SOUTH AFRICAN guy Explains how he LEARNT ITALIAN through online lessons

By now you have already heard so many times that learning a foreign language through individual classes with native speakers is often the best solution to achieve exceptional results. In this video we had the pleasure of interviewing Robert Shone, a South African boy who learned perfectly the Italian language thanks to our individual Italian lessons. Listen how he speaks well: you will not believe your ears!

Learning Italian with private online lessons

In this article we will bring the testimony of Robert Shone, student of LearnAmo for more than a year, who has reached the C2 level of Italian thanks mainly to our one-on-one Italian classes. Below you will find our questions and his answers, to know his secrets and understand how he managed to reach such a high level, and what was his experience.

The interview with Robert Shone

When did you decide to study italian?

I started about two years ago, but before I had studied using apps like Duolingo, not a big deal… then, 18 months ago I decided to move to Italy, to Rome, and at that moment I decided to take it seriously. I found Learnamo online, this wonderful site, and I decided to book private Italian lessons with you. For a year I only learned online and it helped me a lot to improve my level, there is still room to improve but… finally ten months ago I moved to Rome, now I live there.

Besides our lessons, what did you do to continue practicing Italian?

I do homework (many homeworks) and I always study, this is the trick, really! I am a geek, let’s say that, I do everything in Italian: I only listen to Italian radio, I watch TV only in Italian, at my house there is no English anymore. I gave up English completely. Unfortunately, I still have to work in English, communicate with my family and friends… but at home no, there is no longer English, my mother tongue, is a forbidden language.

What were your difficulties as a native English speaker in learning Italian?

There are so many, still today, absolutely! For example, the various accents are really difficult because, especially in the supermarket, is always an unpredictable situation, you never know, so I’m always nervous when I go shopping. For example, there is the word “good day” that bothers me so much, so I always try to go to the supermarket at night, because it is easier to say “good night” and I always want to be polite. Pronunciation is the most annoying thing.

And what do you find difficult about grammar?

About grammar I find difficult: the impersonal SI, the pronominal verbs, the particle CI, the prepositions… the preposition DA is my favorite, because it means everything: to, from, etc! The context is very important in Italy! Speaking of the DA preposition, I will never forget my first lesson, which I did with Professor Rocco Dabellonio, during which I said something stupid: “I come from Capetown in Italy to you”. Rocco looked at me sideways, with a slightly confused look… I admit that DA is still a bit difficult to use, because it expresses the origin and also the direction towards which you go. It creates various problems for us foreigners, because there is no such word in English.

It seems to me that all your efforts have been rewarded, with all your lessons and all your efforts, you have really reached a very, very high level!

Thank you! But it is really difficult to recognize the difference, for me of course, because it is not a linear process and I want to emphasize this fact. Because for a student, there are days when you feel comfortable and then there are days when you can’t speak a word. It’s normal for everyone, there are terrible days to forget… 

What impressed you the most about Italy, the Italian language, Italian culture? What made you fall in love?

Good question! In Italy I feel comfortable, for some reason. Because especially in Rome, despite being a chaotic city, there is beauty everywhere and it is also authentic. I don’t know, it makes me feel more relaxed. Culture is always interesting, of course, then there is the obsession with food… The food is not the most important thing for me, because I am a bit weird, I do not love pasta (do not kill me!). Everyone is in love with Italian food all over the world, but the culture is more interesting, people are nice, there is always a very relaxed atmosphere. Life is more important in Italy, but in my country, South Africa, life is always based on work, work is the most important thing. But here you live to the fullest!

What,  of Italy, you have not found elsewhere?

For me the right word is PASSION, because Italians are so passionate about anything. For example, food, beauty, there is always passion, there is always a great emotion behind any act or any action, it is always this, because you live to the fullest. Here art is always appreciated, while elsewhere it is only for a specific group.

Many foreigners tell us that despite studying Italian for years they can not understand anything or speak fluently when they arrive in Italy. How did you do it?

Especially at the beginning, when I arrived in Rome, I didn’t understand practically anything, at the supermarket, for example, because the Roman accent is very strong. Especially in an environment like a supermarket or a bank is even more difficult today, with the mask, because it prevents conversation. So it was a pretty peculiar experience, it was difficult, it’s really a challenge and it remains a challenge. It’s a good thing that I bought your Italian course (Italiano in Contesto) that helped me a lot to understand how to manage the various daily situations, because those are the most difficult situations. It gave me concrete help in getting by in Italy, for example, in the bank or at the dentist or gas station to fill up. Italiano in Contesto is a fantastic course because you are preparing for these situations of real life: it is a unique course, it has helped me a lot.

What are your plans for the future?

Good question! It is difficult at the moment to plan for the future, because the future is so uncertain, but I think I have found my place in the world now in Italy, I think. It can always change because I’m a flexible person. My intention is to stay here for quite a while I can, because of course there are legal limits, but I want to overcome them. I hope it is my permanent place in life, because I really feel good about it!


Thank you Robert! We are very proud of your success with the Italian language and we are pleased to know that you are happy in Italy!

If you, like Robert, want to join our Italian course (Italiano in Contesto), you are lucky: we have decided to offer an exceptional discount! Using the coupon code ROBERTO, you will have unlimited access to Italiano in Contesto at the special price of 60 euros. Take a look, we highly recommend it: Italiano in Contesto is the only course in the world based entirely on the Contextual Method!

Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!

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