Written by: Alex Buchanan for ILF, a senior at Indiana University studying Italian.
I sat next to a Venetian canal being serenaded by the sound of the waves lapping against the stone, with a plate of seafood pasta in front of me, I marveled at how far my love for Italian had taken me. It wasn’t until my freshman year at Indiana University that I started taking Italian classes. It began as simply a way for me to fulfill an academic requirement, but before I knew it I was looking forward to daily lessons. I also looked forward to talking to my professors about Italian culture and eventually the possibility of studying abroad. My journey with the Italian language has not been easy, but the rewards that have come from it have been greater than I ever could have imagined.
While I spent time all across Italy two summers ago, Venice (or Venezia) was by far my favorite place to spend time. Whether I was visiting a museum of Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest works, or sunbathing on the public beach at Lido, I always found myself thoroughly engrossed with the culture. I would argue that having a foundation in the local dialect will add context and meaning to any overseas experience. My years studying Italian at IU before ever traveling to Italy helped me tremendously. I was able to learn far more about Italian and different variations of the language across Italy as well as new aspects of the culture, than I ever could have without first studying the language.
Taking language courses can be difficult and frustrating, but they have helped me experience amazing things. That is why I would like to encourage all students, no matter their age, to pursue a language in addition to their other studies. I promise it will change your life for the better.