Perhaps the most important aspect of Umbra students’ first week in Perugia is the intensive “survival” Italian course. Working with Umbra’s Italian faculty members, they start first in the classroom learning basic vocabulary like cucchiaio,forchetta, and coltello (spoon, fork, knife). They then proceed into the community, interacting with workers at the grocery store or macelleria (butcher shop) as professors walk them through the important aspects of adapting to Italian life.
Although living in a different culture with a different language can be challenging, preparation and a learned familiarity with the situation can help enormously. The best part? Since the students will be using their newly-learned Italian nearly every day, the retention is incredible. A tip would be to listen to those around you to figure out different ways to ask questions and throw a little variety into your daily interactions. To ask how much a purchase is, for example, one can say, “a quanto viene,” “quanto è,” “quanto costa,” or “quanto ti devo.”