Italy is rich in both culture and history. You are not alone if you’ve always dreamt of traveling to Italy. It is home to famous landmarks such as the Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the birthplace of delectable dishes like risotto and exquisite art pieces like the Mona Lisa.
Only a third of Italians speak English so learning to speak the language plays a big part in your ability to connect with the locals. Two or three phrases may be all you need if you plan to spend a few days in Rome.
However, if you are planning a more extended stay and would like to immerse yourself in Italian culture, learning to speak the language will make your experience all the more enriching.
Read on to explore your options to learn Italian before your trip.
Learn Italian for Travel
There are many benefits to learning Italian before your trip that will allow you to have a fuller experience.
Connecting with the Locals
One of the best things about Italy is its people, so it would be a shame if you couldn’t talk to them due to the language barrier. Italians are known for being amicable people who like to engage in public conversations.
Just imagine the things you could learn about cannoli and the bonds you could create if you knew how to speak Italian.
Understanding the Menu
If there’s anything to say about Italian food, it’s that it’s delicious, classy, and filled with character. However, how can you enjoy the food if you can’t read the menu? Sure, Bistecca Alla Fiorentina and Melanzane Alla Parmigiana sound delicious, but words can be deceiving.
Learning Italian for travel will equip you with the skills to navigate Italian menus like a champ and order food you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Appreciating Italian Art
You don’t always need words to appreciate art, but sometimes you still do. How can you enjoy the lines in a theatrical depiction of Francesca da Rimini or the lyrics of classic songs like “Funiculì Funiculà” if you don’t understand Italian?
While you can still appreciate the architecture, paintings, and sculptures, you won’t be able to fully immerse yourself in all mediums of Italian art if you don’t know the language.
How To Learn Italian for Your Trip to Italy
There are many ways of learning Italian for travel. Some methods allow you to learn just a few basic words, while some provide more thorough teaching, facilitating language proficiency.
#1 - Use Language Learning Apps
Language-learning apps are helpful if you want to learn simple Italian to engage in basic conversations.
For instance, Duo Lingo is a popular app that allows you to learn different languages, like Italian, in a fun and interactive way. Babbel is also a good option, with its award-winning Italian courses and rich selection of learning activities.
However, learning to speak a new language fluently takes time and consistency, and you are unlikely to achieve this by using an app.
#2 - Listen to Video Tutorials and Podcasts
You can learn from videos and audio recordings if you’re an audiovisual learner or have a busy schedule.
There are a plethora of tutorials on popular apps like Youtube and Spotify. In the U.S., 86% of internet users use YouTube to gain new information and skills.
However, the lessons you get from these apps and videos are pre-made, so the knowledge they impart is limited. Also, they won’t be able to give you a personal approach that best fits your current level.
#3 - Enroll in a Language Immersion Program
The best way to learn Italian for travel is by enrolling in a language immersion program. These programs offer theoretical and practical learning, allowing students to become fluent and use the language in real-world situations.
If you want an immersive program to help you attain fluency in Italian, Middlebury’s 7-week Immersion Program is one of the best-known language courses in the United States.
How Italian Is Taught at Middlebury
Here at Middlebury, we give our students an immersive experience that helps them learn Italian efficiently and effectively.
How It Works
Every summer, our dedicated faculty of over 300 teachers and students of all ages gather at our Language Schools.
The 7-week Italian Immersion Program includes four to five hours of classroom sessions every day. These are sandwiched by breakfast and lunch, where teachers and students alike are encouraged to interact and try out what they have learned.
The Language Pledge
To be fully immersed, students take the Language Pledge by which they commit to only speak, read and write in Italian for the duration of the program.
You will speak Italian from when you wake up until you go to bed at night. This level of discipline allows our students to acquire fluency in a matter of weeks.
Of course, there’s still fun and games. After class sessions, our students are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities such as cooking, soccer, hiking, music, calligraphy, and yoga.
Naturally, they still use Italian during these activities. This adds to the immersion and allows them to practice using the language under real-life conditions.
Don’t Be Just Another Tourist
If you want to be able to say more than just “un caffe per favore” during your next trip to Italy, Middlebury’s Italian Immersion Program is a great option.
Learn fast, connect with like-minded people and enjoy the experience of a lifetime.