Australia is, of course, quite a way from Europe .... or is it the other way around?
The major obstacle to anyone wishing to 'pursue the language' and aiming to master it is at a distinct disadvantage because of the distances involved. I reached an agreement with my wife a few years ago after I had stated my desire to learn Italian by living in Italy [with her, of course] for a while.
"How long will that take?", she asked. "Oh, about six months", I responded ..... "H-m-m-m ... why don't you visit there for a month, once a year, for six years?" was her wise reply. Of course I accepted, without thinking it all the way through!
Hindsight is, as we all know, a wonderful thing! Knowing what I know now I should have confessed to being an extremely slow learner and that ten, twelve or eighteen months would be required. That way I'd now still have ten or more visits left [rather than only a few more] and I could've avoided the need for that fast approaching re-negotiation on the number of future visits!!
I continue to attend lessons here in Sydney [see Italian Graffiti below] supplemented by an Audio book App by Michel Thomas [well worth your checking out - there is actually a preview you can test for free] and regular visits to Italian restaurants, coffee shops and Italian enclaves in Leichhardt and Haberfield, where I can practice my Italian skills. The National Australian Archives indicate that more than 340,000 Italians have migrated to Australia over the years so I have many more places to visit here. Add the wide range of Italian wines available in Australia and there is a chance of living a slightly Italian way of life!
Italian Graffiti Language Centre [based in Mosman, Sydney]
Quick Definition graf•fi•ti (grəˈfi ti) n. 1. plural of graffito. 2. (used with a pl. v.) markings, as initials, slogans, or drawings, written or sketched on a sidewalk, wall, or the like. 3. early means of communication; expression. 4. scratchings, paintings or writing, prime examples of which are those unearthed at Pompeii after being buried as a result the eruption of Vesuvius
The word first came into the English language in the mid-19th century to describe scratched messages or slogans found on the walls of Pompeii and the Roman catacombs. These messages represented one of the most ancient forms of communication, and they gave people the opportunity to express themselves informally about politics, love, current and social events and even to lend support to their favourite sportsmen of the day – the championship of the gladiators games. The messages were written in colloquial language and they have given us enormous insight into the daily lives of ancient Romans
Italian Graffiti is owned and operated by Barbara Bertini, a native Italian speaker from Liguria in Italy.
I started attending Barbara's 'beginner' classes in Mosman, Sydney around about January 2011 as a preliminary to attending my first 'immersion' in Siena, Italy later that year. While I had some vocabulary, my understanding of grammar was non-existent. Barbara's methods, and extreme patience, assisted me greatly with my visit to Siena. Without that head-start my time in Italy would have been a little difficult.
Since that time I have consistently spent time in Barbara's classes, progressing through the levels and adding some 'conversation' classes too, from time to time.
Barbara teaches Italian using some English to explain those concepts you just can't immediately grasp in Italian ... there is plenty of classroom discussion, group activities, revision and homework [compiti]. Class sizes vary from 4 to about 8 students, meaning there is a lot of personal attention.
It is not only Barbara's method of teaching that is stimulating but also her broad knowledge of so many things Italian - language, art, culture and customs, geography, history, cuisine .... and more. Activities are fun and certainly aimed at achieving a better understanding. Barbara also arranges a student tours to Italy, most often in the northern areas. I haven't yet had the pleasure of accompanying the group but students tell of a wonderful time had by all.