Written by Dominic Amara, for the Italian Language Foundation

Bristol Central High School

As I strolled down the hall I continued to recite my course selections for freshman year:. “Geometry, Foods, Info Processing, World History… Geometry, Foods, Info Processing, World History.” As I repeat them for what seems like the hundredth time, one question plagues me the entire length of the hallway. “What language are you going to take?” Often students reply, “Spanish”, as it is practically required in middle school across the country, but as I kept thinking I was drawn to a different path. When I first had thoughts of enrolling in Italian, I was a bit hesitant to say the least. After taking nearly four years of the Italian language at my high school, much to my surprise, I’ve gained more as a student and as a person than I could have ever thought possible. 

Dominic as he won the UConn sponsored Italian quiz bowl

Italian was extremely difficult and frustrating in the beginning; I had barely any base knowledge of the language, the rules were confusing, and I was a poor reader. It took me a while to learn the true beauty of the course; it wasn’t just in the words and sentences but in the lifestyle, in the culture and the essence of Italia. We ventured into music, history, art and so much more. With every activity I gained lessons that transformed my character. I learned patience and hard-work from the career of Leonardo Da Vinci, we learned about patronage and the importance of art with the reign of the Medici, and most recently we connected classical literature to the Covid-19 pandemic. We delved into the importance of family, and the meaning of true happiness.

I may not be able to listen, read or write like the perfectionist in me would like,  but I realize that isn’t at all what taking Italian is about. I have learned to communicate my thoughts, ideas and opinions in an authentic way. We’ve read about ten or more stories, watched at least five films, and done so many hands on activities I can’t even count. Through every activity we’ve gained more lessons and more knowledge regarding not only Italian lives but our lives as well, from stereotypes in all cultures, to the mysteries of our families’ immigration. The amount of substance behind each lesson stretches farther than I could have ever imagined when I first told my eighth grade teacher, “um I think I’ll go with… Italian.”