From the moment I first heard Italian, I was immediately fascinated with the language and knew that I wanted to learn it. Fast forward several years since my introduction to this romance language, and as with all things over time – if you don’t use it, you begin to lose it. While some phrases, vocabulary, verb conjugations, and grammar rules remained ingrained in my mind, my Italian language skills were far from where I wanted them to be.
Recently, I decided to resume my efforts in learning Italian. I’ve used language apps, self-paced online curriculums, virtual one-on-one language sessions, and in-person and online classroom sessions to support my efforts. Besides the cost, I considered several other factors to determine which option would work best for me.
With the announcement of Europe re-opening, you may be finalizing a trip to Italy and realize that there’s one more thing you want to do in preparation for your trip – learn the language. Here are the key things to consider when choosing the best option for learning Italian.
If your goal is to learn as much of the language as possible in a short time, but you’re not sure what you’ll need to know, then I would recommend in-person classroom sessions. If in-person classroom sessions are neither accessible nor available, then opt for online classroom sessions. The added benefit to a classroom session is interacting with someone other than your instructor; when you’re learning in a group, it can be a lot less intimidating and create a more relaxed atmosphere.
If you have an idea of what you want to focus on and prefer a more customized experience, virtual one-on-one sessions are the way to go. These are great if you have limited flexibility with your schedule and want to make the most out of the time you’ve reserved for learning Italian.
Have the luxury of time on your side? Then I would recommend a self-paced online curriculum. These curriculums are structured to keep you on track to achieve your goal, and because they’re self-paced, you can do as much or as little as you choose at your convenience. Some self-paced curriculums also include pre-recorded videos to accompany each lesson.
For on-demand learning, language apps are the answer. These are also inexpensive and great for expanding your vocabulary, working on grammar, and enhancing your listening skills while on-the-go.
Of course, there are a variety of other options available to develop your Italian skills. Podcasts keep things interesting, as the episodes are often centered around a theme or tell a story, providing an opportunity to learn more about Italian culture. Virtual or in-person language meetups provide an opportunity to connect with others and have conversations in Italian about anything. They offer a more relaxed environment and provide the perfect opportunity to practice what you’ve learned from your instructor-led sessions.
Once you’ve chosen the option that best suits your immediate needs, you’ll be ready to tackle your next decision – which resource to use for learning Italian. Although there are countless resources on the internet, here are some that I’ve personally used and recommend:
In-person/online classroom sessions:
JP Linguistics – Language school in NYC that currently offers online classes and is preparing to restart in-person classes
Scuola Leonardo Da Vinci – Language school in Italy that offers in-person and online classes
One-on-one virtual sessions: Preply
Self-paced online curriculum: Italy Made Easy (they also have podcasts and a YouTube channel)