Written by: Colin Grant, a team member of The Italian Language Foundation, earned a Bachelor of Arts & Science from Indiana University. He majored in Media Advertising with a Minor in Italian. Colin utilizes his creative skills in media, advertising and Italian to support ILF’s social media and website content.
I decided to study Italian in college for many different reasons. I am not ethnically Italian and I didn’t know anyone who spoke Italian growing up. My family has a lot of Irish ancestry and would always have big family Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations. As I started high school I hoped to be able to study Italian, the unique culture fascinated me and I wanted to learn about it as well as the rich history that surrounds all of Italy. I am also a big Formula One fan and Scuderia Ferrari is my favorite team. One of the initial reasons for wanting to learn Italian at the start of high school was so that I could read about Ferrari in Italian and be able to know what the local motorsport journalists were saying. I was disappointed to discover that Italian was not one of the languages offered at my high school, and I instead studied Spanish for all four years.
As I was starting college and learned I had a language requirement, I immediately decided to take an entry-level Italian class. Going into my first class only knowing two or three words in Italian, I was happy to see how much my Spanish knowledge helped me. While there are huge differences between the languages there are also many similarities that made learning the grammatical structure much easier, as it already seemed familiar in some aspects.
The more I learned about the Italian language the more I learned about Italian culture. Many cultural aspects were new to me and interesting to learn about in class, but fascinating to be able to participate in. The university also had an Italian club, in addition to Italian classes, that held events to learn about cultural aspects such as learning to make a type of pasta from scratch, learning how to play an Italian card game, and much more. This was very intimidating at first as trying to learn a new skill in a new language can be very difficult and frustrating, but it quickly began to feel less intimidating. As I learned about Italian culture and differences between regions of Italy, I became more motivated to learn the language so that I could get a true sense of the beautiful and unique Italian culture.