My primary goal is to learn the Italian language to the degree that I can easily communicate with someone who speaks the language fluently. I am also working towards an Italian Studies major. My inspiration for learning Italian stems from the experience I had when I visited my first time.
As we were entered the streets of Rome in a group of around 30 students, we were overwhelmed by a mob consisting of thousands of Roman citizens flooding the street in celebration of the city winning their national championship for soccer. Trucks loaded with people, flags waving everywhere, screams of triumph and celebration consumed the streets. Police stood guard with weapons in hand, but the worst thing we could see going on was the occasional person getting dumped into a fountain, dripping wet and smiling from ear to ear. I loved the atmosphere, the food, and the architecture, and I wanted to experience more of it.
To achieve my goal I have opted for a home-stay because I think this will offer me a more intimate look into the culture. I also plan on taking several courses at one of the local universities, Roma Tre. These courses will be taught in Italian, so the idea is I am placing myself in the sink or swim position to force myself to complete my goal. In preparation I have been reviewing my Italian book and Cd's from ITAL 1001-1004. (After completing eight semesters of Italian courses, I chose to take a year and a half off to finish my Civil Engineering major. I am a bit rusty, but I believe the break was part of my inspiration to go abroad and not let those courses go to waste.) I listen to Italian conversational Cd's in my car, and have even added them on my i-pod as well. I am planning on attending weekly discussion groups at the Barnes & Noble in Roseville, as well as having discussions with another friend that has completed the Italian Studies major. Additionally I have added a link to an Italian newspaper on my desktop with Google Gadgets (The greatest thing for a computer that I've seen in a long time, I recommend checking it out.) I make an attempt to read a couple articles a day.
Everyone keeps asking me if I am excited to go, and of course I am, but I believe I am more concerned now about getting myself prepared to go so I get the most out of my trip. I am trying not to create any expectations about what my experience will be like, and take it only for what it is.