What do you enjoy most about Italian?
I enjoy the opportunity to gain an in-depth insight into a different culture, and the ability to communicate and connect with people that I may not have met without learning Italian. I’ve found that learning Italian has cultivated a deeper appreciation for other cultures, arts and traditions in me; and has helped me gain perspective on those I’m accustomed to as well.
When did you first start enjoying and feeling connected to learning Italian?
Italian quickly became my favourite subject at the beginning of Year 7, because I found the learning to be really engaging and fun, while also helping me to see patterns in language structures, and to learn a lot of knowledge about Italian cultural norms and life.
What’s your favourite part about learning Italian?
I think that my favourite part about learning Italian is the vocabulary and grammar, because, although it sounds boring, it’s one of the best areas of a language to focus on if you want to improve your fluency and understanding. Your progress becomes evident when you read, watch TV or listen to music in Italian, which you may not have understood as well just a few weeks or months ago.
How has learning Italian been different this year, without the trip to Italy?
I think that, although the Italian cultural trip is an amazing experience for students to gain a deeper, more personal understanding of Italian life, the school curriculum still provides students with the chance to learn about different aspects of Italian culture; just without the opportunity to experience it firsthand.
What’s the thing you’ve learnt in Italian that has always stayed with you? What’s been a key part of your learning in Italian?
The most important lesson I’ve learnt in Italian is that you can never fully fathom your abilities until you put them to the test. This became evident to me during my exchange to Italy, as well as when I sat the Italian TASC exams last year. I think that we often have the tendency to both overestimate and underestimate what we are capable of, and putting ourselves to the challenge is the most efficacious way to reveal our strengths and weaknesses in actuality.
What is your favourite Italian item e.g. food, drink, a place, a designer, historical location?
I think that one of my favourite places that I’ve visited in Italy, that a lot of people may not have heard of, is Malcesine; which is a little lakeside town in the Province of Verona. I visited Malcesine during the Christmas season, and the atmosphere was very eclectic: on the surface it looked exactly how you would picture a quintessential Italian village during the summertime, but the city centre was decorated like a winter wonderland; with Christmas markets, a Ferris wheel and hanging lights and ornaments. Although I was only there for a short amount of time, it was like being immersed in a scene from a book or movie; and still remains one of my favourite parts of my trip to Italy.
Do you want to study Italian further and explore this as a career path? If yes, what will be your main focus?
I would like to continue studying Italian beyond school, although I’m uncertain about what career path I’d like to pursue. I do think, however, that having experience with a language provides a myriad of opportunities; both in regard to using the language itself and applicable skills that are developed while studying languages.
What would be your dream Italian experience or job?
My dream Italian experience would probably be to study at university in Italy, as I think the best way to gain a proper understanding of another culture is to fully immerse yourself in the lifestyle; and experience it for yourself. This kind of experience would also benefit my understanding and communication unlike any class or trip could.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome while studying Italian?
The biggest challenge I’ve overcome while studying Italian was when I went on exchange to Italy at the end of Year 9, as being exposed to the language and culture through every aspect of daily life is completely different to the atmosphere of an average class. This experience, however, assisted me in improving my ability to understand and respond to spoken Italian; and gave me a profound insight into the Italian culture.
What advice would you give to other aspiring language students?
I think that in Italian, as with any subject, your capability and knowledge is matched by the amount of incentive and effort that you put into it. Applying yourself in class if you wish to continue studying Italian in the following years is not only immensely important; but immensely beneficial. Once you have a solid understanding of the basics taught in years seven and eight, almost everything else comes just as easy.