Can I get by without speaking Italian??

Posted by Melissa Janson 4 years 2 months ago


Definitely. I didn't speak a lick of Italian why studying abroad in Perugia back in 2006 and survived just fine. This is particularly true in the big tourist cities (Rome, Florence, Venice).

That being said I definitely regret not learning more Italian, and would encourage you try while you're there! Learning the language will make the whole experience that much more enjoyable and impactful, plus the locals will appreciate the effort.

It depends where you are studying, but likely yes you can get by just fine without the language. I also encourage you to learn as much as you can while you're there! It's an incredibly beautiful language, and being able to speak even just a little bit will open you up to new experiences while abroad!

I found the Italian people to be exceptionally patient with beginner-level Italian, so learn as much of the language as you can - even before you go! In any of the larger cities or more common tourist locations, it will be fairly easy to get by speaking English.

When I got to Florence I knew zero Italian, although I had taken several years of Spanish, which was very helpful. It is quite easy to get by with English alone, but even easier to get by once you start to learn some basic Italian. In general the people are friendly (and used to tourists) so that are very patient and understanding if you speak limited Italian.