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The Breakdown

From the ancient ruins of the Roman Coliseum to the runways of Milan, there is no question that Italy has made unique contributions to society and culture. And no matter whether you’re contemplating the art in the Sistine Chapel, indulging in a cannoli or simply enjoying the ebullient cadence of the language, it’s hard to resist the lure of the Italian major.

As an Italian major, you’ll certainly have your fair share of classes focusing on conversation, composition and grammar. Fortunately, studying a language at the collegiate level goes far beyond those brick and mortar lessons. Indeed, you will be exposed to the culture, art and history of Italy. You’ll be able to study everything from the films of Federico Fellini to the plays of Luigi Pirandello (in the original Italian of course). Perhaps most exciting, you will likely have the opportunity to study abroad. And there’s no better way to learn a language than total immersion!

Should you decide to study Italian, you’ll need the patience and the fortitude required to achieve proficiency (not to mention fluency) in a foreign language. It also helps to have a good ear for accents and an appreciation for the nuances of grammar. Moreover, when studying another culture, it’s best to maintain an open mind. Finally, we recommend investing in a pasta maker (you won’t regret it).

Nuts and Bolts

Don’t fret; Italian majors don’t spend all of their time conjugating verbs. While grammar is certainly a part and parcel for the department, you’ll enroll in a variety classes designed to address all aspects of Italian culture and history. Course might include: Elementary Italian, Italian Phonetics, Advanced Composition, Dante’s Divine Comedy, Introduction to Translation Studies, Intensive Italian for Reading, Italian Theater, Italian Literature of the 19th Century, The Cities of Italy: Rome, Florence and Venice, Identity and Place in Italian Culture, The Renaissance in Italy and Italian Cinema.

Decisions, Decisions

Italian majors love to learn about different countries and cultures, from languages to literature and all topics in between. Therefore, they might also think about studying French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, English, Hebrew, Portuguese, art history, international business, political science, East Asian studies, international relations, Slavic studies, Latin American studies, African studies and anthropology.

What's Next

You might not believe it but as an Italian major you’ll be uniquely positioned. Indeed, the writing and critical thinking skills you’ll hone coupled with the international savvy acquired through studying another culture make you quite marketable. And while teaching and translation are common, noble and attainable positions, you will discover that you are not limited to those two professions. Certainly, many graduates find positions with Italian-owned companies involved in a variety of different industries. Others might seek employment in international education or with study abroad companies. A handful of Italian majors also land jobs with NGOs, doing aid work, although Italian is not as commonly spoken throughout the world as other Romance languages. The foreign service is another attractive route as is international business. Lastly, the tourism and hotel industries are popular, as they allow for a high degree of interaction with international clients.


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