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You are applying for your dream job but suddenly face a problem: you need to learn a new language from scratch in a few weeks.

BBC experts say that to learn, you have to:

  • Take risks and speak the language whenever you can.
  • Read children’s books and comics in a target language.
  • Consume target language media.
  • Immerse yourself in the local culture.
  • Make use of free target language podcasts and apps.
  • Don’t practice in isolation; get feedback from native speakers.
  • Don’t worry about making mistakes.

While I believe that this is all true, there is one point that is missing: your heart.

Learning a new language is not going to happen if your heart does not melt with the new culture and its people.

What is the meaning of Italian culture?

Does it mean “pizza, pasta, and mafia”? Does it mean to speak the language? On the contrary, speaking Italian equals speaking the culture, to open your heart to Italians. For example, how can somebody explain why so many expats live for over 10 years abroad and yet don’t say a word of the local language? They spend days and years living in their own bubble, and they are not interested in knowing the local culture. Here is the mistake: learning a language is learning the culture, too, as the language is the mind of the country, the words of its people, its beliefs, social customs, and art.

Hence, the question is: what is the fastest way to learn Italian besides studying grammar, watching videos, and listening to conversations? The answer is simple: open your heart to Italy, to Italians. Put your expectations behind, make the language your language, and make its people your people. Accept differences. Do not judge.

When I studied English at school, I never learned it...The teacher was forcing us to study, the topics were boring, and she was apathetic. However, when I traveled to Bristol and lived there for two years, I learned the language, I became friends with the British, I loved their culture, and I made it mine.

Now is your turn: close your eyes, travel with your mind. Open your heart to Italy and Italians because learning a language is a matter of love. Love for the country.

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