Relocation to Italy – By Marie Tyler (HR manager)

I am the HR manager for BiCortex Languages, originally from the UK, four years ago I relocated to Italy. I have lived in other countries before, such as France in my early 20’s. My family are based all across the world and travelling has always been a big part of our lives. Having an Italian grandmother and father who was born in Italy to British and Italian parents, these two countries have always had the strongest connection for me and I would like to give some advice on my experience of relocating.

Learning a new language – start as young as possible

I grew up in the UK and of course had Italian lessons when I was younger, however as time went on I did not continue with this and I do wish I had (it would have helped me greatly today now that I live in Italy). I have witnessed that children are apt at picking up languages at an early age and I think it is a strength for children to be multilingual, it will assist in their future. At BiCortex face to face and online language programs are available and we have a large network of teachers specialised in teaching young learners. These lessons can be done in the comfort of your home, at a neutral location or online. This will not only assist in their future but help them create friendships, assimilate into other cultures, broaden their horizons and help them at school.

Cultural awareness as part of your learning

It is important to understand the culture of the country you are moving to and ensure you do not have an idealised view of the country. There are positives and negatives to every country you move to, for example I have seen expats move to Italy with an idealised view of drinking red wine in the sunshine and having a carefree lifestyle.

However, you must also understand that it gets cold in the winter too and administrative processes are much more difficult.

The internet is not as advanced in certain areas, not everything is available at the touch of a button or with an online form you need to fill in. The laid back lifestyle also applies to business here, processes have not changed and having been used to doing everything online in the UK, it was frustrating to find you have to visit offices between certain times, things take weeks if not months to resolve and you often have to chase for things to get done. However, I think this needs to be viewed as a positive.

This means the culture is maintained and the positives outweigh the negatives, Italy has in my opinion one of the most beautiful cultures in the world. Markets, festa’s and the community spirit that has been lost with technology in many countries is still prevalent.

BiCortex provides cultural awareness training and for any relocation to any country I would recommend this. I have learnt many things living here that I wish I had known before, you do not want to get caught out if someone offers you a “Caffè corretto” which means correct coffee and you might be thinking it sounds great, to then realise you have been handed alcohol in your coffee!

Also ordering a cappuccino after lunchtime might get you a funny look in the bar, as this is considered a breakfast drink! Italy loves their traditions and are rightfully so reluctant to change this, there is only one Starbucks in Italy which is in Milan for the tourists, so don’t expect to go into a bar and order a “Venti caffè” as you will end up with 20 espressos!

Immersion and the barriers to learning the language

It is important you join in, when relocating it is lonely at the beginning and this can make it hard, you may also doubt whether you made the right choice but if you stick with it and try your best to make connections it will be worth it! It took me about 6 months to settle, I started off by taking face to face lessons for Italian but you also need real life interaction to integrate into your new home. Italian’s are friendly and if you try to speak their language you will soon find yourself being invited into their homes, being given gifts of home made pasta and not only that but a true friendship.

When you have this you also have a support system, Italians are always willing to help each other and spending time together will only help your language skills and immersion into the culture. So how did I do this, I started by making daily trips to the local bar and having a coffee and starting to try and communicate, soon I made friends and this meant as well as learning the structure of the language from my face to face lessons, I was also learning dialects, ways of speaking as well as understanding different accents which in turn greatly improved my language skills and my sense of belonging.

Covid and post Covid times – how does it affect students of Italian language

In the current pandemic it seems difficult to see a time when we can move freely and relocation might be less daunting. However I believe that, Covid has forced a change that will mean more technology and online working will be more prevalent following this.

Learning a language is much more accessible now, BiCortex has a virtual learning platform that is specific for teaching online and has some great tools that make the lessons feel more like face to face. For example the Virtual classroom, has features that allow the teacher to prepare lessons with materials and even interactive activities that the student can directly annotate on, no need to send materials prior to lessons. In this way the flow of information is much more streamlined. For anyone interested in learning another language or thinking of relocating in the future, start learning sooner rather than later, our teachers will adapt their methodology to meet your needs and you will be sure to enjoy an engaging and fun learning experience.

Online group language lessons have transformed how we study languages. They let students to learn from the comfort of their own homes, removing geographical constraints and frequently lowering prices. Because online platforms are interactive, they promote collaborative learning by allowing students to participate in real-time discussions, practice with peers, and receive immediate feedback. This dynamic setting has the potential to expedite language acquisition and improve cultural understanding.

 Corporations, on the other hand, stand to profit greatly from company in-person and self-paced language courses. Face-to-face encounters encourage nuanced learning, team building, and guarantee that staff are on the same page, particularly when preparing for overseas tasks or working with global clients.

Language lessons are also essential for relocation assignees too. They not only help with successful communication in a new nation, but they also help with the adjustment by offering insights into local culture, customs, and etiquette. These seminars, when combined with relocation training for assignees, guarantee that assignees can adapt easily, both professionally and socially, into their new surroundings.

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