How Do I Choose the Best Italian Language Courses?

K. Testa

Choosing the best Italian language courses will depend on factors such as your personal learning style, the amount of time you have available to study, and your budget. In addition, you can often get reviews or advice from other people who have taken particular Italian language courses. Once you have assessed your personal situation and determined what types of programs are available, you can choose from several options, including exchange or immersion programs, local college classes, personal tutors, and self-study programs.

The University of Bologna in Italy is one of many Italian universities that offers an exchange student program.
The University of Bologna in Italy is one of many Italian universities that offers an exchange student program.

For people interested in experiencing the culture as well as learning the Italian language, traveling to Italy is probably the most effective method. You might choose to participate in an exchange program with a family or live on your own and enroll in Italian language classes at a local university. In many cases, these types of immersion programs can quickly help someone become proficient at speaking Italian.

If traveling abroad is not possible, you could take Italian language courses at a nearby university or community college instead. You should consult course guides for registration information and possible prerequisites. Usually, students have the option of taking credit or noncredit classes. Since these courses usually require a significant time commitment in order to attend classes and complete assignments, you will want to be sure that the program fits into your schedule. There are also private, for-profit language academies in some locations.

A related option is to hire a personal tutor who offers individualized Italian language courses. The tutor might be a native of Italy or just someone who has studied the language extensively and earned credentials for teaching. Choosing a tutor with such experience might be important if you want to take an actual course and learn proper grammar, as opposed to just meeting casually with a discussion partner.

If you have other commitments that prevent you from meeting with a tutor or attending Italian language courses in person, there still are options. Self-study programs are available, and standard options include online courses, books, and CDs. Alternatively, you may be able to schedule time with an online tutor, or to participate in a webinar or subscribe to a podcast.

Since some options are more expensive than others, your budget could be one of the deciding factors when choosing between Italian language courses. To help you decide, you could check with other people who've taken such classes to see what types of programs they consider effective. Often, you can also find online reviews of learning programs and self-study products, or you can talk to students who have taken courses at a local college or worked with a tutor.

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