Over the past three semesters, I have had the opportunity to achieve something I have wanted to achieve since I was young: learn the language of Italian. While I am by no means fluent at the language, I feel that I have enough of a grasp of the language to engage in meaningful conversations with others. Because my grandfather was born in Bergamo and my grandmother learned the language in her youth, my interest in learning in Italian started quite young when I heard my grandparents speak in Italian. I was always curious to understand what they were saying, and I always hated not being able to join in on the conversation. The feeling was mutual and it was always the goal of my grandmother to have me learn Italian. I distinctly remember watching the children’s show Muzzy in Italian when I was at their house, but it proved to be of no help. I ended up studying Spanish in middle and high schools. And while I am glad that I studied the language, I always felt the desire to learn Italian at some point and fulfill my childhood dream. This became a reality when I realized I had to choose a language to pursue while at Duke. For me, a university setting was probably the best and only setting in which I could seriously begin to learn a new language. And over the course of three semesters, I have impressed not only myself, but also my family in how much Italian I have learned. 101 and 102 gave me the base to develop my writing, reading, and speaking skills. But, I believe 203 has helped me not only learn the language of Italian, but also apply it in situations that are more practical, while gaining a deeper appreciation and greater understanding of Italian culture. While I have been to Italy a decent number of times and I am relatively familiar with Italian culture through my family, I learned a great deal about Italy that I previously did not know about. I learned about Slow Food, the differences between Italian and Italian American food, and others’ experience with Italy, among many other things. Another thing I learned to do during the semester was to be able to apply the skills that I had gained in Italian to something more meaningful than conjugating verbs and writing hypothetical letters. I learned to analyze events, readings, and experiences in a thoughtful way using Italian. Sitting in 101, conjugating verbs in the present tense, I never thought I would be able to do these kinds of things in only three semesters. Overall, I am very happy with my Italian experience at Duke, and especially in 203. In many ways, I have achieved the goal I had as a child of learning Italian. That being said, I know I have a lot to work on and must continue to practice and use the language if I hope to improve my skills, no less maintain them. Learning Italian at Duke was a great experience and I hope you enjoy reading my portfolio about the skills I developed as well as the knowledge I learned throughout the semester.