Learning a foreign language such as Italian is always a good idea, as it opens up a world of opportunity on a personal as well as a professional level.
The melodic intonation, attractive accent and unmistakeable Italian hand gestures is what makes the Italian language so charming.
But how can Italian language lessons help your career? How much value does learning Italian add to your CV? What position does Italy hold in international trade?
Italy is the 7th most economically powerful country in the world, and one of the founding members of the European Union.
It is a country that is recognized in many important areas such as art restoration (more than 60% of the world's art treasures are located in Italy according to UNESCO), teaching, trade, music, luxury fashion, cinema, automotive, research, and so much more.
By deciding to learn to speak Italian, you are opening your eyes to a language and culture that spans centuries and has played a major role in shaping the world as we know it today.
Spending some time living and working in Italy is a learning experience that will work wonders for your language proficiency. Cultural immersion in Rome for example will not only help you with your conversational Italian but also with your general language sense, such as your listening comprehension and knowing how to correctly use certain words and phrases in the right context.
Having a good command of everyday Italian words and expressions will make you sound more competent in your Italian speaking and more like a native speaker of the language - so you can ditch the phrasebook and learn by doing!
Modern-day Italy offers a warm welcome for its visitors who hope to develop their professional skills and broaden their horizons.
There are already more than 7500 American companies located in Italy, including General Electric, Hewlett Packard, IBM or Motorola to name a few.
But which companies employ British people? and how should you find them? How can knowing how to speak Italian help you in the world of business?
Italian: A Prestigious Latinate Language
Only 2% of Brits consider themselves able to take part in Italian conversation.
The other 98% really don’t know what they’re missing out on!
As a language that is associated with Italy’s rich history of art, music and architecture, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would want to pass up an opportunity to learn Italian.
From the moment you hear this charmingly melodic language being spoken, you feel as if you’ve been transported to another world.
Italian is also the language of love, which is why the great composers throughout history wrote their operas in Italian.
The Italian language classed as a ‘romance language’, meaning that it is of Latin origin, as are the respective languages of its neighbouring countries.
Today, Italian is not only spoken in Italy, but also in Libya, Somalia, Slovenia, Croatia, in the UK and even in Australia and Argentina.
Italian also shares roots with languages such as Spanish, Portuguese and French in terms of linguistic style, intonation and conjugation.
The British Council English Effect (BCEE) revealed that Italian had had a large influence on the French and English vocabulary with a number of borrowed words such as ‘studio’ and ‘solo’, which are directly derived from the Italian vocabulary.
Learning to speak Italian is giving yourself the ability to communicate with 70 million Italian speakers around the world. So why not look up Italian courses London and get started?
Much More than a Language for Tourists
In addition to its undeniable cultural influence, being fluent in the Italian language has many advantages.
When we think of Italy, images of the beaches, Vespas, pizzas, café terraces come to mind, as we fondly remember our time spent in Italy or the Italy that is portrayed in films.
Italy is a popular tourist destination, welcoming more than 2.6 million British holidaymakers in 2012.
In 2015, some 12 million tourists came from the four corners of the world to explore Italy.
Travelling to Italia provides an opportunity to get a taste for Italian cuisine and marvel at the country’s cultural heritage.
If you’re a fan of football, Calcio (the Italian name for football), is very popular, and the national team, la Squadra Azura, is strongly supported.
Learning to speak Italian will give you the means to enjoy any trip to Italy to the full. Starting in Milan, why not make your way to Apulia via Rome before finishing in Tuscany?
Beyond the tourism industry, which is one of Italy’s primary sources of income, the land shaped like a boot has other things to offer, particularly in terms of business and commerce. This is the exact reason why knowing how to communicate in Italian, understand Italian grammar, correctly conjugate Italian verbs and speak the language as fluently as its native speakers is a real asset.
In international exchange as well as digital business, Italian is one of the official languages of the European Union – a big advantage in the world of international business.
How Learning Italian can Enhance Your CV
Whilst the world seems to be focussed on English and even Spanish as ‘international’ languages, speaking Italian brings undeniable benefits to your CV.
Whether you’re a graduate or you have business qualifications, knowing how to speak Italian will set you apart from the other candidates at a job interview.
This isn’t just because of the fact that you know a second language, but that the second language is Italian, which is a rare language to learn in the UK, making your skills all the more valuable.
Being able to demonstrate fluency in speaking Italian at work will open up opportunities for yourself and for your organisation. Nearly 61% of businesses working with Italy consider their lack of Italian language skills to be an inhibiting factor for their international development, so as an Italian speaker, you’ll be at the top of the list to negotiate with Italian companies in their native language.
Your language knowledge is a considerable asset which can help you climb the ladder of power within your company as you seal more deals with Italian companies.
If you’d like the start learning Italian for professional purposes, why not find an Italian language course or a one to one Italian tutor?
There are lots of tutors willing to teach Italian for beginners. The Italian alphabet is the same as the one used in English, making the language significantly easier to learn. Try searching for "Italian classes near me" on Google, or search the Superprof website for someone in your city!
So, which are Italy's most promising sectors?
Anything to do with mechanics and industrial equipment are economic sectors where Italy performs very well.
The Italian food and food-processing industries are continuing to grow in importance in an international context.
The jobs that employ the most people include bakeries, restaurants, IT, commerce, teaching and administrative roles.
If you’re an engineer or a technician, there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll be attractive to the Italian economy.
This is why deciding to learn Italian will open so many doors for you, as you will already have an advantage over your competitors and communication will be made far easier, putting you in prime position for the important tasks.
As a UK citizen, you’re most likely to find employment with an Italian business in a large international organisation such as Alfa Romeo, Barilla, Dolce & Gabbanna, Gucci, Aprilia, De Agostini, Electrolux-Zanussi, Generali, IBM, Lavazza, Nespresso, Pirelli, Vespa, San Pellegrino, RAI, etc.
Why Choose Italian?
At Superprof, we believe that there are at least five good reasons to learn Italian.
Deciding to learn Italian is a brilliant opportunity to add value to your CV as you gain useful professional skills.
From a recruitment point of view, having someone who already speaks the Italian language as a candidate makes them stand out, as they won’t require any additional training in Italian, saving companies time and money.
Whether you learn Italian for free or take online Italian courses, the outcome can be quite interesting.
With the majority of UK nationals rarely choosing to learn a new language and the ones that do choosing French or Spanish, as an Italian speaker, you’ll be a rare breed – almost as rare as those who learn Chinese, learn Arabic, or learn Portuguese.
The number of learners who want to study Italian is shockingly low, putting the language in 4th position behind French, Spanish and German. Find the best places to live and study as an Italian student in Italy.
If you really want to take these professional opportunities, you’ll have to maintain an open mind and keep reminding yourself that foreign strategies will never work in Italy if you do not familiarise yourself with the Italian status-quo and the language.
Italy is a country where human relationships count and play a major role, so don’t forget to work on your personal relations and try to become more empathetic so that you fit better into Italian organisations.
For example, Italians don’t like speaking English very much, so make an effort to only speak their language – even if you get stuck for vocab!
Small efforts such as this one will demonstrate a motivation to integrate yourself in Italian culture.
Speaking Italian will bring you closer to the heart of Italian culture and its people, who will welcome you as one of their own.