9 Ways to Learn and Improve Your Italian
Italian is a complicated language, but it shouldn’t have to be an on-going struggle. Below we outlined some fun and useful ways to learn and improve your Italian language skills.
Although Italian is necessary if you plan on living here, it is a fun language to learn even if you only want to stay temporarily.
As you may know, in order to apply for Italian citizenship, a minimum of a B1 level certificate for the Italian language is necessary. To get an EC Permesso di soggiorno (European Community long-term permit of stay) one needs to demonstrate an A2 level of Italian (elementary level).
B1 level is sometimes referred to as pre-intermediate level and students must have the ability to carry out simple conversations on not very complex topics, understanding the main elements of a speech.
The two exams which are internationally recognized are the CELI or the CILS. CELI is the certificate issued by the Unversità per stranieri di Perugia and CILS is the certificate issued by Unversità per stranieri di Siena.
Level B1 – pre-intermediate – according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is equivalent to level CELI 2 and level CILS B1.
Both exams are divided in five sections: reading, writing, listening, grammar and speaking.
CELI- certificato di lingua Italiana. There are three sessions for the CELI exam: March, June and November. You can take the CELI exam in an exam center near you.
CILS – certificato di Italiano come lingua straniero . The CILS exams take place a two to three times a year, simultaneously all over the world.
In Italy, they take place at the University of Siena and other affiliated locations.
Abroad, exams take place at some affiliated centers and Italian Cultural Institutes. Find the office nearest you.
With both exams, you must take the exam on the official dates at affiliated exam centers and each exam has specific deadlines in which to complete it. For example, if you pass all sections except for one, you can recuperate that section within a specified period. Refer to the individual exam guidelines for dates and deadlines.
Although the exams are given at official testing centers, you can prepare for the exam as you please. Taking a course with the University course books and practice exams is the best training, but it is not mandatory.
In Milan, there are courses offered by public and religious institutions as well as private schools and tutors offering lessons. Online, there are thousands of courses, YouTube channels and apps to learn from.
We have selected some of the best resources for learning Italian both for in-person learning and online.
The Milan Municipality has created a website called italianostranieri.org with a listing of over 150 schools offering Italian lessons to foreigners. Using their map and price filter you can find schools offering free courses. The schools offering free courses usually only offer A1 or A2 certificate courses, anything above elementary levels require payment.
With this website you can also find more advanced courses, evening courses or private lessons.
Every province has a center for adult education, Centro Provinciale di Istruzione per Adulti.
The Milan CPIA has several different centers, but you can find a CPIA in almost any area. The best way to find a center near you is to Google “CPIA” + the name of the province you live in.
In addition to language courses for foreigners, CPIA also offers art, history and even science and mathematics courses. These courses are great for students who have already passed the advanced language exams and would like to expand their cultural and general knowledge.
Easy Milano, the online publication for expats living in Italy has a classified section with a directory dedicated to Italian lessons, tutors and language exchanges. Easy Milano helps expats in Milan make connections, network and learn with locals, but also online courses, webinars and video meetings can be arranged with students overseas – a great way to start learning Italian before moving to Italy! Place a free ad if you are looking for an Italian teacher or language exchange. If you are a professional teacher or language school contact us and we can help you promote your Italian language courses in Milan and get the word out to our readers!
A project supported by the European Commission, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the public radio and television network RAI hosts an infinite library of cultural films, documentaries, and educational programs. In addition to entertainment, there is an entire section dedicated to the Italian language. Italiano.rai.it was designed for foreigners who would like to improve their knowledge of the Italian language, and for teachers, to have access to multimedia teaching support materials. It’s an excellent way to learn about everything from the Italian Constitution to proper punctuation to learning about Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio and other literary icons.
With Rocket Italian the online learning platform, you get conversational right away by learning the most useful Italian first. Online courses start from $150 usd but you can try for free. Take a free trial and get lots of sample lessons, exclusive discounts, and more.
If you plan on doing all 3 levels – from elementary to advanced, there is a 6-month payment plan of just $29.99 a month. You can take your time learning at your own pace and enjoy a fun experience while you’re learning Italian.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation promotes Italian culture around the world and supports a network of professionals and initiatives involved with cultural promotion. It is supervised by a number of offices under the Directorate General for Cultural and Economic Promotion and Innovation.
Working with Italian embassies and consulates throughout the globe as well as educational and cultural institutions, Italiana fosters projects promoting Italian culture and language. Their online magazine and directory of Italian cultural resources is invaluable.
There are thousands of YouTube channels for language learning, but Lucrezia is a real treat! She’s a young Italian woman who vlogs and narrates her daily life in ‘slow’ Italian for language students. She also offers grammar and vocabulary lessons.
The best way to learn Italian is to take a course, any kind of course. Join a gym, do yoga, learn woodworking, ceramics or drawing. Finding like-minded people with similar interests and hobbies is a great way to learn a language. Having something in common gives you a starting point for conversation and you will find it easier to communicate.
Become a volunteer or mentor. International networking groups and non-profits such as Humans in Progress, the Benvenuto Club, British Chamber of Commerce, the American Chamber of Commerce, The Professional Women’s Network and Women’s Society Italia are great places to meet professionals from different cultures. Learn more about clubs and associations here.
Fall in love
Amore, tesoro, dolcezza, bellissima, innamorato… Italian is known for its lilting, rhythmic words. It is no surprise that it is considered to be one of the world’s most romantic languages. You will learn quickly when your heart is in it!
These are just a few of the resources we use to learn and improve our Italian, if you have others, let us know below in comments!
Article by C. Abernethy for Easy Milano
Easy Milano is the online publication for the international community of Milan. We offer practical tips, key information and essential insights about living and working in Italy. Easy Milano has been assisting English speaking expats in Milan since 1999.
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