 times, watched over 50 Italian movies first with subtitles on, then off, listened to Italian pop music, Italian Radio and watched Italian TV, translated my website into Italian, had lunch often with an native Italian graduate student to practice speaking (buying a hungry student lunch is cheaper than lessons!), watched Italian cartoons on Youtube with subtitles, emailed and instant messaged with my Italian pen pal, read one children’s book, one book for teens and working on my second novel for adults…..AND attended Madrelingua TWICE for two weeks each. Daniel is absolutely right: all that other stuff is great, but NOTHING accelerated my speaking and comprehension as much as those two visits to Madrelingua! The teachers are wonderful, and create a safe and fun learning environment. You won’t believe how much you will improve and how quickly, especially if you stay with an Italian family and commit to speaking only Italian while you are there. I can’t recommend this program enough! I can’t wait to return!
Very kind, Matthew. And great to hear you’re still so enthusiastic about learning Italian! It can be hard to keep the motivation up over time.