Columbia College Journalism Student Interviews Sentieri

The Italian language attracts many people and the number of students who study Italian is currently growing.  Italian is seen as a fun, a musical, and a beautiful language and students jump right into it without the slightest idea of what lies ahead of them.

In an article about learning Italian, Columbia College journalism student Gaia Zol writes that many English speakers face big challenges when studying Italian due to the Latin roots and various rules and exceptions.  Many will result to memorizing or even attempt at translating from another Romance language.  Whichever method, they delay your progress to learn Italian (or any language for that matter).   These methods also lead to a myriad of errors, miscommunication, and frustration.   Italian may be a difficult language to learn but it is far from impossible.

As English speakers learning Italian, we come across various difficulties with this one-of-a-kind Romance language.  From the overwhelming grammar rules to the fast-paced listening comprehension exercises, we all struggle and make mistakes leading us to question why we ever picked up Italian in the first place.  Zol reached out to Sentieri Italiani’s director Eric Rader in an interview on how to learn Italian and how to overcome these struggles.  Rader states “To be able to speak requires additional patience and practice.”  It is important to take the time and really understand the language and learn from your mistakes.  Rader emphasizes the importance of mistakes in this interview, “When learning a new language, mistakes are unavoidable. Mistakes don’t make you a bad student, just a better speaker.”  There are many ways to practice Italian beyond the classroom such as reading Italian news articles and even watching films in Italian.  Just remember, Rome was not built in a day, so take all the time you need to fully learn Italian.

As these frigid temperatures keep us indoors, it is easy for us to simply use online language learning programs right in the comfort of our own home.  These programs serve to be quite useful for people.  But before you head out to the store, consider the advantages of taking long term classes.  Rader explains to Zol in the interview the importance of long term classes: “long term classes allow students to gradually start using the various structures of Italian correctly.”  More importantly, he adds that “semester long classes will ensure the learning of conversational skills and how to appropriately use various vocabulary words and phrases in conversations.”  These long term classes not only help students remember what they learn, they help students gain an idea of the Italian mentality – a feature that is not available with online programs.

If you are struggling to learn Italian on you own, you’re in luck!   Sentieri Italiani offers long term classes right here in Chicago.   Sign up for classes this spring and you will see yourself speaking Italian more than ever before.


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