Mi chiamo Rebecca e sto imparando a parlare italiano. My name is Rebecca and I am learning to speak Italian. Io sono americana. I am American. I am also third generation Italian without the slightest idea on how to translate or write that last personal fact in Italian, but I am confident I will learn!
The first time I remember hearing Italian spoken, I was 4 years old sitting at the feet of my great grandma Vincenzina while she sang Italian songs and told me stories that I neither understood nor would remember. I can still see her smiling face and remember the deep connection I felt to her as she spoke to me with such joy and love in Italian. This memory continues to play in my mind as I start each Italian lesson, very much like that child. A little bit nervous, curious to learn and hoping to connect to my family and Italy as an adult through the Italian language.
My ICAP instructor, Irene, is bright, patient and so encouraging that I feel as if I am making great strides at the conclusion of each lesson. Initially, I was worried about how long an hour might feel especially learning by immersion, but each lesson flies by and the conversation is easy and light-hearted. I cling to the cheat sheets she has shared with helpful phrases like “non ho capito” I do not understand and laugh whole heartedly at the Italian slang and Italian hand gestures she insists are just as important as the text I am trying to memorize. She is professional, flexible and I am very grateful for her positive encouragement.
If you are considering Italian lessons through ICAP, a few helpful logistical specifics below.
- You will need to create a Skype account. It is both easy and free to use.
- You will need a computer with audio and ideally a video camera. I was unsure of how all of this would work, but when you set-up your Skype account you will have the ability to test both audio and video. I recommend you test both prior to your first lesson.
- You will get to choose the day and time to meet weekly via Skype with your instructor, Irene. Your first chat will be a short one for a quick introduction and discussion about your interests, language skill level and which textbook to order.
- At her recommendation for the beginner level, I ordered the NEW Italian Espresso textbook w/ DVD via Amazon and it arrived within 1 week (allow extra time in case your text is not eligible for faster shipping). The textbook is in Italian and English and very easy to comprehend and use. The DVD is a wonderful bonus and has helped me to retain what I have learned in between lessons.
During the lessons we both try to primarily speak Italian, however, she is also fluent in English. We begin each lesson by reviewing the previous lesson’s material. We then listen to an audio example of the new material, discuss it and put it into practice by speaking to one another and completing an exercise or two in the textbook. She also assigns homework to complete prior to the next lesson. On average, this homework takes 10-30 minutes to complete.
Each lesson is a new adventure where I get to know more about Italy and my Italian heritage. Each lesson is a chance for me to be humbled by how much I do not know and a reminder to continue to celebrate the small steps I am making towards my goal of learning this new and beautiful language.
If you are thinking of trying the Italian lessons at the Italian Citizenship Assistance Program and would like to learn more, check out our website page ICAP Online Italian Language Lessons or contact us for more information.