Learning a language is learning a culture: studying literature in the original language means studying the culture that produced it. Italian worldwide cultural relevance, both past and present, is instantly recognizable, and today Italy is one of the topfive economies in the world. One studies Italian for cultural reasons, for travel and study plans in Italy, but also, more and more frequently, for career-related opportunities. Let’s explore the benefits of learning Italian.
Studying Italian is a gateway to the world of great and lasting achievements in the arts and sciences: Dante, Michelangelo, Galileo. Today, Italy is expanding its partnerships in science and the humanities with universities and multi-nationals in the private sector. Italian film, music, literature and cuisine stand out not only inEurope, but throughout the world. Italy’s centuries’ old tradition of innovation in the sciences continues to this day: leading researchers in genetics and genetic-mapping (Human Genome Project), and in other science fields in the US, were born and educated in Italy.
With the growth of American ties with Italian companies, learning Italian opens greater opportunities in international trade. American companies such as AT&T, IBM, Motorola, Citibank, and GeneralElectric — to name just a few — do business with Italy and have officesin Italy.
Many employers are seeking employees who speak Italian: many students study Italian because it enhances their competitiveness in today’s marketplace. Bocconi University remains one of the most prestigious business schools in the world, and every year hundreds of international students (including Villanova undergraduates) take a semester off to study there.
Italian opens doors to professions in the culinary, tourism and hospitality fields, in which Italy is internationally-renowned. Italy is a world leader in interior design, fashion, furniture production, graphic design, as well as in machine tool manufacturing,with sophisticated technologies in electro-mechanical machinery,robotics, shipbuilding, and space engineering. The quality of Made in Italy — of Italian innovation, efficiency, and design — has gained increasing recognition over thepast two decades throughout the world. Italy continues to be a major international player in the fashion and automotive industries.
Since you can also teach Italian, as majors at Villanova you can earn a K-12 teaching certificate in conjunction with the Deptartment of Education and Human Services, or go on to graduate studies to schools recommended by the Italian faculty.
Finally, having access to radio programs, newspapers, and Internet materials in Italian gives you an international perspective, making you a citizen of the world, while it enhances cognitive abilities, especially critical-thinking skills.
Studying other languages teaches you about your native language and culture and about what it means to be human. Studying Italian means becoming part of this global community. And, Italian is beautiful!
According to UNESCO, Italy has more than half of the world's arttreasures, many of which are included in its World Heritage List andconsidered as having outstanding universal value.
According to a recent survey by Dr. De Mauro and his research team atthe Università per Stranieri di Siena, Italian is one of the world'smost studied languages. Worldwide, the number of students studyingItalian is almost equal to the number who study Spanish.
Italian-speakers (native and foreign) have made Italian the 19thmost spoken language in the world, although the population of Italyrepresents only 1% of the world’s population.