Italian is an official language of Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, and the Vatican City. In Europe, Italian is the third most widely spoken language and is one of the main working languages of the European Union. Worldwide, Italian is the fourth most frequently taught second language. According to the Foreign Service Institute, Italian is ranked as a Category 1 language, making it one of the fastest languages to learn! If that’s not reason enough to study the lanaguage, consider the following:

  • La dolce vita. Italy is world-famous for its history, art, cuisine, music, and culture. In fact, UNESCO recently found that 60% of the world’s art treasures are found in Italy.
  • Italian cuisine is serious business. Italy has a rich culinary history and Italians are serious about their mealtimes. In fact, the Italian language has the most recorded words for foods, dishes, and produce than any other language. Every meal is a work of art, and using fresh and locally sourced food is a hallmark of Italian cuisine.
  • Italy is a world leader in the business sector. Italy is the global hub for dozens of international businesses and well as for the fashion and design sector, soccer, and the luxury car industry.
  • Italian is the Romance language closest to Latin. Of the Romance languages, Italian is the closest to their Latin roots. Learning Italian opens the door to learning French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian, as its vicinity to Latin makes learning related languages that much easier.



Check out our full list of courses we offer on the ISU Course Catalog, and see this semester’s courses on the ISU Schedule of Classes.



The student learning outcomes linked below are based on the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century (National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project). A forthcoming document outlines the standards of a collaborative effort of nine national foreign language organizations. These outcomes establish a context that defines the central role of foreign language in the learning of every student. The standards, as well as our program outcomes and individual course objectives, suggest a paradigm shift in foreign language education that focuses on students’ ability to use the language in authentic situations. Check back for Italian Programmatic Outcomes soon!


Study Abroad

Italy is a premier study abroad and travel destination. In fact, Italy is the most popular study abroad destination for Iowa State students. With 25 different programs in Italy, there is something for everyone. Learning the basics of a local language enhances a travel experience immensely, allowing the traveler to learn more about the culture as well as to expand their worldview and perceptions.

Currently the Department of World Languages and Cultures does not directly offer study abroad programs for Italian language learners. For more information about what programs ISU affiliate programs offer with an Arabic language of instruction, please visit the ISU Abroad search results below.

ISU Abroad results

NOTE: Study abroad is open to every student, regardless of field of study. Discuss your plans with your academic advisor as well as study abroad advisors on campus to plan your journey.