You are here

Italian Classes

6 Apr 2017

A question I got asked a lot before I left for Italy was:

"Do you speak Italian?"

"No."

"Are the classes taught in Italian?" 

I took these questions well at first, I mean it was kind of confusing, but did people really think I would be able to take university level classes in a language I didn't know? Most of the time at Penn State I don't know what they heck the professor is saying, and at least they were speaking English. So to answer the question: If you go to IES Abroad Siena, the classes are taught in English (unless you are taking an Italian course, because duh, they're going to speak Italian to you." As for the classes themselves, the 12x12x12 programs classes were the reason I came to Siena, Italy. My courses consisted of Management: A study of farm to table management and wineries, Italian: Let's be honest I needed (and wanted) to be able to speak some Italian during my short time here, Economics of the E.U and it's agricultural policies, and History of the wine production in the Tuscany region. As a food and drink lover, someone who worked in a Farm to Table café back home, and a fan of history, this was a dream course load. So if like any of those things, and study business, this is the place for you.

The courses themselves were obviously going to be interesting to me, but I wasn't sure on how difficult they would be. I've heard some of my friends who studied abroad say that they classes were very easy and light in work so that you could go explore the culture, and that there was the true value and learning experience. I've also heard others say that the classes they took abroad were so difficult, very intense, and many people spent so much time studying and trying to keep their head above water, that they missed out on a lot of experiences. 

I can't speak for other IES Abroad programs, but the ones in Siena fit that first category. Not to say that the classes are a joke and you don't have to do anything for them, but the general vibe was go out and explore. Experience the things we say in the classroom, and it's hard to do that if you are stuck inside trying to understand management concepts, or trying to memorize that (Insert generic Italian name) developed a new process to combat evaporation of wine, and thus ward off oxidation of the wine. (If you don't know this, oxidation is bad for wine.) 

I appreciated this, and I think it's what should be true of all study abroad programs. I think students should be challenged, but the point of studying abroad is to learn skills that you can't learn in the classroom. From trying to navigate public transportation in a language you don't understand, to learning patience with people who don't understand you and cultural difference that you have to just accept.

Man sometimes these things can get so serious.

Ciao.

From Our Blogs

Feb 20 7:44am

How to Experience Barcelona as a Local

by Caroline Meza

How living as a local rather than a tourist has changed my experience and how to do it!

Learn more
Feb 19 5:47am

A Bean-throwing Day To Keep The Demons Away

by Payton

Sestubun is a widely celebrated event in Japan filled with beans and demons to prepare for the coming of spring! Find out how I spent this day with my host family.

Learn more
Feb 15 10:05am

Study Abroad Packing List for the Career-Minded Student

by Abby Baric

Add the following items to your suitcase before you study abroad to take full advantage of opportunities that come your way to advance your career.

Learn more
Feb 14 2:34pm

How to Practice Self-Care While Studying Abroad

by Victoria Bruick

We asked our IES Abroad Ambassadors what advice they have for self-care while abroad. Find out what they suggest and take time to figure out what loving yourself looks like for you.

Learn more
Feb 13 5:24pm

My Language Learning Tips

by Chen Yu

My semester in Morocco started with the intensive Darija (Moroccan Arabic) course.

Learn more
Feb 13 4:41pm

Alumni Advice: Being in a Relationship While Studying Abroad

by Victoria Bruick

Does “distance makes the heart grow fonder” or is it more accurate to say “out of sight, out of mind”? We asked our IES Abroad Ambassadors to share their advice on being in a relationship while studying abroad.

Learn more