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How Three Months In Italy Connected Me To My Culture: Emily's Story

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Everyone knows there is no better way to learn a language than through immersion.

I distinctively remember worrying about my Italian language marks and if they were enough to let me graduate University. I had sent out emails and ran to my parents in a panic asking them if I had enough to pass. I'd only done the subject as an easy elective to get me through my music degree, but unfortunately my neglect of the subject almost cost me. However disappointing it would have been to not graduate, it wouldn't have amounted to the disappointment on my fathers face. I'd almost failed his language and neglected his mother tongue. I hadn't cared for something close to his heart. At that moment, I decided to take learning Italian seriously.
 
three months in Italy
After a bit of researching, I discovered GeoVisions who recommended their Walk and Talk program to me based on my goals. Through the program, not only have I met a wonderful and extremely colourful family abroad, but I've been given the opportunity to learn Italian in a way I wouldn't have been able to back in Australia. I was forced to speak Italian whenever I wanted to order food or buy something, which still to this day scares me, but each time I succeed I feel more and more proud of myself.
 
In only three months I've improved immensely and made friends and met people I consider family along the way. I've traveled to different cities and been introduced to new food by the locals. I've gained knowledge of big and small cultural differences (one of the children told me I was weird because I didn't wear shoes inside!) 
I won't beat around the bush and say that traveling solo isn't difficult and at times lonely. However, I felt it gave me a different opportunity to experience Italy compared to my past travels overseas. Being alone made me more aware of what I wanted to do in Italy and forced me to problem solve on my own. As a result, I feel more independent and less sheltered and have been able to discover Italy like a local. 

However, the most amazing part of this experience is knowing I can go home to Australia and show my father how important his culture and his language have become to me.

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