Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Speaking Italian

I have been out of school now for one month. It seems like it was so long ago, as these days without school blend one into the other, and I never even really know what day it is. School had been a way to meet people, learn the language, and provide some structure to my days. It proved to be a successful tool for all of these things.

I learned more at school than how to speak Italian. I mingled with many other cultures and had the opportunity to talk (in Italian) to the students about their countries and cultures (Japan, China, Korea, Spain, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Mexico, Portugal, etc). Most of the people at my school were much younger, but to my surprise, in a land where there are 16,000 American students, only 3 other Americans showed up in my classes over the 6 months. As it seems, most Americans just aren’t interested in learning another language (or at least not Italian).

The 6 months were packed with information, the courses were in 2 week blocks and accelerated to a speed that I could not keep up with, so I repeated some of the courses several times. This turned out to be very beneficial, although a blow to the ego, I must say. The month since I have been out of school, the language has started to come together in my mind. Many of the conjugations that were mixed and jumbled in my confused little brain, are finding order there, and starting to make sense. At the oddest times when having a conversation, just before I start to panic, the word that I am looking for swims its way to the top and appears on the blackboard of my mind. I have gained confidence, and knowledge (with the help of my Italian speaking boyfriend)

People ask me regularly now if I am “fluent”. Well, I don’t know what the official definition of “fluent” is, but for me, the meaning has definitely changed. I will say that I speak Italian, but I am not “fluent” yet. I am so proud that I accomplished this goal, and can speak Italian. For me the language is beautiful, musical, lyrical, and mesmerizing. It is something that I will cherish and practice and hold onto all of my days.

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