Case Study – Nick Aien, Italy 2023

Le due torriThe past four months in Bologna has been an adventure that has transformed my relationship with the Italian language. It has been a journey that has allowed me to explore my passion for the Italian culture and to profoundly immerse myself in the language of the country.

That journey began roughly four years ago when I threw myself into learning Italian. I enjoyed the challenge and the gratification in being able to connect with people that I would have been unable to connect with otherwise.Piazza Santo Stefano

As a result, I spent most of my free time listening to Italian podcasts, watching Italian films, and speaking to very supportive (and very patient) tutors and language partners online. For those four years, Italian was basically the air that I breathed and studying became just a normal part of my everyday life.

After retraining during Covid, I found myself in my third year at university and was offered the opportunity to study abroad. There were only two options: Stuttgart or, fortuitously, Bologna. I was delighted as it was the perfect opportunity to continue both my marketing studies as well as my language learning journey. Additionally, it would give me the cultural exposure that is important for international marketing which is a particular field of interest.

Canale di Reno

From the moment of arrival, I fell in love with Bologna. It is a city steeped in history and made distinct by thePiazza Maggiore numerous towers that dot its skyline and the buildings that glow orange in the sunlight. I fondly remember the evening passeggiatas through the historic portici and I remember how the city felt so alive and yet so serene. It was there amidst the shared gelatos and the sound of laughter that I learned far more about Italian language and culture than I ever could in a classroom.

The opportunities for immersion were profound and numerous so I quickly began to develop real fluency in the language. Upon arrival I had to navigate the famous Italian bureaucracy and I surprised myself in being able to do so entirely in Italian.

As the days turned into months, I noticed a transformation taking place. The more I was thrust into unfamiliar situations, the more my confidence improved. I became less anxious about making mistakes and so my Italian became more fluent. Before I thought of myself as an Italian learner but now, I considered myself an Italian speaker.

Basilica di San Petronio

I owe a great debt of thanks to the John Speak Trust. It is without doubt that without the support of the Trust during this period I would have had less time to commit to immersing and improving my Italian. I highly encourage my fellow language students to apply for this scholarship.

Piazza VerdiI also implore my fellow language students to be fearless in how they approach learning their target language. Take every opportunity available to immerse in the language and make the most of it. Don’t shy away from daunting conversations but rather embrace them as great opportunities to develop your language skills. Doing so you will gain the confidence and resilience necessary to be a fluent speaker of the language. Living in Bologna allowed me to do this daily and will remain a significant milestone on my Italian journey.

Posted in Case Study, Monthly Reports