Studying Italian in Milan, Helen’s story | ELLCI

Study Italian in Milan: Helena’s story

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Study Italian in Milan: Helena’s story


From Stockholm to Milan, passing through London: let’s get to know Helena!

Helena is a true cosmopolitan, her years spent in the most international European capitals are a precious experience, let’s discover together her advice to adapt to a new city and learn a new language.


Our chat with Helen

Ciao Helen, tell us something about yourself…

My name is Helena and I come from Stockholm. I am 35 years old and after studying Italian for one year, I am currently looking for a job to integrate more in Italy. So far I really like my life in Italy, what I miss is to go back to a routine, what I see as a normal life with a job and local friends …

What brought you to Italy?

It all started in London, where I met my boyfriend. When our relationship grow stronger and we reached the goals in our respective careers we felt that we were missing being close to our family, so we decided to leave London after many years and go living closer to one of our families.  We thought that the best option was to start in Italy. It was a great decision since I did not speak the language, but where there is a will there will be a success.

When did you start studying Italian and how?

Many years ago after a few months of work, I did a few months of Italian, but since I didn’t use the language I ended up forgetting everything. The first two weeks in Ellci were a bit easy and a good refresh, but after these two weeks I was completely lost and it was all new and difficult.

Have you encountered any difficulties?

Obviously Italian is not an easy language and it is very different from the languages ​​I already speak with gender differences, conjugations, different times and all irregularities, so I must say that I had to face many difficulties throughout the process, which is still in progress …

I add that at the beginning the biggest struggle was to communicate with the locals and do things on your own, because unfortunately you will rarely meet people who speak English, but life here knowing Italian has become much easier, even if there are more bumps along the way.

How has your life changed in Milan?

My life has been turned upside down since I moved to Milan. In London I worked 8-10 hours a day with the phone that rang even outside of working hours, doing something I loved and built a reputation for. I had my friends and I had my routines, I knew the city, even if it was only my home for 8 years, it was a comfort to know how life worked, even if it was different from what I knew in Sweden. Coming to Italy, not working, not speaking the language, not having friends, not having comfort was very difficult. I still miss the feeling of working, but I feel that life is slowly settling down and I hope that in the near future I will feel at home in Milan as I did in London with new routines and working life.

Do you have any plans for the future? Will you stay in Milan?

With a job, I see Milan as the place for the foreseen future, but Stockholm still has a great place in my heart and I hope that one day I will return there.

One thing you like about living in Italy and one thing you don’t like.

For me, the climate, which is certainly better than the one it comes from, is a great positive point, but also that people are warmer at the first meeting. The food is amazing and the country is beyond amazement with so much to see. 

The thing that I like least or that I could do with a huge improvement is the bureaucracy which is slow, poorly educated and unorganized for Italians and even worse for foreigners.

What would you recommend to anyone who starts studying Italian and dreams of living in Italy?

The most important thing I would recommend to someone studying a language is never to give up. It will be difficult, there will be things that will be difficult for you but easy for others and vice versa, but in the end, with practice you will improve. 

Don’t be shy, try to speak, listen to Italian music, watch Italian films and news, read Italian books, in the beginning, it will be difficult but they are so useful to improve the language and develop it according to a habit.

To live in Italy, be prepared that if you do not speak the language you will have difficulty communicating since English is not always spoken, especially in government places. Fasten your seat belt for a journey full of food, culture, history and breathtaking places to see.


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