As part of initiatives to facilitate stronger business and cultural ties with Zimbabwe, the Italian embassy in Harare has launched an introductory course in Italian language and culture. The 12-week course called the A1 level will be offered to all interested Zimbabweans free of charge with instruction from native Italian language teachers.
Italian is widely taught in many schools around the world and is actually considered the fourth or fifth most taught foreign language in the world. Many words of Italian roots are commonly used in other European languages, especially with reference to art and music, design and fashion.
A1 level of competence allows interaction with Italian speakers in a variety of business and social settings. Successful students will have the ability to use familiar everyday expressions and to carry out basic conversations that allow them to interact successfully with Italian language speakers.
Commenting on the course, teacher and programme leader Ms Olga Filippa said: "The course makes extensive use of multimedia teaching aids and its focus is on everyday verbal communication in diverse contexts and settings."
She said by the end of the course students will have acquired essential vocabulary for basic communication and interactions in situations that include ordering a meal, asking for directions and buying travel tickets.
"Our classes provide training in all the basic communication skills -- listening, speaking, reading and writing -- accompanied by a systematic study of grammar.
"Through this approach, the student plays a central role by learning through pair and group work, as well as role play. The teacher acts as the facilitator of communication," said Ms Filippa.
Students will receive a certificate of attendance at the end of the instruction programme. The standards of the A1 level Italian language course are in line with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ratified by the Council of Europe, which ensures uniformity and consistency of teaching in line with other language institutions worldwide.
The key objective of the Italian embassy initiative is to strengthen the growing business and cultural ties between Italy and Zimbabwe.
In a statement, the Italian embassy in Harare said the A1 level course is designed to benefit those
individuals that travel to Italy for business or leisure as well as those that have local dealings with
Italian companies, tourists, business delegations and artistes.
Over the past four years the Italian embassy has actively promoted business ties between the two countries and has used its official stand at the major business and tourism exhibitions in Zimbabwe to facilitate and encourage the presence and participation of Italian companies in the local economy.
The embassy also promotes the exchange of ideas and creativity through its culture exchange programme, which has seen the participation of Italian artistes in the Harare International Festival of the Arts and the October International Jazz and World Music Festival.