I am finally answering a question I received about language school (I’m sorry I didn’t respond to this sooner). Here is what I was asked in a previous comment:
“Language school, is that a fun thing for you? Or is that something of a chore?”
Yes and yes. J
I have always enjoyed learning words and phrases in other languages; I find it fascinating. Anyone I know who is not American can probably testify that I ask, “How do you say _____ in your language?” In High School, I took 3 years of Spanish and thoroughly enjoyed it. I also took one year of Biblical Greek as a Bible major at Masters, and although this was a time consuming and difficult language to learn, I loved it! When I came to Italy for a week in November 2005 (which by the way, it was 2 years ago now that God began directing my heart toward Italy!), I tried to learn as many Italian phrases as I could. I was the official language person in our group – it was my job to learn the basic phrases that we might need. So fun! My favorite phrase from that week was “mi piace” which means “I like it.”
I studied a little Italian before I came to Italy in September. I did not learn a lot because it was during my senior year of college; between school and being an RA, the Italian language was not high on the list of priorities. Since I have come to Italy though, those informal Italian lessons with Cristina (from my Italian Fellowship Group)have proved invaluable. I came here knowing how to say my name, age, ask “how are you?” and the responses, and a few other random words and phrases. She also taught us the pronunciation of the letters, which has been incredibly helpful! I seriously would have had a much more difficult time without that foundation. Something that helped me with this is the way we memorized verses in Italian. Even though I did not understand all of the words, I learned how to pronounce them.
That is a history of my language background. Now on to my language class in particular. Sometimes it is very fun and enjoyable, but I would have to be honest and say it is usually a chore. The class is taught by way of total immersion – the professor only speaks Italian. I find learning a language this way very hard. I remember the first day of class – I felt so stupid and clueless. I left knowing I had class on Thursday, and I was just hoping I understood correctly what the homework assignment was. I could not communicate to anyone in my class, because they were all from foreign countries. I have felt all along like I am at a disadvantage. The majority of the other students speak either French, Spanish, or Portuguese, which are all similar to Italian. Also, most of them had arrived in Italy before me, so they already knew more than me. And I think most of them have Italian roommates and classes at the university (in Italian) … so all in all, they are way ahead of me! This makes class very difficult, because my classmates all seem to understand what the professor is saying all of the time, and I don’t!
I really like the Italian language and I am really enjoying learning it. There are many times though when I just get frustrated because I feel like I am not progressing. I feel like I’m not immersed in Italian enough to really learn it – I’m around English too much. But, God gives me little glimmers of hope amidst the fog of darkness which envelops me at times.