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Ciao Italia: Melanie and Antonio

Learning a language opens up new worlds of possibilities. For Melanie, the people and culture of Italy had been a fascination of hers since travelling there when she was younger. With the help of her tutor Antonio, she is now breaking down the barriers between being a tourist and being an active participant in that rich history and culture.

To learn Italian had been a dream of mine for years. What sparked this passion was a holiday I went on in Italy about 20 years or so ago; I learnt a little of the language back then for the trip, and I found the locals really appreciated the effort and were very friendly. I decided then that I would one day learn the language properly and return to Italy.

I find Italian society and culture incredibly compelling, as well as the language: I like the way the people are outgoing and friendly and because of the weather tend to live more outdoors and socialise a lot. The country has such a depth of history, architecture and art that you can't help but be drawn to it. I knew I wanted to learn the language properly, preferably from a native speaker, so I could explore all this richness from within the culture itself, instead of from an outsider's point of view.

I went on First Tutors and ran a search for Italian tutors in my area. I came across one called Antonio, and contacted him. He came back to me quickly, and before he'd even agreed to take me on he was teaching me some phrases through our correspondence! Planning the first meeting with Antonio went very well and was easy: we communicated by email and set a date and time for our first meeting, and then the day before he phoned me to introduce himself properly.

At my first meeting with Antonio I was very excited and nervous, I had never had private language lessons before so wasn't sure what to expect, but I was full of anticipation and couldn't quite

believe that I was finally starting the journey to fulfil my dream. My rapport with Antonio turned out to be excellent: he is a brilliant tutor, easy to talk to, very approachable, I felt at ease with him very quickly and not at all embarrassed if I made any mistakes, for example if I mis-pronounce some of words. He is very professional, knows his subject inside out, has a real passion for it and is very good at getting the information across.

The ongoing lessons with Antonio have already changed my life for the better because I thoroughly enjoy them, I find the subject fascinating and I am fulfilling my dream- and one day I will visit Italy again!

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