Delicious food, fine wines and an impressive history including some of the most famous artists and inventors who’ve ever lived, make Italy a superb choice for a holiday destination – or even a place to live and work. But before you pack your bags and guide books, it might be a good idea to learn the local language. Whether you’ve had a lifelong desire to visit Rome or want to further your academic or career options, there are plenty of good reasons to learn Italian.
Italy is a major European economic force with a population just over 70 million. So it comes as no surprise that those who choose to study Italian - alongside their major at university - can often increase their earning potential as well as open more opportunities within their career. With global markets constantly expanding, learning the native tongue of your clients and business partners makes perfect sense.
Beyond the typical business environment, careers in government or diplomacy also offer unique opportunities for bilingual employees to help bridge cultural differences and establish long lasting international relationships. Mutual understanding and respect between nations ranks high on political agendas today.
For art, film or literary buffs, learning Italian would open a whole new depth of appreciation and understanding into some of the most famous works ever created. Imagine being able to fully grasp the true emotion and content of your favorite opera, or being able to understand Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ in its original poetic form. Those who love Italian films would be able to experience their favorite movies without having to rush through reading subtitles. Though translations are good, they can never quite convey the connotations or cultural influences that are brought alive through native language.
In more practical terms, learning Italian before a holiday will make your visit far more memorable. Ordering in restaurants, asking for directions and recommendations for things to see, are only possible with knowledge of the local language. Most of the tourist information centers may speak English but they will never tell you about the hidden gems of Italy in the way that local residents can.
If you have relatives from Italy, then learning Italian would allow you to not only hold conversations with them, but also to trace your family tree when reading through public records. In fact, learning Italian can greatly improve your ability to research any topic.
Perhaps the most important reasons for learning any foreign language are self improvement and a sense of accomplishment. The first time you can pick up a menu and understand the contents in Italian or understand conversations while on your visit to Italy will leave you with a sense of satisfaction that your efforts have produced results.
Learning a foreign language can seem daunting at first, but with patience and persistence you will soon be well on your way to opening a whole new world of opportunities.