Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Adult Education in Rome

Why did I just hear about this place recently? I was telling an Italian friend I wanted to take an Italian class as I work in English all day, know a bunch of American, Canadian and British expats and all my Italian friends speak perfect English. Therefore I live in Italy but rarely speak Italian. This is a problem. I don't want to be one of those expats who lives here for years and can't communicate.

First, the Italian friends said my statue of limitations is up. They're going to speak Italian to me for now on. Okay. I'm ready. Kind of.

Second, expat friends, who are all stronger speakers than me (several are married/dating Italians or they have been in the country longer than me) will split our conversations, half English/half- Italian. Certain things like the trials and tribulations of Kate Plus 8 and American health care reform legislation are easier to discuss in English.

Third, I started classes at Upter. This school has every class under sun. There's even a Shakespeare class that goes to England at the end of the course. My friend said since classes are all about the professor, why pay double or triple for a private language school? I think Upter receives some funding from the State and the EU.

I'm the only American in my class. I sat next to a British man and was told by the professor to stop speaking English. Busted! Two classmates are from Germany. Not sure where the other three are from. One woman from Romania was speaking Italian so fast, no one in the class other than the professor understood her. She also spoke forever. I completely zoned out as she went on and on and started thinking about how fine Tom Selleck was in Magnum P.I. and why did mustaches go out of style?

I wondered if I was in the wrong level as I couldn't not complete this adjective/pronouns worksheet she gave us. Then again no else, including a student who's lived here for 10 years, could finish it either.

At the end of the class I was saying how I wish I could speak faster. My professor said just because someone speaks quickly doesn't mean they speak correctly. There's some exam at the end of the course. Sigh. I pray it's easier than the darn Italian driver's license test.

Now I have homework to do. A presentation a page long for next week's class. Great. What the heck am I going to talk about?


Cynthia said...

Just take it slow. Talk about why you moved to Italy, your favorite movie, your have ample information, just learn how to express it. :)

The class sounds fun but then again I like to be thrown into sink or swim situations (ironically enough). I know you'll do great once you get your feet wet.

Simone said...

Slow and steady wins the race! When I was investing real time in practicing Italian (I moved onto German since) I realized I was OK when I started dreaming in Italian and didn't have to stop to mentally translate the dream ..LOL!!!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I love UPTER. When we lived in Rome, I took an art history class on 17th c. Roman art. I was a little lost at first on some of the terms, but learned a lot as the year progressed. It also gave me entrance to some remarkable palaces, museum treasures and secret places in churches that weren't open to the public. Stay with it and you'll be rewarded.

ieishah said...

girl,i'm with cynthia. talk about movies. or the differences between rome and l.a. but whatever you do, never, ever speak english in class. i forbade myself to even use an english dictionary in class last year. if i couldn't figure out the meaning of a word from context, i'd have to remember the word and look it up later (a language exercise in itself). and i learned so so much. i repeat: whatever you do, don't allow yourself to speak any english in that class. you'll achieve fluency (if not accuracy) in no time. good luck!

homebody at heart said...

Did your friend have a good and reasonable private instructor to recommend Rome? And,oh yeah, Tom Selleck was a long, cool drink of water in Magnum, P.I. I really can't think of anyone now that really floats my boat like he did.

Anonymous said...

Tom Selleck was da man. He wasn't some waxed, pretty boy but 100 percent male. mmmmmmmmmmm

btw, Good luck with the classes. I tried learning Italian but since I surrounded by English speakers it doesn't go anywhere.

girasoli said...

That's great that you are taking Italian. You will learn a lot. Those pronouns are so hard. When I took an Italian Immersion class in Siena one summer, I brought my homework to this restaurant I used to hang out at for dinner. I thought I was so smart having the waiter (young guy) help me with my homework. The next day, I found out it was all wrong!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

cynthia - thanks for the tips. Sink or swim might be the best way to get over my fear of speaking and just go for it.

simone - I have a couple little dreams in Italian but I never remember them. Maybe it's a sign I'm on my way to being somewhat fluent.

CCL - that sounds incredible. I was thinking of taking a photography course but I was worried about doing something so technical in Italian. We'll see how this course goes.

ieishah - man its so hard for me not to speak English! I will start out in Italian get flustered and switch to English. I'm glad my teacher is going to be tough about that. I need to stop doing it. Thanks for the suggestions.

homebody - no she didn't. Co-sign on Mr. Selleck

ms. violette - how I miss men! I'm sick of boys/guys on screen. They are in their 30s/40s/50s and with the exception of many of foreign actors and one or two Americans like George Clooney, they dress and act like teenagers. Enough! :)

girasoli - I studied at the Italian Cultural Institute in L.A. before I moved here. That helped me a lot with grammar but since I never spoke it (not a lot of Italian speakers in L.A.) my vocabulary is not very strong.

Anonymous said...

So there are several americans and canadians in Rome... they must be really fond of traffic, concrete, garbage, graffiti and crap... also they mustn't be really exigent and demanding... lol!

Kataroma said...

anon- ??? Maybe you should enrol in the English class at UPTER!

I'd love to enrol in an Italian class now that I've been here a while. At this point I understand everything and can say what I want to say but I know I still make mistakes. But with a 15 month old and a FT job I don't have time. :(

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

kataroma - your comment to anon made me bust out laughing. ha

You're so lucky to be fluent. I find it so frustrating not being able to communicate easily.

I can't imagine trying to balance a full time job and a 15 month old. I wonder how our moms did it?

ladydai said...

I love visiting your blog. Are you still struggling with Italian. Yes, I too speak "Engliano" and have been here for three years. My expiration date for English is drawing nigh.

There is one online course that I am finding extremely helpful as well. It's a great way to practice and be critiqued anonymously. It's called Check it out!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

ladydai - thanks for visiting my blog and for the link.

My Italian has improved a great deal this year. Returning to class (last time I took classes was over two years ago in Los Angeles) and doing language exchange with one of my Italian friends has helped.