In addition to being an exceedingly beautiful language, there are many other reasons for wanting to learn to speak the language. Study of Italian as a second language continues to increase in popularity both nationwide and at Hamilton College. In fact, according to a recent survey of high school foreign language students conducted by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, “If given the option, more students would choose to study Italian than any other foreign language.” Apart from the rich cultural heritage to be explored with over 60% of the world’s artistic treasures, Italy has the 7th largest economy in the world and is part of the Group of Eight (G8) leading industrialized countries whose employers search for people who speak both Italian and English. Approximately 7,500 American companies do business with Italy and more than 1,000 U.S. firms have offices in Italy including IBM, General Electric, Motorola, Citibank, Fiat & Chrysler, ABB, Nestlé, Luxottica, and Price-Waterhouse-Coopers. In addition, many Italian firms have offices in the U.S.
Students at Hamilton are currently able to take up to five semesters of Italian. They are encouraged to experience full immersion in the language and culture by studying abroad in Italy through one of the college’s approved study programs during their junior year or during the summer. Italian classes at Hamilton College are highly interactive, and they focus on obtaining both communicative and cultural competency. As part of the overall experience of becoming linguistically proficient in the language, students also develop cross-cultural skills through exposure to Italian music, films, literature, art and current events. Students are encouraged to practice their language skills and experience Italian culture through a variety of activities on the Hill including the Tavola Italiana, Italian Movie Night and field trips to the Syracuse Opera.
True beginners of Italian start with Italian 110 while those with previous experience with the language will take a placement test in order to be placed at the appropriate level of Italian. Please note that Italian is not currently offered as a major or a minor at Hamilton.