I have been with VLLC since the middle of 2016 and chose to learn Italian because my daughter's paternal grandparents are Italian and in January 2016 we went to Italy to visit them as my daughter hadn’t seen them in 8 years. This was my first time to meet them! None of us could speak each other’s language but this didn’t get in the way of having a great time together. We used any means possible to communicate and Google translate came in pretty handy. I came away from our visit feeling that if we only had known how to speak Italian, our experience would have been so much richer and this is what motivates me to learn Italian.
I keep myself motivated by imagining talking with our Italian family without using a translation app! I have visited Italy only the once in 2016, but learning Italian has inspired me to return again, and soon. When I was in Italy, my favourite thing to do was sitting in a café and listening to the conversations around me. I also love going to the local supermarket and exploring the food and products that are used every day. I found it was a really great way to quickly learn the names of things.
As well as speaking to the Tutors at VLLC, I am going to practice Italian with the Nonni and talk to them over the phone. My advice to anyone wanting to learn a language is "Don't let your memories of high school language lessons (French in my case), put you off learning a new language".
I've been working with VLLC for almost 3 years and I love sharing stories about Italy with my students. Food is one of the things I miss the most about my home country, as you can see from these photos... I especially love a traditional Easter tart called "pastiera" (or "pastone" in some parts of Puglia), made of wheat and ricotta cheese.
During my last visit to Calabria, I have also tried some homemade "morzello" ("morzeddhu" in dialect). It is a meat soup that people eat in a special bread called "pitta", which is like a wheel shaped focaccia. Morzello used to be a peasant dish. These days it is part of the traditional Christmas Eve supper.
Here are some stories about VLLC' students and why they are learning a language