Learn Italian in Sulmona
“A different language is a different vision of life.”
We are delighted to introduce Italian teacher, Paola Fraioli.
Paola is offering tuition throughout the year for visitors and longer term residents.
Paola Fraioli, a qualified teacher who is originally from Milan, has spent the last 24 years in Ireland. She loves teaching Italian and speaking languages. Having recently discovered Abruzzo she has moved to Pacentro with her family. The mountains and food are her twin passions so she is in the right place. Creativity and innovation applied!
You can get in touch with Paola on 00 39 333 847 8426 or pafeille4 @ gmail.com to discuss availability and prices, or subscribe to her dedicated Facebook group.
In the meantime, we thought you’d like to learn a little bit more about Paola so we asked her some questions:
Tell us a little bit about your family
I grew up in Milan. I was very lucky as we had a small house but the garden was quite big; we had apricots, cherries, grapes, peaches and lots of flowers. On Sunday all the relatives joined us and we always had lunch together. And this was just a twenty minute bus ride from the Piazza del Duomo.
What about your early years?
When I was young I really did not know what I wanted to do. I studied accountancy, so that I could get a job without having to go to University. I was not considered ‘academic’ by my family.
After a few years of working in an office, I realised that there was more to life and decided to start travelling. I ended up in the US and then after coming back to Italy for a short while I went to Latin America.
I travelled for a year across Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. In the subsequent years, after I came back from South America, I spent some time in Milan, but I was always on the lookout for a new place to go. I had a friend who had gone to Berlin and so in 1986 I moved there and worked for a while in bars and restaurants. I met my first husband there, an Irish man, and had my first child in 1989, the year the Berlin wall fell. Very exciting times! As Berlin was becoming the capital, my husband and I decided to go to Ireland and raise our child in a smaller and more child-friendly environment.
Tell us about your teaching career in Ireland
I learnt a lot in Ireland and this is where my teaching career started. Almost by chance and because I was an Italian native speaker, I started to teach Italian in adult education. I realised for the first time in my life that I had found something that I really enjoyed doing! Through distant learning I got my Degree in Italian Studies and then a Masters in Education Science. At this stage I had had my second child and my second Irish husband. I got then a permanent position at the Institute of Technology in Waterford as a lecturer and worked there teaching Languages and Communication until last year.
What prompted you to return to Italy?
I was just reading something on Facebook, posted by one of my friends, by Pablo Neruda: “Lentamente muore chi non viaggia…”. Or as my mother always said: I had fire under my bottom!!!
We were always travelling to Italy for the summer and after so many years of not living here, I had rediscovered some of the positive things that Italy could offer, like the weather, life outside, better food, and probably a better education system. So I took a career break and we moved here. My husband had always stayed home minding our child and he also loved the idea of trying something new.
Why did you choose Abruzzo and specifically Pacentro?
Trekking is what we love doing and what better place than Pacentro! We bought a house here eight years ago and we are now here full-time!
How is your life different now?
Our life is definitely less stressful. We walk a lot and most of the food that we eat is produced by somebody we know. That counts for a lot. A bit less money, but as so much research shows these days, not a very important aspect in being able to reach happiness (or something close to it!).
What are your special tips for learning Italian? What’s easy, what’s not so easy? How should people try to get started?
Motivation, motivation, motivation. Make sure you know why you want to learn Italian. You could probably be in Italy and function by only speaking English, but if you are here on holiday or because you have a house, it is so much more fun if you can understand what is going on, and there is the satisfaction that comes by being able to achieve something in the target language.
Also, as language and culture are intrinsically linked, you’ll be able to appreciate and experience so much more of the country.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Italians love people who make the effort to learn their language.
Remember that there isn’t only one way of learning, we all have different brains and process information in a variety of ways. So use a variety of methods; there are a lot of websites on the Internet, choose the one that suits your learning pattern; listen as much as you can in Italian: cd’s, lessons, people talking.
Italian is a phonetic language so pronunciation is not very difficult for English speaking people. We have the tricky double consonants, and the ‘gn’ and ‘gl’ sounds, but nothing that cannot be overcome.
People often say that Italian grammar is a bit difficult, but getting to grips with the grammar of another language does wonder for your own language!
Get out there and use it!