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Review: Conversational Italian for Travelers

Ciao! Any of you who have read our post about Hello Pal will know that, as a transnational couple, we are always interested in untraditional language learning methods.

Having spent three months in Italy last year, and with plans to spend at least two months there this year, we feel it's high time to start learning Italian. 

Luckily, we think we've found the perfect little book to help us:

Weasel Squad, meet the pocket book, Conversational Italian for Travelers:

It's lightweight, but it's jam-packed with everything you need. 

Before we even open a book, we consider it's weight. We travel with just hand luggage only, so it's extremely important to us that books don't take up too much space. 

As you can see, it's ultra thin
With Conversational Italian for Travelers, there is no problem, the book is so lightweight and thin! This was the first thing we loved about it.

The downside of having a thin book, is that you often don't get all the essential information. But Conversational Italian for Travelers has managed to win that battle! It's just under 100 pages long, and each page is filled with important information, laid out in an easy to read way. 

We particularly love that the Italian is in blue and the English is in black - it makes for very easy reading. 

Conversational Italian for Travelers contains 5 sections: 

From experience, talking about food is the most important thing to know in Italian. And this book contains 13 whole pages dedicated to food. (Note, side effects may include being hungry):

Interview with Kathryn   herself
We caught up with the author of Conversational Italian for Travelers - Kathryn Occhipinti - to ask her some important questions:

Thank you for taking the time to talk about your book, first things first: What do you love about your book?
I love the fact that my book is not just a list of phrases, but also provides a method for the reader to understand some Italian and also to create their own phrases and to understand answers to questions they may ask. I especially like the sections on social interactions that visitors can use to get involved in Italian life, many of which are standard, and others written with a touch of humor.

I definitely agree that it's humorous book, as a writer myself, I find it hard to keep the balance between funny and professional, but you've achieved that well! Next question: Why do you think our readers should choose it over any other method?
I think your readers should choose this over any other method because it is tried and true. This book grew out of my real-life experiences traveling to Italy and teaching American students prior to their travels to Italy. I know that this book really does contain "everything you need to know" to travel to Italy and feel comfortable there, since it has everything I have had to learn to enjoy my visits there.

Excellent, being able to teach from your own experiences surely is the best way! Slightly similar question: Why do you think our readers should choose it over any other book?
I think your readers should choose it over any other book since it was written especially for them - for the adult traveler to Italy! The vocabulary and phrases every visitor to Italy needs to know to get around and interact in Italian society comfortably are all included in this book. My book also has my personal, entertaining approach and is a lot more fun and engaging then a dry textbook or a phrasebook written by a college professor.

I can confirm it truly is fun and engaging! What made you want to write this book?
Actually, I did not set out to write a book at first; it just evolved over time. The more Italian I learned, and the more I taught Italian to other adults, the more I realized that a unique book to teach Italian to adults would be helpful. Adults don't learn the same way children do, and the formal Italian taught in American schools is really not helpful to adults; adults have very special needs when they travel abroad and who don't have the many hours it takes to truly master a language. I am very good at organizing and presenting material from my medical background, and so it seemed natural to me to combine my experiences giving Italian classes and traveling to Italy into a book that others would find useful.

Cool! The book certainly appealed to the organised part of my brain too. What other advice would you give to those wanting to learn Italian?
Some advice for learning Italian or any other language: In order to speak in Italian, you must first learn to think in Italian! This means learning about Italian culture and the Italian approach to life in order to make the language come alive. Movies have been particularly helpful for me personally and as a teacher. Movies are easiest for the beginner to follow, with the story line and actor's gestures, and the Italian phrases can be listened to over and over again. Movies also give insight into Italian culture and expressions and how the language is really used. But anything that interests the individual student is helpful - music, You Tube Videos, Italian newspapers on line. Just get involved in what you enjoy about Italy and the language will come naturally!

100% agree with this, also we recommend watching the kids movies that you watched over and over again, because a) the language is easier and b) you know the English/your native version off by heart! 

Thank you so much for answering our questions! We wish you lots of success with your books! 

All in all, we love Conversational Italian for Travelers, it's lightweight, has all the essentials (and more)! You just can't go wrong with it and we highly recommend it.

To find out more (and get your own copy) head over to their website: LearnTravelItalian.com and check out their social media sites: Facebook Twitter YouTube and Google+

Also make sure to check out http://blog.learntravelitalian.com/ for cultural notes about Italy, Italian recipes and advanced lessons in Italian and https://conversationalitalian.wordpress.com/ which is an open group for beginners. 

Disclaimer: Travelling Weasels received this book on a complimentary basis in return for an honest review. We would never recommend anything we don't personally use and love ourselves, because that's not cool. 

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We're Laura and Tanbay, a British/German couple who have successfully weaselled our way out of the rat-race and want you to do the same!


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