Multiculturalism + Lingua Franca

Since my last post, I have experienced so much more in my internship. As I complete more assignments, my supervisor challenges me more and more. Recently, I translated a legal document from Italian to English. While this was very difficult, I appreciated the trust that my supervisor placed in me and took my assignment seriously. Tomorrow, I will be accompanying my supervisor to court, and I look forward to learning even more about Italian law.

Apart from assignments, the other side of my internship is cultural immersion. In our course today, we spoke about the concept of multiculturalism. Although my supervisor speaks English well, my co-workers speak only a little. While it can be difficult to communicate with them at times, I appreciate the opportunity to practice my Italian and find things in common with my co-workers. There was discussion of cultural shock and homesickness in our course, but I have yet to experience these things. I love to travel and discover new cultures, so this has been a dream for me. Taking classes here in Arezzo is fascinating, particularly the more immersive ones, but classes cannot compare to an internship. It is incredible to have the opportunity to work in an environment which is authentically Italian. OU in Arezzo is so valuable because it allows students to live in a foreign environment while maintaining ties to their community and a sense of home. However, students sacrifice full immersion for this kind of experience. My internship is important to me because I am able to have both that sense of community and an authentic immersive experience.

The next concept we discussed is that of “lingua franca”. Because I had never heard this term before, I had to do some research to figure out what it meant. Based on what I learned, I believe that lingua franca is a common language that most people speak, even if it is not their native language. It essentially allows people from many different backgrounds to communicate with each other. To me, this sounds like English. Everywhere in the world that I have traveled, the native inhabitants of the land speak at least a small amount of English. Because of this, English speakers are incredibly fortunate. We are able to travel around a world which accommodates us. However, I also think that this can make English speakers lazy and entitled, expecting everyone to cater to us without bothering to make our own effort to fit another culture. Even though I also speak Farsi, I can sometimes see these traits in myself. When traveling, I sometimes do not try hard enough to learn the language of my destination because I assume that its inhabitants will also speak English. I am using my internship as a way to improve by attempting to communicate with my co-workers in their native tongue.

Here are some examples of Italian idioms used in conversation…

A: Dobbiamo pulire la stanza.

B: Tra il dire e il fare c’รจ di mezzo il mare.


A: Vorrei poter dormire domani.

B: Chi dorme non piglia pesci.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *