It is almost April, and I have already come to the end of this inquiry project, but it will not be the end of my Italian studies. I have been in isolation with my family for over a week now, and hope of travelling internationally this year is dwindling, but our trip will likely only be postponed until next summer. Although cancelling the trip would be disappointing, this pandemic is affecting the whole world (and some much more so than me), I choose to see the situation positively. If we wait until next year, I will have another 12 months to practice Italian, and considering the progress I’ve made in the last three months, it will make an enormous difference. If I consider my language skills in the two circumstances, only viewing the trip as a factor in relation to my learning, I will stay motivated for longer if the trip is postponed. If the trip happened as planned, the odds that I will still be studying Italian come September are much lower.
I did not finish my project of learning an Italian song, unfortunately, since my time escaped me, but I have looked for opportunities to practice in different ways when it is possible. For instance, I was able to put my work into practice last week, when I messaged an Italian friend, who returned home at the beginning of the year. It came about because I asked her how she was doing (in Italian), considering that Italy has a large number of cases and deaths due to the Coronavirus. We messaged back and forth a bit in Italian, and I capitalized on the chance to test my skills. I used Google Translate to check my own messages, since I didn’t want to send grammatically incorrect texts, as well as to look up some words that she used. I probably could have managed a short conversation if I steered us towards the basics, but I chose not to. It is also notable that in the last few months, my dad started studying Italian as well. From time to time we will joke about our studies with words only the two of us understand. I am much farther ahead than he is, but if I can continue to motivate him, maybe soon we can study together and practice having conversations.
Since I started learning Italian in December, I have managed to practice for 95 days. In my opinion, that is a long time to consistently practice anything for. I had lofty hopes for this inquiry, but three months is not enough to learn a language. My excuse for not yet being proficient enough to fool the Italian locals is that I have a growth mindset and recognize that I am never finished learning. Duolingo was a great tool to learn Italian on, and was easy to use when I was lacking time or creativity. If I did not have the structure that Duolingo provided, I might not have progressed so much during school. I am proud of my progress, and I look forward to having more time to commit to this goal, once I finish my projects. I started seriously on this journey in December and if I have until next June or so when my family can travel to Italy, I am eager to see what experiences and conversations I will be able to have because of this skill.