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Overcoming the Language Barrier

Overcoming the Language Barrier

Moving to Milan brings excitement but also the challenge of adapting to a new language environment. This guide aims to provide insights and recommendations for those recently arrived in Milan and dealing with the initial challenge of the well-known language barrier. 

Language Learning Resources in Milan

Even though Milan is an international city, there are many cases when you might find that the person on the other side of the conversation doesn’t speak English. It’s something common in Italy, so it’s important to recognize that knowing some Italian can be helpful. The following language-learning resources can offer you the necessary skills to know how to deal with everyday situations in Italy.


One of the best ways to learn Italian is the widely-used language learning app, Duolingo. This interactive platform offers an engaging and user-friendly way of learning a new language, making the process both enjoyable and practical. From basic vocabulary and grammar to more advanced language skills, Duolingo caters to various proficiency levels, so you can either start from scratch or continue from your current level. Some of the themes that Duolingo offers include greetings, introductions, family, hobbies, buying things or ordering, and many other practical topics ready to be discovered. Each topic is designed to cover essential concepts and everyday scenarios, making it the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the speaking practice feature. Practise your pronunciation on the app and build on confidence before real-time interactions.

Incorporating Duolingo into your language-learning journey not only improves your proficiency but also transforms the process into a fun and rewarding experience. So why wait? Start your language learning journey by downloading Duolingo here on App Store or Google Play.

Language Exchange Meetings

Photo by Elevate

Language exchange is a big thing in Milan. It provides a valuable opportunity to connect with locals and fellow expats, to exchange languages, cultures, and experiences. Connect with Italians who want to improve their English proficiency and practise your Italian in return.

In addition to traditional face-to-face language exchanges, many groups also offer virtual meetings, which provide flexibility to join and practise your skills from anywhere. Participants usually also develop friendships or professional connections through these meetings, so you can get a two-in-deal! Start searching for language exchange meetings on our events page, or on websites like Meetup and Eventbrite. This approach not only accelerates language learning, but you can also become part of a supportive community, which eases the challenges of adapting to a new linguistic and cultural environment.

Italian Classes

Based on your budget and learning preferences, there are different types of language classes that you can take in Milan.

For those looking for affordable options, the Municipality of Milan offers Italian courses for various proficiency levels, from A1 to C2 level. These courses are available in both weekly and bi-weekly formats and can be taken either online or offline, accommodating various schedules and preferences. With prices starting at just €109 for a course of 60 hours, what better value for money is there? Upon completion, you can choose to finish your course with an exam to achieve a CILS (Certification of Italian as a Foreign Language). For more detailed information and to explore the course options, visit the official website of the Municipality of Milan here.

For those who prefer a more personalised approach to language learning, Italian lessons with private tutors are a great option. You can receive one-on-one instructions tailored to your specific needs and learning style. Whether you’re looking for online or offline classes, You can find Italian native speakers teachers offering affordable rates here.

For those with a higher budget and ready to take your Italian proficiency to the final level, enrolling in a language school may be the ideal choice. There are various language schools in Milan, offering Italian courses from beginner to advanced levels, designed to meet the needs of the students at all levels. To explore the various range of language schools located throughout Milan, click here.

As you can see, Milan provides many opportunities for learning Italian, but it’s essential to keep in mind that the most important element to learning the language is practising it. Go out to immerse yourself in real-life situations and practise everything you learned. Take every opportunity you can to engage with locals and you’ll be talking like a native Italian in no time.

Watch the video to get insights and recommendations from a local expat:

Article by Alexandra Ciunca for Easy Milano

Featured image by COD Newsroom

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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