In my experience, learning and becoming comfortable speaking the language of the new place you are going to be living in is one of the greatest things you can do. Not only is it great for your brain, but it is also, arguably, a sign of respect to the new state and its people you are about to (and are encouraged to) engage yourself with. I mean, going to Italy and not making an effort to speak Italian is comparable to going to Japan and eating McDonald’s every day and staying away from sashimi.
Although yes, you can get by in Rome without a single word of Italian, you don’t want to go to Italy just to survive, you want to blossom! Some benefits of speaking and understanding Italian include:
-Meeting local Italian friends and knowing that they’re not talking about you in some language you don’t understand
-Helping your not-yet Italian speaking friends order things at restaurants or bars and impressing them
-Having the ability to make your taxi driver believe that you’re a quarter Italian and that you have family from Torino/somewhere in Italy so that he’ll drive a bit faster for you and lower the total cost of your trip
-Being able to assertively order something at a bar when it’s crowded and you need to run to class after a quick caffé (in one gulp!)
-Communicate with Italian organizations to work and perhaps intern with them
-And many more practical things!
Anyways, italiano, la bella lingua…è la lingua più bella del mondo! Italian is the most beautiful language in the world! (OK French, German, Hindi etc. are beautiful too). Not only is it beautiful to the ear, but is also scientifically categorized as one of the easier languages to learn for English speakers (Fluency attained in 23-24 weeks!). Once you’ve got Italian down, then you can start reading some original Leopardi as you settle down at the end of the day.
Buona notte! Sogni d’oro.