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Italian Language Studies

Offered in Washington DC and SAIS Europe

As the second most widely spoken mother tongue within the EU population, gaining skills in the Italian language is an excellent way to open new professional possibilities. The cultural and economic relevance of Italian make it the fourth most studied language in the world.

An Immersive Experience

The Italian Program at SAIS Europe offers a unique full-immersion experience. It is a proficiency-based program, in which all language activities are designed to help students develop the communicative abilities and specific language skills that they will find essential in their future careers in the professional field of International Relations.

Courses are offered at all levels, from Novice through Intermediate and Advanced.

Pre-Proficiency Levels

Novice (Level I - offered only at SAIS Europe in Bologna).

This course aims to provide students with the language skills that will allow them to communicate and survive in everyday life. Daily vocabulary and basic structures will be introduced and practiced through relevant role-plays. This course focuses on oral communication to be used both inside and outside the classroom.

Intermediate Low (Level II)

This course aims to expand students’ basic language skills and vocabulary while reinforcing grammar. Students will also be gradually introduced to some professionally-relevant vocabulary and more complex grammar structures. By the end of this course students should be able to both inform and ask for information about familiar topics, ranging from personal experiences to public and social issues of daily relevance.

Intermediate Mid I (Level III)

This course is meant both to refine some of the structures acquired in the two lower levels, to introduce more complex discourse, and also to expose students to the vocabulary of current issues in international affairs. Typical classroom activities will include presentations of current events, and brief follow-up discussions. This course largely consists of language for specific purposes as defined by the students’ professional field of interest.

Intermediate Mid II (Level IV)

This course focuses on language for specific purposes as defined by the school's academic programs. Topics related to Italian, European and global politics, international relations, and economics will be dealt with exclusively in Italian. Students will expand their vocabulary and improve their presentation and argumentative skills. The goal of this course is to make students independent users of Italian.

Post-Proficiency Levels

Intermediate High and above

After having reached the minimum proficiency level required for graduation purposes, students are encouraged to enroll in the more advanced courses, in which specialized language skills will be further expanded. Listening materials consist of extended newscasts and/or recordings from political speeches. Reading materials include feature-length articles on politics, international relations, and current events. Writing and speaking skills will also be further developed while reinforcing accuracy and argumentative strategies. Typical classroom activities include simulations, debates, and political discussions. The content is often tailored to the students’ professional needs (e.g., energy and environment, history, politics, etc.).

Italian can be used to meet the MA language graduation requirements of the programs within the international policy areas and the regional program of European and Eurasian Studies.
In order to pass the exams, students need to obtain the following levels:

Listening: Intermediate High
Speaking: Intermediate High
Reading: Intermediate High
Writing: Intermediate Mid

PhD students only need to pass the reading proficiency exam to meet their second foreign language graduation requirement.