Italian Language in Context: Emerging Independent Abroad I

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Course Information
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 

3 semesters of Italian or knowledge of the following grammar elements:

  • Noun/verb/adjective agreement; prepositions; pronouns; present tense of regular and
  • Irregular verbs; past tenses, simple and compound of regular and irregular verbs;
  • Conditional tenses; imperative; future; comparatives and superlatives.
Additional student cost: 



The course is designed to let students have a deeper and more detailed knowledge of spoken and written Italian. The course will introduce the students to current events and everyday situations (intercultural communication) to encourage them to use the language in a relaxed and confident way as well as to discover as much as possible about Italian culture and lifestyle.

After a quick review of the fundamental contents of IT301, the course will cover complex grammatical structures and vocabulary. Intense oral work, reading and writing exercises will always be presented, analyzed and practiced in a context which is based on listening and reading materials. Oral skills will be emphasized while a grounding in grammar will consolidate the understanding and use of the language structures. Vocabulary is based on everyday situations.

NOTE: This course is being reformatted from the 3-credit summer version of this course for the 12-week program length. Please check back for updates as details are adjusted on the timeline.


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, 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: 

Successful progress of the program depends on the full cooperation of both students and faculty members: regular attendance and active participation in class are essential parts of the learning process. Attendance at and participation in all class meetings and field-studies are required. More than TWO unjustified absences (that are not medically excused with a written certificate of the doctor or caused by sudden serious family and/or personal occurrences, as for example death of a family member)  will result in a lowering of your grade.

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

I. 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 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 non-verbal 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.

II. 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.

III. 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

IV. 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.

V. Writing

  1. Students will be able to meet many everyday writing needs (notes, text messages, letters, emails, chats, and 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.


  1. Global self-awareness: students will identify some connections between an individual’s personal decision-making and certain local and global issues.

  2. Cultural diversity: students will deal with the experiences of others historically or in contemporary contexts primarily through one cultural perspective, demonstrating some openness to varied cultures and worldviews.

Method of presentation: 

The teaching method is based on a communicative approach. This involves: accent on communication, with the objective to enable the student, from the beginning, to speak and interact in Italian. Each lesson is structured with an activity to build vocabulary and an oral or written text. The text guides the student to recognize and analyse grammatical structures. Those structures are used in oral and written exercises that the students tackle in pairs or in small groups. Free oral and/or written production exercises give students the opportunity to communicate between themselves in Italian in realistic situations. The activities are based on a communicative method aimed at building a better understanding of Italian grammatical structure, preparing students to understand the spoken language and speaking and writing in Italian.

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Active participation and class discussion - 10%
  • Weekly homework, special assignments and moodle assignments - 10%
  • 2 quizzes - 20%
  • Midterm written exam and oral presentation - 25%
  • Final written final exam and oral presentation - 35%
Unit Content Assignments Corresponding Learning Outcome(s)
  • Presentation of the course, syllabus, book, course-packet and expectations.
  • Logistic tour
  • GRAMMAR: possessive adjectives, reflexive verbs (passato prossimo), superlativo relativo, imperfetto (form and usage), passato prossimo and imperfetto, pensarci
  • FUNCTIONAL: Talking about family and childhood, describing a photograph, expressing possession, telling past habits and situations, discussing about advantages and disadvantages

Unità 1: La famiglia (pp. 8-19)

Unità 2: Da piccola (pp. 20-31)

I.B, I.C


I.B, I.C, I.D

G.L. : A

  • GRAMMAR: present conditional, farcela, sapere, andarsene, comparativo (come/quanto), qualcuno/nessuno, stare + gerundio, direct pronouns (with passato prossimo and infinitive), adverbs of time, relative pronouns che and cui
  • FUNCTIONAL: Describing people; formal style of questions; making suppositions, proposals and suggestions; accepting and refusing; telling something while it happens; making an appointment
  • FIELD STUDY: the market

Unità 3: Non è bello ciò che è bello (pp. 32-43)

Unità4: Appuntamenti (pp. 44-53)

I.B, I.C


G.L. : B

  • GRAMMAR: usage of imperfetto with intentions and claims; past forms of sapere and conoscere, usage of passato prossimo and imperfetto, nessuno + noun, volerci
  • FUNCTIONAL: Asking a favor, expressing intentions, asking information, telling a story and a vacation, expressing wonder and sorrow 

Unità 5: Buon viaggio! (pp. 54-65)

I.B, I.C


G.L. : A

  • GRAMMAR: imperative tense (formal and informal), imperative tense with pronouns, negative form of imperative tense, servire, comparativo and superlativo of buono and bene
  • FUNCTIONAL: Giving advice, expressing needs, talking about food habits, expressing opinions, talking about health problems and symptoms, talking about physical activities and sports, convincing someone about something

Unità 6: L’importante è mangiare bene! (pp. 66-75)

Unità 7: Mens sana... (pp. 76-87)

I.B, I.C


I.A, I.B, I.C

G.L. : B

  • GRAMMAR: futuro semplice, bisogna, verbs with direct and indirect object, ne, If clause (first type: se + present or future tenses)
  • COMMUNICATIVE/FUNCTIONAL: Making future plans, expressing desires and intentions, writing an application form and a CV, talking about jobs

Unità 8: Il mondo del lavoro (pp. 88-99)

I.B, I.C


  • GRAMMAR: congiuntivo presente (main regular and some irregular verbs); usage of congiuntivo with needs, hope, personal opinions; bello; comparativo (più...che)
  • FUNCTIONAL: Expressing needs and desires, describing houses and furniture


Unità 9: Casa dolce casa... (pp. 100-109)

I.B, I.C


G.L. : B

  • GRAMMAR: stare per + infinitive, mentre/durante, passato prossimo of modal verbs, sopportare + congiuntivo or indicativo
  • COMMUNICATIVE/FUNCTIONAL: Apologizing, telling current events, expressing interests and opinions
  • General review
  • Final Exam

Unità 10: Incontri (pp. 110-121)

I.B, I.C


G.L. : A, B

The schedule is flexible and can change during the semester, according to the situation of the class or to particular needs. New field-studies and activities can be introduced at any time, according to the students’ interests and commitments. 

Required readings: 
  • Textbook: Espresso 2, by M. Balì and G. Rizzo, ed. Alma, Firenze, 2008 (available at “ Liberia Feltrinelli International via Banchi di Sopra n° 64)
  • Supplementary material will be provided by the teacher during the course: ex. games, readings, songs, Italian movies.
  • Strongly recommended a good pocket dictionary Italian/Italian (medium size).