Why Study Italian Language and Culture?


Why Study Italian?

*Italy is one of the top five economies in the world, and many employers are seeking people who speak both Italian and English. An estimated 7,500 American companies do business with Italy and more than 1,000 U.S. firms have offices in Italy, including IBM, General Electric, Motorola, Citibank, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Many Italian firms have offices in the U.S., especially in the Detroit metropolitan area.

Knowing Italian is greatly beneficial in several career fields. Italy is a world leader in the culinary arts, interior design, fashion, graphic design, furniture design, machine tool manufacturing, robotics, electromechanical machinery, shipbuilding, space engineering, construction machinery, and transportation equipment.

Italy's cultural importance spans from antiquity through the present, of which the Roman period and the Renaissance are perhaps the two most influential moments.

According to UNESCO, over 60% of the world's art treasures are found in Italy. Some of the most famous Western artists, from Giotto to Michelangelo, were Italian. Knowledge of Italian is vital to understand the contexts of this art.

Italian literature boasts some of the world's most famous writers and thinkers, from Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch and Machiavelli, to Verga, Svevo, Pirandello, and Gramsci, to name a few.

Since Roman times, Italy has exported its literature and culture to other parts of Europe and beyond, in the areas of Latin literature, Romanitas, humanism, opera, film, science, political thought, fashion, design, and cuisine. Knowing Italian allows you to understand, appreciate, and analyze this treasury of human expression.

Italy has the cultures, landscapes, and histories to fill a lifetime of investigation. Knowing Italian places you in a position to explore Italy's past and present from the most fulfilling vantage point.

[*As stated eloquently by: Univ. of Michigan, Romance Languages and Literatures

Why Learn Italian?

**Italian majors pursue careers in a variety of fields, including education, business, computer programming and web design, law, public relations, journalism, telecommunications, arts administration, publishing, library science, politics, or public and environmental affairs, to name but a few. Some students also use their language skills in order to enter government employment or the military. In all cases, students report back to us that their training in Italian significantly enhanced their professional and academic opportunities. Italian is spoken by 55 million people in Italy and 62 million people throughout the world. Italy has the 7th largest economy in the world and is a major political force in Europe.

Here are a few of the many good reasons to choose Italian . . .

Communication Skills: In many careers and free-time activities, you will find it beneficial to communicate with people who are native Italian speakers. In any realm of business, it always pays to know the client's language. Italian instruction also encourages you to think about important details of language usage which may not have occurred to you before, thereby improving your writing and speaking skills in English as well.

Travel: To travel to Italy and experience the essence of Italian culture, knowledge of the Italian language is essential. Don't get stuck on all-American 5-day tours of a continent! They only skim the surface and show you what someone else thinks you should see. To truly get to know Italy it takes more time and, above all, Italian language skills.

Jobs in Business: As more and more businesses are "going global" by opening offices throughout the world, knowledge of Italian is an increasingly important asset when applying for jobs. Six of the 100 biggest global companies have their headquarters in Italy, and Italy is the world¿s fifth largest industrial producer of goods. Jobs in Italian business are lucrative.

Jobs in Government: In the fields of diplomacy and trade, the federal government is always seeking qualified applicants with Italian language skills. If you see international conferences and negotiations in your future, you'd better learn one or more languages now.

Research: No matter the area of specialization, knowledge of Italian is not only helpful, but often necessary for academic, business, or social research. Translations are not always correct or even available.

Art and Culture: No matter how good the translation, inevitably some meaning is lost in the process. Therefore, to fully appreciate the richness of Italian literature, theater, opera, and films, knowledge of the language is essential. Other aspects of Italy's culture are also best appreciated by those who can speak and understand Italian. How could you, for example, savor a gourmet Italian meal in a Tuscan restaurant if you couldn't read the menu?

Self-Fulfillment: Learning Italian is a big accomplishment which brings with it great satisfaction and added confidence. In addition, immersion in a foreign culture can open whole new avenues of self-exploration and personal growth.

Intellectual Stimulation: Learning Italian enhances your skills in analyzing, discussing, and categorizing information and ideas.

Broaden your horizons . . . study Italian!

[**As articulated eloquently by: Indiana University, Dept. of French and Italian

A PROCLAMATION by the President of the United States

On March 17, Italy celebrates the 150th anniversary of its unification
as a single state. On this day, we join with Italians everywhere to honor
the courage, sacrifice, and vision of the patriots who gave birth to the
Italian nation. At a time when the United States was fighting for the
preservation of our own Union, Giuseppe Garibaldi's campaign for the
unification of Italy inspired many around the world in their own struggles,
including the 39th New York Infantry, also known as "The Garibaldi Guard."
Today, the legacy of Garibaldi and all those who unified Italy lives on in
the millions of American women and men of Italian descent who strengthen and
enrich our Nation.

Italy and the United States are bound by friendship and common
dedication to civil liberties, democratic principles, and the universal
human rights our countries both respect and uphold. As we mark this
important milestone in Italian history, we also honor the joint efforts of
Americans and Italians to foster freedom, democracy, and our shared values
throughout the world.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of
America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the
laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 17, 2011, as a day to
celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Unification of Italy. I encourage
all Americans to learn more about the history of Italian unification and to
honor the enduring friendship between the people of Italy and the people of
the United States.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of
March, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence
of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.