Do you know that feeling you get when you actually finish something you started? Do you remember how you felt when you ticked an item off of your bucket list? Well, Hoboken residents Janine, Nicolette, and Angie sure do!
These three Hoboken gals are an inspiration and a reminder that despite the busy lives we lead, we can absolutely accomplish the things we’ve always dreamed of - if we set our minds to it!
So what did they do? A few years ago, each woman individually made the decision to learn Italian and committed to the experience wholeheartedly. Recently, all three have completed every level of Italian offered at Learn Language Hoboken. And to celebrate achieving fluency in Italian and the friendships they formed in class, they took a trip to the motherland together and had an amazing experience!
We are thrilled to share the wonderful language journey of these three ladies in our upcoming 3- Part Blog Series: “ITALIAN AT HEART”
Let’s start with Angie’s story:
I grew up in a small town in New Jersey where 95 percent of the population was comprised of Italian-Americans. These were a proud group of people; the type who bore the tricolored flag emblem on the back of their cars and argued over whether sauce or gravy goes on pasta. I, too, have always been proud to be an Italian-American. I always felt that being able to speak the language would really legitimize my claim to my cultural heritage. This lifelong sentiment was realized during a period where I really needed a distraction which made me ready to embark on the endeavor of learning Italian!
To get started, I did what most people do nowadays, I turned to Google. I was pleasantly surprised when my search for a language school dropped a pin in the basement of The Citadel Building right here in Hoboken. What better place to learn the Italian language than in Hoboken - the ideal, little city environment with authentic Italian roots?
Over the past 4 years, I spent more or less every single Tuesday with my Italian language teacher, Alberto, learning and practicing Italian. I can't imagine what life would be like without this class; it's grown into such a constant in my schedule. Plus, everyone in the class has become such close friends and frequently enjoys "Italian" activities together.
But that was just the tip of the iceberg. The culmination of learning Italian - and truly immersing myself in the experience - came when I decided to take a two-week trip to Italy with my Learn Language Hoboken classmates Nicolette and Janine. And it was an absolute adventure! We saw so many incredible, historic landmarks in Rome, Florence and the beautiful Amalfi coast. We ate SO WELL, and enjoyed the golden sun each and every day. The highlight of the trip for me was the cooking class we experienced at "Buca di Bacco" in Positano. The country is truly as beautiful as its language and its people.
Being able to converse with the people while in Italy really gave us an "in" with the locals. We transcended from being mere tourists simply because of our connection to the language, which made meeting and talking with the Italians such an enjoyable part of the trip.
Reflecting back to the beginning of this journey, the time spent learning Italian was well-worth the effort. I’m so thankful for my wonderful experience at Learn Language Hoboken, the friends I’ve met, the knowledge I’ve amassed, and the path it put me on to have a once-in-a-lifetime vacation in Italy!
In French, the term amour fou means “insane love,” and that’s certainly how the French feel about their famous cuisine! France is home to a renowned culinary scene and there are many dishes that are quintessentially French. As you learn to speak French, some words you’re sure to encounter are:
The French truly believe that meals and enjoying delicious foods are an immense pleasure in life. French food is influenced by region and includes some delicious staples like bread, cheese, and wine.
In France, you see various shops for each specific item, unlike in the U.S, where we get all our goods at a “supermarket.” The French typically purchase fresh food daily at “la Boulangerie” (bakery), “la Boucherie” (butcher shop), and “la Fromagerie” (cheese shop). Many French foods are known for their rich flavors, but most French people eat bread, wine and cheese daily – the simple things in life are sometimes the most delicious!
Let’s discover how each dietary staple is incorporated into the French way of life:
Fresh bread, made with only three ingredients – flour, yeast, and salt - is typically eaten for breakfast also known as a “tartine” which is a slice of bread with butter and/or jam and a cup of café (coffee), which is served strong, or a café au lait (coffee served with hot milk).
Cheese is a principal in the French diet, especially since there are over 400 distinct kinds of cheeses made in France, from cow, goat and ewe milk. Some names you might recognize are Blue, Roquefort, Boursin and Brie. Fun fact, the average person living in France consumes 45 pounds of cheese per year!
Everyone knows that France is famous for their wine, which is typically served with dinner. Some of the wonderful types of wines made in France include Chardonnay and Merlot, plus Champagne, the traditional drink enjoyed during celebrations.
At Learn Language Hoboken, we believe that part of learning a new language is understanding the nuances of what makes a specific culture unique, and most often, that includes the cuisine. That’s why we enjoy hosting cultural trips and events to give our students a “taste” of the cultural experience using all the senses.
The best way to learn French might be to converse with your peers over a meal of bread, wine, and cheese! Join us as Learn Language Hoboken hosts our next cultural trip to LE DISTRICT (World Trade Center) in NYC on June 10th, 2017. Click here to register today and join us for a fun, mini-lesson while enjoying some wonderful French foods!
At Learn Language Hoboken we love when students begin learning a new language. We’ve been helping students learn the beautiful Italian language for the past five years at our location in Hoboken – along with several other languages. Not only do we teach language, but we also offer immersion into the diverse cultures of each country where the primary languages are spoken. To learn a language it takes more than just speaking words. When learning Italian, for instance, the culture of Italy certainly impacts the language spoken. And when speaking Italian, you can’t truly immerse yourself until you understand the importance that food has on the Italian culture.
Food, for Italians, is a way to celebrate the every day with family and friends. In the U.S., we tend to think of meals as more of a necessity, rather than a relaxing time to unwind – eating in our cars on the way from one appointment to the next or grabbing a protein bar at our desk while we finish a project that’s on a deadline. In other countries, especially Italy, meals are taken more seriously. It’s not just about enjoying the delicious food and drink, but about taking a break and connecting with people; it’s truly more of a social event.
At Learn Language Hoboken, we believe in understanding the nuances of what makes a culture unique, and most often, that includes the cuisine. That’s why we enjoy hosting cultural trips and events to give our students a “taste” of the cultural experience using all the senses.
Join us as Learn Language Hoboken hosts our next cultural trip to EATALY (World Trade Center) in NYC on Saturday, April 29th. Click here to register today and join us for a fun, mini-lesson while enjoying some delicious Italian delicacies!
Post written by: Keara M. Piekanski