Learning a language requires effort, there's no doubt about that. But I've actually learned the hard way that it's not enough to just live in a country and expect to absorb the language like a sponge. We're not children anymore and our brains just don't work that way, I believe that's also been proven scientifically. While I understand perfectly well most day-to-day conversation, I still keep a running list of words that I've had to look up. This list is one way I stay actively involved in learning Italian, despite living in Italy. It's so easy to just glide over a word in a newspaper, read the rest of the sentence, and get the general idea of the phrase without ever taking the extra minute to run it through Word Reference (the bible for language learners). I've realized that doing this is cheating though and my Italian vocabulary is likely to stay stagnant as a result. So one of my favoured techniques is keeping this list of vocabulary on an app called "Paperless" and reviewing it every now and then, for example when waiting for the pullman (hilarious Italian word for bus). Give it a whirl and even if you remember one word from your list, that's one word more than you knew yesterday!
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Jasmine is a former pharmacist turned freelance writer, foodie, and fashionista from Alberta, Canada living "the sweet life" in Bergamo, Italy.
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