Learning Italian is definitely the biggest challenge of being here. Being in a foreign country with different customs and ways of living (I have to weigh and label my produce before taking it to the check-out counter?) is hard, but not being able to ask questions and understand people very well makes it harder. Full immersion is probably the best way to learn a language, but, that’s not realistic for everyone. What has also helped me immensely and what I think is a great tool is the phone app Duolingo. It works much like Rosetta Stone, but without the several hundred dollar price tag. It’s a free download and can teach you Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese.
It starts with the basics of the language and it’s structure, and then works you through different language “skills” like food and clothing, verb conjugations, verb tenses etc. I’m only through 12 out of about 66, so it’s pretty in-depth. You also learn in different ways, sometimes translating from Italian to English, from English to Italian, sometimes from written text, sometimes spoken, and it has you repeat phrases to check your pronunciation.
I would highly recommend it to someone looking for a cheap (free) way to learn a Language.