Italy is a place I truly adore to visit, it’s staggeringly beautiful, and, amongst other things, is home to some of my favourite dishes and foods. We (Rob and I) are regular visitors to Genoa (Genova), Savona and Albisola whenever I can get time off work!

Embarrassingly though, my shyness means I rely on Rob to do all the talking; any question directed my way by a native speaker will be met with a blank stare and instant internal panic. My Italian language skills stretch little further than “Ciao” and “Vino rosso, per favore”.

Next year we hope to take some extended time out to tour France and Italy much further. We’re hoping to see Nice, Cannes, Venice, Florence, Rome, Milan to name but a few. Therefore, my ability to say hello and order alcohol is only going to get me so far (drunk).

At school I did relatively OK in most subjects… apart from French, at which I was absolutely abysmal. Language is something I consider myself to be awful at, I have just never been able to grasp the basics of retaining the construct of different vocabulary, sentence structures and grammar. My brain just doesn’t seem to want to work that way.

Nonetheless, I’m going to give learning Italian a go!

For a few months (actually mainly during my endless hours of cardio) I’d been listening to Italian Youtube videos, some “learn Italian” Soundcloud playlists and also using the Duolingo language learning app.

I came to the conclusion though, that nothing was going to beat real life interaction. So I managed to track down an Italian beginners course locally and signed myself up.

I’m not a compete stranger to education – I am currently studying for my diploma and in recent years I’ve completed NVQs and attended numerous management, marketing and web dev courses. However with this type of learning I felt completely out of my depth and so nervous.

My first lesson

The first lesson I really did not know what to expect but when I arrived I was pleased to see there was a mixed bag of students in my group too; ranging from girls the same age as myself, to pensioners, to some older gents who work in sales. Some students, much like myself, were planning a big tour, whilst others needed some Italian lingo in their day-to-day jobs.

It’s comforting to be among those with a similar level of skill too! Being around like minded people seems to have made the process a lot easier, especially as you don’t feel so daft when you’re not the only one making mistakes. My fears allayed and thankfully, my first lesson went really well, hurrah!

I definitely think there is something to be said about classroom learning and the support network it provides. Whilst the learning language apps, and podcasts helped me get a grounding in some vocabulary I wasn’t getting the fluidity of conversation.

Hopefully, I will do an update in a few months time, until then…


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