Advanced Italian I

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Course Information
Terms offered: 
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 

Students typically will have completed 4 semesters of Italian and will have met the completion of IES Abroad’s Emerging Independent outcomes, determined by placement test. 

Additional student cost: 



The aim of this course is to provide students with a deeper and more detailed knowledge of spoken and written Italian. The course will focus on intensive oral work, reading and writing exercises based on literary prose texts, newspaper articles, authentic listening and reading materials. Literary texts and readings will widen vocabulary, reinforce grammatical topics and introduce topics for conversation. The course will introduce advanced grammatical structures and more complex vocabulary, through activities on word derivation.

Student Profile:
Students who enter this level are able to accomplish everyday needs required to live in a new culture.  In this course, students will begin to develop independence and autonomy so that, when communication does break down, they have some tools at their disposal to resolve these challenges independently.  Students should welcome correction and guidance from their instructors, hosts, and others in the community as they progress.

By the end of this course, students will begin to converse at a rate of speed approaching normal conversation. They will start to become creative, spontaneous, and self-reliant as they solve problems, interpret texts, negotiate, and express their opinions, likes, and dislikes in the culture. Although students will still make errors and experience communication breakdowns, they are sometimes able to resolve these on their own. Students will understand some colloquial expressions and slang, and are starting to understand a wider variety of native speakers from different backgrounds.

By the end of this level, students will be capable of achieving the learning outcomes outlined below.

Attendance policy: 

Regular class attendance is mandatory. Students are expected to attend classes each day.

IES Abroad Milano allows a maximum of TWO excused absences per course, to be used for emergencies related to health, family, religion. Each further absence will automatically result in a penalty of 2 point off (2/100) on the final grade. Please note that this rule does not apply to exams: failure to attend your midterm and/or final exam will automatically result in an F grade on that paper/exam. SEVEN absences per course will result in a failing grade (2 excused absences included). Furthermore, absence on the date of scheduled tests, presentations or quizzes does not entitle to recover/reschedule such tests. If using absences for travel, students must be aware that they may remain with no excusable absence in case of illness.

Learning outcomes: 
Students who are placed in this level should be capable of achieving the outcomes in the Emerging Independent Abroad level as defined by the IES Abroad MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication.   By the end of the course, students will be able to achieve some of the outcomes for the Independent Abroad level as defined by the MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication. The key learning outcomes from the MAP are summarized below:  
  1. Intercultural Communication
    1. Students will begin to identify at a basic level key host cultures, subcultures, habits, norms, and behaviors in a variety of settings, and they will be aware of the risk that generalizations can lead to stereotypes.
    2. Students will start to identify their own cultural beliefs, behaviors, and values by contrasting and comparing them with those of the host cultures.  
    3. Students will be able to identify some gestures and body language, and they may be able to integrate some of those nonverbal actions into their interactions with native speakers. 
    4. Students will be able to establish relationships with locals and explore communities and places beyond their comfort zone.
  2. Listening
    1. Students will be able to understand some spoken communications of moderate complexity (media, speeches, music, conversations, etc.) on a wide range of concrete everyday topics as well as abstract topics covered in classes.  
    2. Students will begin to understand native speakers from a variety of backgrounds and limited experience with non-native speakers, and they will comprehend common colloquial expressions and slang.
  3. Speaking
    1. Students will be able to speak on and discuss concrete everyday and personal topics, abstract topics covered in classes, as well as other topics of particular interest to them.
    2. Students will be able to participate and respond actively in a variety of interactions.
  4. Reading 
    1. Students will be able to read and understand articles, online texts, short stories and other non-complicated literary texts using background knowledge to aid their comprehension.
    2. Students will begin to read and understand the main ideas of academic texts with assistance. 
    3. Students will begin to read independently and support their comprehension through a variety of reading strategies.
  5. Writing
    1. Students will be able to meet many everyday writing needs (notes, text messages, letters, emails, chats, online forums).
    2. Students will be able to write short essays for class that narrate, describe, report, compare, contrast, and summarize on a wide range of topics with developing degrees of grammatical and lexical accuracy.
    3. Students will be able to edit their own and their peers’ writing for common errors covered in class.
Method of presentation: 

