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I want to make the best of my time in Italy and was wondering if it is better to do formal studies here in my country first, and then come there immediately after…

domandaThis is a rather common dilemma among language students before applying for a course at our school, I dare say. It is undisputed that learning a foreign language in your own country and learning a foreign language where the language is spoken is quite different as you can imagine.

Generally speaking, when you take language classes in your own country you normally attend them twice or thrice a week, you do not have much time for your studies, even though your learning can proceed slowly but steadily. Reading short stories or news articles, listening to Italian songs as well as watching tv or videos on the net can turn out to be extremely fruitful. However, you will always lack of the language practice, unless you have Italian friends hanging around you.

Actually, students who have reached an intermediate level of knowledge of a foreign language (what we call B1 or B2) and who live in their country have often the feeling of not advancing in their studies. I think that this is mainly due to the fact that they are not in the country where the language is spoken, and therefore they are not taking advantage of a language full immersion, which is mostly given by constantly interacting with native speakers (in shops, restaurants, cinemas, schools, in the street and so on).

That is why I would suggest language students should come to Italy when they feel they are confident enough with their language abilities. This does not mean that they have to master all the grammar or that they must be able to read an entire novel in Italian, but that they think they have acquired the main language instruments to go on and “conquer” the language.

Motivation is very important in this case and also what you expect to learn. There are students who want to concentrate on communication skills for working reasons, other ones who prefer to develop writing skills or comprehend literary texts. So eventually, I would say thay it is up to each single student to decide when it is the best time to come over, brush up his or her Italian and start sharpening the language skills.

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