Crash Course Italian: 5 Phrases to Learn as You Prepare to Study Abroad in Italy

Students who study abroad at John Cabot University have the opportunity of a lifetime: a chance to complete a semester of their studies at a campus in the heart of Rome. This is an education not just in academics but also worldview and culture. A big part of that cultural experience is acclimating to the Italian language. 

Though JCU is an American university composed of a multicultural student body, and many Italians living in Rome understand English, learning a bit of Italian can be exciting. Learning a new language is a great way to stretch your brain and see the world in a whole new way. Read on to learn five great Italian phrases to learn in preparation for studying at JCU.

Prepare to Start Saying “È Bellissimo”

While spending time studying in Rome, Italy’s awe-inspiring center, you’ll get the chance to see a lot of beautiful things. Between the quaint piazzas that you can do your daily shopping at, the sparkling Tiber River that winds through JCU’s campus, and the antiquated beauty of ancient monuments, there will be a lot to admire. Express your admiration for what you see by using the phrase è bellissimo. In English, this phrase means “it’s beautiful.” Be sure to make use of it when someone shows you a piece of art or a historical artifact.  

Have the Phrase “Quanto Costa” Ready  

While you study in Italy, you’ll be able to enjoy the delicious, world-renowned Italian cuisine. When navigating restaurants and cafes, you’re sure to be tempted by a sweet scoop of gelato or an excellent bowl of pasta. However, it’s important that your eyes not grow too big for your wallet. Direct the phrase quanto costa at the barista or merchant before you purchase something, so that you aren’t surprised when the bill arrives. Directly translating to “how much does it cost,” the respondent will let you know how many euros to put on the counter. 

Tell Your Friends and Classmates “In Bocca Al Lupo” 

Though part of the student experience at JCU is relaxation, travel, and enjoyment, students are there to receive a high-quality education at an esteemed American university in Italy. Students work hard and apply themselves honorably to their studies, building their successful futures. As you and your classmates prepare to take tests and complete assignments, you’ll find a helpful phrase in in bocca al lupo. Though it literally translates to “into the wolf’s mouth,” it’s a common phrase that Italians tell each other before a difficult task, similar to the English “break a leg.” It’s used to wish the other person good luck. If a friend directs this phrase at you, you can respond with crepi il lupo: “may the wolf die,” meaning that you hope to prevail. 

Keep Calm and Know “Andrà Tutto Bene” 

For many students, studying abroad can be a big leap of faith. It can be intimidating to find yourself in another country, without the normal comforts of home, family, and the English language. But students at JCU can rest easy and just remember the phrase andrà tutto bene. This phrase is meant to be reassuring, translated loosely as “everything will be alright.” If a friend or classmate ever finds themselves afraid or nervous, approach them with this sentence to let them know it’ll all be okay in the end. 

Study Abroad and Experience “La Bella Vita!”   

Students who study abroad in Italy have an unforgettable experience that will change the way they view the world. Many describe how interesting they found the pace of Italian culture, which tends to be more relaxed than the American way of life. As students learn to slow down, enjoy the little things, and not overwork themselves, they might find resonance in the phrase la bella vita. Translated as “the beautiful life,” the phrase is used to describe a lifestyle that’s laid-back, happy, and calm. However, it isn’t viewed as a positive thing to lean into la bella vita all the time. It’s important to strike a balance between work and rest, and students will learn that Italians know how to do this best. 

Studying in Rome will make you feel like you’re living “la bella vita”

Do you want to take a chance and study abroad in Italy? 

Contact John Cabot University for more information!

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