Classes are taught with a communicative approach to facilitate students’ ability to use their own resources, to let them present or discuss subjects while interacting with other people and producing written texts. The instructor will lead the students through the process of learning using various techniques and reinforce written and spoken abilities. Working in pairs or small groups is especially emphasized. The instructor will design activities that help the students to become more socio-linguistically independent. For this aim the instructor will use the city as the extension of the classroom in order to help students consciously develop some strategies to use when facing more complex social interactions. The instructor will use task-based field trips and class activities to make the students aware of the strong relationship between language and culture. For this purpose the instructor will reinforce students’ independence by providing them historic and cultural background before they go on field trips.

Field study: 

Throughout the course students are required to complete various independent field assignments, in order to use the language in practical situations, to interact with locals and with their Italian students companions, and to find out about Italian lifestyle and culture.  The assignments are done outside the class time, either individually or in pairs.  Findings are presented in class and make up a relevant percentage of the assessment of homework and oral presentations. 

Required work and form of assessment: 

Exclusive use of Italian language in class, active participation in all class activities, homework, research regularly completed as indicated by the instructor, oral and written tests and exams, attendance and punctuality. Students will be required to enter the Moodle course page on a regular basis in order to access readings, exercises, and any other regular and extra material.

  • Class participation, engagement and homework (including field studies and use of the online Moodle page) - 30%
  • 2 Quizzes - 5%
  • Oral competence, including oral tests - 30%
  • Midterm exam - 15%
  • Final exam - 20%
Week Content Assignments
Week 1 (June 5)
  1. Review structures previous semesters
  • Walking around IES neighborhood
Week 2

(June 8, 10, 12)

  1. Review structures previous semesters
  2. Functional: Describing and talking about past events; talking about own past experiences.
  3. Grammatical: Review of the past tenses (passato prossimo, imperfetto, trapassato prossimo). Sequence of tenses in the indicative.
  4. Culture: the Italian market.
  • Quiz 1 (June, 12)
  • Composition 1 (due by June 12)
  • EXPO DAY (June 13)
Week 3

(June 15, 17)

  1. Functional: Describing a city. Complaining and expressing regrets.
  2. Vocabulary: vocabulary related to living in a city.
  3. Grammatical: Review of present conditional tense. Past conditional.
  • Composition 2 (due by June 17)
Week 4 No Classes
  • Assignments (TBA)
  • Composition 3 (due by June 24)
Week 5

(June 29, July 1)

  1. Vocabulary: Stereotypes and prejudices.
  2. Culture: Stereotypes and prejudices about different cultures. Differences between Italian and American lifestyles
  • MIDTERM EXAM (June 29)
  • Field Study (July 1)

Week 6
(July 6, 8)

  1. Functional: Expressing an opinion in the past.
  2. Grammatical: Imperfect subjunctive and past perfect.
  • Field Study (July 8)
Week 7
(July 13, 15)
  1. Grammatical: Present and past subjunctive.
  • Quiz 2 (July 15)
Week 8
(July 20, 22)
  1. Vocabulary: Vocabulary related to the media and its use.
  2. Culture: Different uses of the media in different cultures
  • Composition 4 (due by July 22)
  • Oral presentation (July 22)
Week 9
(July 27, 29)
  1. Intensive Review
  2. Final Exam
  • FINAL EXAM (July 29)


Required readings: 
  • L’italiano all’università, Textbook by Edilingua, Roma, 2013.
  • IES course pack designed for the course and supplementary materials (readings, videos and films scenes, song lyrics, games, etc.) will be provided by the teacher or available on the Moodle course page.