In 2003 I scraped together my meager savings and signed up for the part-time MBA at Alma Business School, here in Bologna where I live.
At the time, freelance English teaching was keeping me busy all hours, but didn’t generate much of an income.
And as our third child had just been born, I was pretty desperate to get some kind of ‘proper’ career going.
For an MBA, it was amazingly cheap, probably because it was taught in Italian and by professors from Bologna university.
Who wants to do an MBA in Italian?
But still, I thought, “Two birds with one stone!”
It would force me to improve my language skills, and at the same time I’d be working towards a qualification which would hopefully get me my dream job.
The course began and the workload was intense.
There were books to read, lectures to attend, and regular exams to study for, some of which involved writing essays…
While I could scrape by with the reading, and keep a low profile during lectures and group work, it was clear that the written work was going to be an issue.
Up to that time, I had done exactly zero writing in Italian!
Fortunately, I was saved by lurking on the course’s online discussion boards.
There, I was able to read what my fellow students thought about the course topics, pick up some of the key vocabulary, and generally orientate myself.
It was also a fantastic place to get Italian writing tips.
I quickly figured out that, while my grammar was surely a lost cause (I’d never done an Italian course) and my vocabulary was desperately limited, the one thing that I could quickly and easily fix was my non-use of ‘linking words’.
The other students sprinkled their writing with words like ‘quindi’, ‘invece’, ‘inoltre’, ‘tuttavia’ and many synonyms thereof, terms which helped connect their ideas in a coherent sequence (and make them sound more ‘figo’.)
So I started to make a list, grouping the more common words into categories, like this:
CONTRAST: invece, mentre, pero, tuttavia
CAUSATION: poiche, siccome
RESULT: quindi, perciò
CONDITION: anche se, almeno che
A quick bit of dictionary work later, and I had a list of typical terms to memorize.
Come exam day, I would be able to supercharge my ‘unusual’ written Italian with expressions I’d copied from my classmates.
And lo, using this approach I managed to write something at least minimally coherent, and passed my first exam.
Time passed, and in 2005 I graduated.
After which I set about becoming rich and successful, by opening my own language school…
All this because of learning to write better!
The Italian writing course consists of five different writing tasks.
There are no fixed deadlines, so you can take as long as you want to get them done.
Your work will be corrected by a professional Italian teacher.
The course normally costs €50 (that’s just €10 per ‘lesson’), but until 20th June you can get it for the special launch price: just €37,50!
A number of OnlineItalianClub.com readers have already signed up.
They’ve been allocated their tutors, and are hopefully getting started right now on improving their Italian writing.
Why not join them?