Teaching in Rome


Here we go again. Ten years after my first extended stay in Italy, I finally have another lengthy visit planned. Last time, I lived in the Tuscan countryside, working on a manuscript that would become my first novel, THE DOMINO EFFECT. This time, I’ll be living in the city of Rome, teaching a travel writing course in the summer to undergraduates at John Cabot University. The other big difference between this trip and the previous one is that in preparation I’ll be learning Italian in a much different way. This time, I’ll be using Rosetta Stone.

My scattered methodology for studying Italian before my first excursion to Italy left me with, well, a scattered understanding of the language. There were things I knew well and things that just didn’t occur to me. Much of my time speaking Italian was a mixed bag of hit or miss. Sometimes, I felt confident and effective; at other times, I nodded and pretended to follow along, hoping to move on as quickly as possible. It was exhausting.

I associate my inconsistency with not having a solid foundation with the language. I’m already convinced that Rosetta Stone will remedy my weaknesses with Italian and help me move beyond proficiency into the realm of the fluent. My confidence is rooted in the manner in which the program functions. The diversity of exercises is the key. Language is covered in so many different ways (reading, listening, talking, writing) that it feels like very patient yet effective immersion. I, as an instructor myself, also recognise the effectiveness of repetition. Being exposed to the same patterns allows for a familiarity that leads to true knowledge.

I got this. When I arrive in Italy this summer, ten years after my first extended visit, they are going to think I never left.

Andrew Cotto is a writer and teacher who lives in Brooklyn, NY. He is the author of THE DOMINO EFFECT and OUTERBOROUGH BLUES: A BROOKLYN MYSTERY. Andrew’s articles have appeared in many national journals, including the New York Times, The Huffington Post, Men’s Journal, Salon.com, the Good Men Project and Teachers & Writers Magazine. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. More about Andrew can be found at his website.

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