I was lucky enough to spend three and a half months studying at Babilonia as a university student studying abroad. While I have Italian ancestry and family, I never learned the language. Hence, I chose Babilonia because I thought it would give me the best chance to speak Italian. I was not disappointed!
When I arrived in Sicily, I knew only a few Italian words (fettucine, pizza, grazie, etc.). Thanks to Babilonia, I can now have meaningful conversations with my Italian friends and family! Babilonia is a school completely based on immersion; the instructors and staff insist on speaking to you in Italian. This was intimidating at first, but it cultivated a learning environment where communication is valued and you are not judged if you make mistakes with the language. The students continue this environment, who also (while they might fluently speak another common language) always strive to speak Italian together during the many school-organized activities. This is unique among study abroad programs in Italy.
Besides the kind and helpful staff and instructors, my host family was amazing. Donatella, Pippo, and Gabri had an amazing amount of patience with me as I learned the language, and always encouraged me to speak—or try to speak. I felt like I was a part of a real family, which made the adjustment seamless and energizing. Oh and the food was amazing as well .
Thanks to Babilonia, I had some of the greatest experiences of my life and learned A LOT of Italian. The connections I made with my host family and new Italian friends will last a lifetime…sono contentissimo di aver scelto Babilonia! Grazie mille!