Why Study Italian?

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Italian is the fourth most-studied foreign language in the world and the fifth most-studied in the United States. It is also spoken in Switzerland, Vatican City, San Marino, Istria, the Balkans, the island of Malta, and parts of Africa. Over 17 million Americans claim Italian ancestry.

Italy is the third-largest economy in the eurozone and the world’s eighth-largest. Italy is also a world leader in machine tool manufacturing, with advanced technologies in robotics, electromechanical machinery, shipbuilding, space engineering, construction machinery, and transportation equipment.

The United States is one of Italy’s most important trade partners.

A leader in the culinary arts, industrial design, and fashion, Italy is the fifth most-visited country in the world, with 51 UNESCO World Heritage sites — the most of any country.

Italy was the birthplace of the Renaissance, which led to Italian becoming the language of the fine arts. Geniuses like Dante, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and Galileo hail from Italy.

Opportunities for Italian Majors

The Italian program offers numerous opportunities for students to learn about the Italian language and culture. Students may earn credit studying abroad for a summer, semester or year, and participate in the activities organized by the Italian Club.

Our students have been inducted into the Alpha of Alabama Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, honored as A&S Students Ambassadors, and nominated distinguished undergraduate scholars for academic excellence.

They have also received prestigious awards sponsored by the UA National Alumni Association and travel/study scholarships through the National Italian-American Foundation. They have interned at the U.S. Consulate General in Milan, and have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships to teach English in Italy.

Even though virtually all careers are open to Italian graduates, some of our students have continued in Italian and received an MA or a Ph.D., and now teach in schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S. and abroad.