We’ve had the honor of having a pleasant chat with Aina Llopis Castell, an Italian teacher for foreigners in Spain. Aina shared with us some advice to improve your italian and she told us how she managed to reach the C2 level in the Italian language even though she never lived in Italy.
BILINGUAL Interview (Spanish – Italian)
Hello, Aina. How’s it going?
Hello! Everything’s fine.
Aina, we know that you’re Spanish, but tell us more about yourself!
Okay! As you said, I’m Spanish, from Valencia, I did my undergraduate degree in Italian Studies, then I went to Bari where I did an internship and taught Spanish at the University of Bari. Then I specialized as an instructor, and now I teach Italian for Spaniards here in Valencia.
How old are your students?
I work in a language school, so it ranges from 16 years old, up to retirement age.
Now that you’re not in Italy anymore, how do you keep your Italian fresh? It’s perfect, if not improved compared to the last time we saw each other in Bari.
I speak Italian during lessons but it’s not enough, because I live in Spain and here the opportunity of speaking Italian is obviously reduced. I practice on italki, which is a platform for learning languages, with tutors and teachers that are native speakers, and so I would say that this way saved me a little!
In regard to italki… We would like to answer a question asked by a lot of you in the comments:
Graziana, can I do individual lessons with you?
The answer is YES!
Anyone can reserve individual lessons with me online! For many years I have worked as an Italian instructor on italki, the largest platform for language teaching. Registering with italki you’ll have the possibility of studying with highly competitive tutors and instructors, selected through a long process, in which not only their resumé is considered, but also passing an intense interview, and for this thousands of users choose and are satisfied learning languages on italki. As confirmed by the over 10,000 positive reviews on TrustPilot.
But… if the instructors on italki are so good, it must cost a lot to do lessons with them? And the answer is no! Anyone on italki can determine a starting rate, there are instructors that offer individual lessons, starting from $10 an hour! A rather reasonable price, no? Clicking here you’ll be able to create a FREE account on italki and start choosing your instructor!
Since we find ourselves in the holiday season… if after registering with italki and you invite a friend of yours to do the same, you’ll receive $15 and your friend will receive $10 to use to reserve lessons.
How do you feel about the role of an Italian instructor?
I love it because I can liken it to what I’ve studied and I know the difficulties that the students have.
Why did you choose Italian as a language to study and to teach after?
I’ve always liked languages, I had a particular interest in both Italian culture and obviously the language. When I began studying, I also discovered Italian literature. So, I would say that it wasn’t really a choice, its a little bit of a calling.
Do you also teach Italian culture?
Above all, I teach grammar and vocabulary, but obviously I always put something related to culture because it’s important! I talk a lot about Bari, also the difference between North and South.
Is it easier to learn or teach Italian?
This question is very very difficult. Whether it be for learning it or teaching it you have to apply yourself. At the beginning, for us Spaniards it can seem like a rather easy language, but then there are a lot of different things that can create confusion: we can think that they are similar to Spanish, but they aren’t. This happened to me many times with students who can’t seem to understand the reasoning.
Isn’t it true that Italian and Spanish are the similar?
There are things that can cause problems, above all in grammar, but also a lot of false friends.
We can see that you speak very very well, how much time is needed to reach your level of Italian?
It’s hard to say… In my opinion you need to live many years in Italy and above all never stop learning new things.
Would you like to spend time in Italy?
Yes, it’s important.
Would you like to go back to Bari or go somewhere else?
I have to go back to Bari because it was very special to me, but I would like to also know other areas, to live, not only just to visit. But I would say that above all that the South is what I like the most!
A negative aspect about Italy or Italians?
I would say… welcoming but close-minded. Obviously not everyone… Maybe not as tolerant, even if I didn’t have problems like this.
What gives you the most difficulties? Grammar, vocabulary or pronunciation?
There’s a lot of things… A lot of times my students ask for a very specific vocabulary that I don’t even know in Spanish! You can’t know every word. I would say… the propositions (I still struggle using them well), because in Spanish it’s different. Then pronunciation of the voiced “s” and the difference between “v” and “b”, because in Spanish they don’t exist. Everyday I make an effort to improve these small things. I watch a lot of films, a lot of series, every so often I talk with you on italki or with some friends, and also songs.
Qual è il tuo cantante preferito italiano? Who’s your favorite Italian singer?
I listen to a ton of Italian music, but now the Måneskins: I already knew them before and I like them a lot. Also Ultimo, but there are so many.
Which Italian series are you watching?
Generazione 56k is the last one that I saw.
Do you like dialects a lot? In Suburra and Gomorra they use a lot of… Roman… Neapolitan…
es! In fact I would say that these two dialects are the ones I like the most. Neapolitan and Roman make me go crazy. And then Barese!
In a year in Bari have you learned some words in the Barese dialect?
I learned “money”… “L’TRRIS”! It’s also a rude expression…
Bad words are always the first thing you learn when living in another country! Would you like to learn an Italian dialect?
At the moment I’m happy with Italian!
You’ve done a great job!
Thank you! If I think about it, before going to Bari I couldn’t even manage to say a word… and now I’m speaking with you. I’m proud of myself!
What was the resource you used the most to learn Italian?
One that I already used as a student, is a page, perhaps Spanish, that’s called Impariamo italiano and obviously LearnAmo! Either for grammar, or for vocabulary and culture, they help me so much whether it be for preparing a lesson or for going over more difficult things! Also my students use LearnAmo.
So your students will be happy to see you on LearnAmo! They’ll be proud of their teacher! We salute them! Any advice for the LearnAmici?
First of all, I would say to be connected with Italy, either watching videos on Youtube, reading in Italian, or listening to Italian music. And then if there’s the possibility of speaking with Italians, for example through lessons with you is even better! Because like this there are all of the skills: listening, oral practice… And never stop! Bring a piece of little Italy to your own country, that’s what I do!
Thank you so much, Aina, for dedicating your time to us and accepting our invitation! If you are looking for more advice and suggestions to learn foreign languages, we suggest taking a look at the interview that we had with an English polyglot who learned Italian with us!