Need to brush up on your Italian before a trip but can’t afford to take classes and hate workbooks? Here are five easy ways to practice Italian online for free.
1. Play DuoLingo
You’ve heard of DuoLingo– you probably signed up, played for a few weeks, got bored and forgot about it. Well, pick it back up again. On my last trip to Italy, I was surprised at how well I had maintained my Italian–my pronunciation and syntax were loads better than a year ago. Sign up for daily reminders and play just ten minutes a day. Whether you’re waiting in line, or for dinner to be ready, you can find the time. Plus, you never know when you’re going to need to know how to say something like this:
2. Find an Online Language Partner
This is like having your third-grade pen-pal back again, but so much cooler.
How it works: You set up your account, and select who you’re searching for and what language you can provide help with. I always look for a ‘native Italian speaker’ who is seeking to learn English. After you review some profiles, select a couple of good matches and wait for them to accept your request. Then, get chatting! As you send messages, your language partner will correct your grammar and spelling, and you can do the same to their messages. If you get more comfortable, you can even video chat. As a safety precaution, don’t reveal any identifying information about yourself, but do take this opportunity to learn more about Italian people and their culture. Some great websites to find a language partner are iTalki, GoSpeaky, WeSpeak, and Linqapp. Let me know which one is your favorite!
3. Follow Lucrezia
Learn Italian with Lucrezia is a YouTube channel I found a few years back, and I am so glad I subscribed. This is basically like having an Italian lesson on par with the ones I had in college, but for free on YouTube. She covers all topics, whatever your language level is, and now has a blog, an Instagram and a Snapchat (@lucreziaod). Anytime you have some downtime, I highly recommend you check out her social media channels. She speaks perfectly slow in simple, standard Italian and often translates it into English afterwards.
4. Listen to Italian Radio
This one is a no-brainer. I put it on in the car on my commute to work, and even listen to it with my headphones at the office. My favorite station is Radio KissKiss, a fun, upbeat station out of Naples. Don’t worry, they speak standard Italian dialect, and if you notice that there are a LOT of commercials for cheese, you’re right.
5. Subscribe to The Iceberg Project‘s weekly newsletter
Cher, the woman who runs the Iceberg Project is a certified Italophile and offers a range of free and paid Italian lessons. I signed up for her weekly bite-sized lessons about a year ago, and I’ve never looked back. She explains all the confusing things you wish you understood and even throws in some cultural tips every now and then. Subscribe here.
—> Bonus: Watch Italian movies on Netflix
Check out my latest Netflix round-up with the best Italian movies available to stream through Netflix.