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Studying Italian within European Languages and Cultures

Bachelor’s degree programme in European Languages and Cultures

If you speak Italian, a whole world of art and culture will open up to you, as well as a country that has played a guiding role in Europe in many ways, even though it has only been a political nation since 1861. Choose Italian as a specialization within ETC and you will learn to recognize and characterize the influences this country has had all around you.

All European languages bear traces of Italian culinary culture. Cappuccino, pizza and tiramisù are just a few examples of dishes that are known by their Italian names everywhere, even outside Europe. But food is of course not the only field that is strongly influenced by Italian culture. Artists such as Dante, Monteverdi, Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Palladio have had great influence in the fields literature, music, painting and architecture. No wonder that many artists and students in the seventeenth century spent part of their training in Italy. And in a way this is still the case: all students get the opportunity to spend a semester in their third Bachelor’s year at one of the universities with which Groningen has an Erasmus contract. Students of Italian can choose between Siena, Catania, Trieste and Verona, four beautiful ancient cities with old, elegant university buildings and great academic traditions.

Why Italian?

Italian is a beautiful language, but why does it sound the way it does? How does it differ from Spanish? How has it developed from Latin compared to the other Romance languages? Upon completing this degree programme you will not only speak and write Italian at near-native speaker level, you will also be an expert in the the history and linguistics of the language. In addition, you will study the cultural and political history of Italy in a European context. One of the most remarkable characteristics of Italy is its ability to survive moments of great crisis time and time again, and even provide new ideas and conceptual frameworks to surrounding countries. This interplay between crisis and innovation within a historical perspective is an interesting framework to examine and better understand current issues in Italy within today’s Europe. In addition, you will read the most wonderful literary texts in their original forms, watch a lot of films and even spend some time on Italian fashion and design.


Upon completing the Italian specialization within European Languages and Cultures you will qualify for a wide range of jobs, for example at museums and other cultural institutions in Italy and the Netherlands. You could also opt for a career as an academic researcher, or teach courses, as Italian still is and always will be a very popular language. You could also find a job as a communications officer at an organization or company that maintains contacts with Italy, or in another position in the field of Dutch-Italian relations. The degree programme also provides a solid basis to further develop as a freelance interpreter or translator.

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Roy Raukema (student of ELC Italian)

I chose European Languages and Cultures because I found the variety of options very attractive and I have always wanted to learn to speak and write Italian fluently. Why Italian? Because I find the country, the people, the culture and the history so interesting.

In the first semester you are introduced to all three profiles (literature, politics and society, and linguistics) so you immediately have an idea of what they entail. The linguistics course units start in the second semester. It’s great to really delve deeply into the Italian language. You can design your language, Minor and profile in such a way that your course units perfectly match your interests. The lecturers are very committed, helpful and passionate about their fields, which makes the lectures very enjoyable. I am far from disappointed in the programme, and it is not too difficult either.

Last modified:03 July 2019 10.54 a.m.
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