Have you made up your mind about your destination? The best accommodation deals are being booked fast, don’t let anyone keep ahead!

I want to find a house NOW!

Why learn Italian: advantages of being good at it.

Hi guys!

When my university gave me a grant to go to Bologna for a year on Erasmus, they also told me that to secure the grant, I had to have an A2 level in Italian before 20th June, otherwise I wouldn't receive the money.

This procedure of demanding the language as a requirement to obtain the grant isn't common in many universities in Spain, and although at the beginning you think, "oh god, what a pain, now I have to find a course, in the middle of exam period, etc" and all that laziness, I think that, in my case, I couldn't be more grateful that they had asked me for a minimum level before going.

Why? Well because, although it was a hassle having to find somewhere to do an Italian course (at least the university organised the exam and it's free), organising my time in the exam period in May/June and with other commitments, going with a basic level really helped me in my stay in Bologna.

And, despite what many people think, Italian is not the same as Spanish for obvious reasons. Similar? Yes. Could you understand it? Yes. But if you want to survive at the university where you need a good level, and take advantage of the academic year, believe me (especially if you're studying Humanities and you're going to have to study complicated texts) and do a beginners course before going.



What I did was an A1 course through a Language Service at my university, and I did the A2 course on my own using a book. In addition, I had a few private classes (I think around five) with an Italian couple, to practice pronunciation and to become a bit more fluent when speaking: with all that, I passed the exam in June with flying colours.

On the other hand, if you don't want to spend money on a course, or if you've already done one and you want to learn some specific vocabulary or simply for pleasure, or to learn more, there are many options:

- There are many videos and entire channels on YouTube specially dedicated to learning Italian, as well as free online study material.

- In terms of the practical side which you can access on your phone, there's Duolingo for example. It's a free application to learn languages, and I learnt a lot of vocabulary and grammar through it (I recommend it much more than "Babbel", which is another application, but they have so many adverts). You can use it on your phone or on your computer: https://www.duolingo.com/


- Listening to songs and reading the lyrics in Italian, translating only the words you don't know (it's better to do that rather than translating the whole song directly into Spanish if you want to learn).

- Watching series or films in Italian with subtitles in Italian.

There are so many options to learn Italian and I would really recommend going to Italy with a basic level of the language (an A2 is easy to study and it doesn't take that much time). Honestly, for me, knowing a little Italian came as a blessing and it gave me so many advantages, as I will explain here:

1. Knowing Italian gives you the chance to meet actual Italian people, as if you don't speak that well, you'll have a broken conversation and communication between you won't be the best... In my case, being in a residence where 98% of the people are Italian, it was wonderful for me. If you're in a flat, do the simplest thing and meet a group of Italian people (I'm sure you will) as it will help you to communicate slightly better.

2. The first point gives you the opportunity to adapt to the new culture and the city you're in, and not live in it from a "foreigner's" perspective.

3. I spoke about having an A2 level, which is quite low, because in Italy you're going to learn Italian, but you'll notice the difference in knowing the basic rules before going, you'll learn much more and more quickly. If you don't know anything, it'll be much more difficult. In addition, Italian is the fastest language to learn by immersing yourself, in other words, living in this language. If you also have a basic knowledge of the language, it'll only be quicker for you!

4. I don't know if you've forgotten but all your notes, classes and everything will be in Italian so if you've got a base, it'll be much better because you'll learn more quickly. As I said before, this is especially important if you're studying Humanities. Also, if you want to go to a seminar or something, you'll feel more relaxed.

In my case, it was useful in my first semester because I had a "trilingual" workshop at the university, as one of the French teachers was giving it. She spoke half in French and half in English, and a girl translated the parts in French into Italian. Wow! Doesn't your head hurt from just reading that?

In addition, I did a B2 course in English with the Italian people from my residence, and all the terms were obviously translated from English to Italian, and my head felt like it was going to explode...


5. Something which I don't know if it's an advantage, because I wouldn't like to use my Italian for this, but in the end I had to use it, unfortunately, to be able to understand and also respond to Italian guys who get all cocky. I say "cocky" because I don't want to write anything worse. They think that because you're Spanish, you're going to put up with it or you're not going to understand what they say to you. It happened to me many times, and when they say something to me, either quietly, or when they think I don't understand, I quickly turn around and respond to them in Italian. Once, this guy turned round and started laughing because he didn't care what I was saying to him (there are all kinds of people in the world), the others just stood there to see what I was saying and to see what I had understand, and they felt embarrassed and didn't say anything else.

6. Another advantage is avoiding being tricked when you go somewhere, and they think you don't understand, and they want to jump the queue.

7. This last advantage I didn't have to put into practice, luckily. But if in any case you had to ask for help or help somebody, knowing Italian will make it a lot easier.

Anyway, after this talk, I hope it has helped and has given you the desire to want to learn this beautiful language, it was really fun for me. Until next time!


P. S. Is it obvious that I love Italian?

And as you know, if you have any suggestions of topics to talk about in new articles, you can send me a message on Erasmusu or leave a comment on Facebook or on this post.

Lots of love, see you!

Photo gallery

Content available in other languages

Share your Erasmus Experience in Bologna!

If you know Bologna as native, traveler or as exchange student... share your opinion on Bologna! Rate different characteristics and share your experience.

Add experience →

Comments (0 comments)

Don’t have an account? Sign up.

Wait a moment, please

Run hamsters! Run!