My Italian after 1.5 years

Last Friday was my last Italian lesson. Since I was attending classes in a public school, coincidentally, it was also the last day of school for the kids. And you could sense the festive mood in the air with the kids cheering and screaming happily while throwing water bombs and flour and whatnots at each other. That reminds me of my orientation days back in Secondary and Pre-University days.

But in any case, I’m grateful for how far I’ve been in learning the language. Here in Italy, there are subsidized Italian language lessons for foreigners with Permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay) where you attend about 40 hours of lessons, from November to June, usually in a public school. It costs very little, so far I’ve only paid 10 euro per term.

It might not be as professional as say, the Dante Alighieri language school, but lets face it, being on a single income, with the mortgage eating up most of Cart’s income, we cannot afford it for now. And I’m looking forward to getting a job here. Seems tough though, the certifications that I’ve attained are not recognized here and I’ve got a sense that jobs requiring English speakers seem to favour those from UK, USA, Canada and Australia only.

Seriously, doesn’t anyone in Rome want a hot and sexeh blogger who is teh awesum at photography and video editing?

But getting back to the point! Compared to last year, when I just started my lessons, it was so awkward! I couldn’t even ask the teacher anything. Since I didn’t know much Italian and she couldn’t speak English herself, I was stressed out because even asking required a basic level of Italian like, “I don’t understand what you are talking about”, or “Can you please explain again, slowly?”

Needless to say, I was feeling so unmotivated that I felt ill when it was time to go to Italian classes.

But in due time, its getting better. Apart from my lessons, I try to do revisions on my own, supplement with Italian podcasts, and force myself to watch shows in Italian every now and then. Its so easy to slip when watching cable tv that allows you to switch languages.

And so far, I can read simple books now and could make out newspaper headers if the words are not too bombastic. And I could chit chat with my classmates comfortably. I feel pleasantly surprised that now I could make out words of some of the photos that I took last year which used to be meaningless to me.

Of course, I still have got a long way to go to speaking confidently with an Italian. Just last week I was in my exercise class, and they started to ask about something and it frustrated me because I could have explained to them but it was hard for me to explain in Italian. And just recently I’m starting to take motorcycle lessons at the driving center. Half of the time, I don’t see the big picture even if I could make out bits and pieces of the jigsaw puzzle.

After one and a half year, I’m still not all that great in speaking Italian. But in the end, I think its just a matter of time. But still, if only I could magically snap my fingers or install italian.exe directly into my brain. That would be cool

6 Replies to “My Italian after 1.5 years”

  1. My classmates in my first dutch class were foreign spouses (both genders). Most of them desperately needed to stay employed to qualify for their temp residence permit, so they missed classes all the time – either they cant take leave (afternoon class) or they r busy searching for jobs. Quite often I was the only one n I think the teacher was just as demoralized. It’s 1,5hrs per week n a total of 72hrs per year, costing 90 euro. This is inclusive a farewell day trip to the city. It was a treat to see Amsterdam, pigging out at the chinese restaurant n taking in a boat tour n a circus show (from China).

    There r better dutch classes at Open Uni but we couldnt afford the 1000’s of euro’s. Mortgage was also a millstone around our necks !

    I knew that my dutch will never be 100% proficient, so I did the next best thing – take any temp jobs that requires basic dutch, to fill up my track record in my resumé. Any experience gained here is an added advantage. It took me 5 long years to find a permanent job. I was so nervous that I would tripped over my dutch during the interview, but it turns out the company needed help with english while dealing with an international clientele. Dutch n English r spoken in the office n my dutch has improved over the years. Outside the office, everything’s in dutch n I automatically think in dutch. I actually hv to think hard when I translate my dutch thoughts into english – LOL !

    U will get to where u wanna be, eventually. Do u hv temp agencies there to facilitate as a stepping stone ?

  2. Yikes, I’m sorry that a lot of your classmates had to skip classes. It sounds lovely though, that you get a trip of the city inclusive of food and and bout tour and circus show! I dont think there is any equivalent here!

    90 euro doesn’t seem so much for 72 hours of lessons by itself.

    What kind of jobs did you take up, Dutchie? So far here, the most that I see is jobs like babysitting, taking care of the elderly and such. And even then sometimes I see these people having preference for UK / USA / Canada / Australia and that makes me really upset and angry. What? Only people coming from here knows English? Idiots.

    You are lucky for getting a permanent job. 5 years is a long wait, so I guess I’ll remember your situation and try to be more patient!

  3. The temp agencies offered mainly work in factories – packaging food. I was never given the office jobs due to my limited dutch vocab. Nevertheless, chatting away with my co-workers did helped with the lingo. The main thing is to be among folks who speaks the lingo n u hv the opportunity to practice with them on a daily basis !

    I’m glad to be back in the office again. Apart from being criticized for doing a job beneath my capability (as if I had the choice !) from friends n family, the non-stop assembly line is physically very demanding plus the horrid cold (13C) in work stations. The agency has the last laugh bec they get to keep 1/3 of our day wage …. n they hv the monopoly to supply the whole workforce to the factories. This process allows the factory to down-size staff during low season without being entangled with the laws that forbids firing an employee without probable cause.

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