Venice harbor
Dennis Sylvester Hurd--Used under creative commons license

Italy is one of the top ten economies in the world and many employers are seeking people who speak both Italian and English. It is one of the most attractive markets in Europe's largest economies. An estimated 7,500 American companies do business with Italy and more than 1,000 US firms have offices in Italy, including Chrysler, IBM, General Electric, Motorola, and Citibank. There are also numerous Italian companies with operations within the US, many right here in Minnesota. The 2015 Minnesota visit from Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero continued to strengthen business ties between Italy and Minnesota; he enthusiastically encouraged business collaborations and growth in trade with Minnesota. The opportunities are endless.

Learning the Italian language and culture broadens career paths. Italy holds world-class expertise in fashion, culinary art, architecture, music, interior design, furniture design, machine tool manufacturing, robotics, electromechanical machinery, shipbuilding, space engineering, construction machinery, and transportation equipment. 

According to UNESCO (the cultural and educational agency for the United Nations), most of the world’s cultural heritage sites are in Italy. Italian painters such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Bernini are a few of the most famous artists in the world—there is no shortage of fine artists from Italy.

The Italian language is the closest to Latin, the common ancestor of all Roman languages. Once students learn Italian, it's easier to learn another romance language such as French, Spanish, and Portuguese. Students who have learned Italian find the language skills along with the cultural competency built through the Italian studies extremely helpful when they connect with their friends and relatives in Italian. They are able to better understand their Italian family and acquaintances on a deeper level.


                            Italian Language Program

The mission of our Italian Language Program is to promote active learning and to foster a culturally aware, competent, and respectful community of learners. Through our courses (ITAL 1001, 1002, 1003, and 1004), we aim to engage students to:

  • Reflect on themselves as individuals, learners, and members of today’s society, understanding their personal and professional goals for language learning, identifying their strengths, challenges, and interests as learners of Italian.
  • Develop and refine their communicative abilities – interpersonal, presentational, and interpretive – at the beginner and intermediate levels of language proficiency, to successfully understand and interact with other Italian-speaking individuals as well as cultural artifacts pertaining Italian culture.
  • Form a community of culturally sensitive, competent, and critical-thinking individuals, locally and globally, becoming active members in their local settings and developing the intercultural skills necessary to successfully operate in an Italian-speaking context, both while traveling abroad as well as in virtual interactions.
  • Enhance their professional and technical skills, including digital literacies, time management, and the ability to interact with, analyze, and recreate a variety of texts over diverse genres and communicative modes (text, visual, aural).
  • Prepare themselves to be successful in upper-level courses (3000-level) offered by the Department of French & Italian on a variety of topics, including but not limited to history, visual arts, culinary arts, literature, and cultural studies.

View our department's Italian degree programs: