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Studying abroad in Austria, France, or Italy

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#1
I've recently been offered the opportunity to go to any one of the aforementioned countries and study the language(german french or italian) for the summer at nearly no cost.

So, which one would you choose, and more importantly, why?
 

redbaron

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#2
France because baguettes
 

Serac

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#3
Italy seems to me a place where you would go as a tourist but preferably avoid otherwise. That's a rule of thumb for southern Europe in general.

Italian might be interesting purely from a linguistic aspect due to its relation to Latin but I don't know what else.

German is interesting if you want to be able to live in economically advanced countries like Germany (Italy is not so good in that department). It also enables you to read Kant, Nietzsche and Heidegger in their original language. As a language, German is very logical and structured, if you like that kind of thing.

French is also a good choice as you could read Descartes, Sartre and Camus in original language. It's also obviously a very beautiful language.

I personally would probably go for French.
 

higs

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#4
I would go to Italy or France, Austria doesn't seem so exciting to me. Vienna is very expensive and quite boring I hear, unless you're into ballroom dancing, but I'm judging from afar, so maybe get some first hand accounts.

I live in France and think it's a lovely country, but to be honest it would depend on where you were going there, can you give us the cities or areas you are considering? I can give you more info if you want. I have to say if you're going in the summer Paris is VERY poorly equipped to deal with heat. It's like they built the whole thing thinking they were further north than we are actually, so in the summer everyone is suffering. Anyway there are parks to go to and they want to open up sections of the canal for swimming. Well people are always jumping in any way but you know what I mean. To be fair it is only 1 or 2 months of the year that get heat waves, and as far as I can tell so far this year seems set out to be cooler than the last. If you're from the US and are used to constant air conditioning forget about that in Europe, we just sweat. Every time I've been to the US I've caught something from having freezing drafts blowing on me everywhere, god's sake.

Italy has just been consistently fabulous everywhere I've been in it, and cheapest of the lot (also certainly put more consideration into dealing with heat in the ways everything is built). They have AMAZING language and culture. Probably the most beautiful cities in the world. I find Rome more gorgeous than Paris, Florence is amazing, Milan is tremendous and Venice is...Venice, nuff said. Also Sicily omg, Palermo is this charismatic gorgeous mess. Nah Italians win out every time really culture-wise and lifestyle-wise, everyone should just be furiously jealous at how frickin cool they are. Also the food is so good, like the actual raw ingredients are good, especially in the south. The cooking is simple and great. No bullshit. Obviously the French are brilliant as well, but can get a bit pompous about it all, the raw ingredients are good too because they produce loads of agriculture as well, and are very obsessive about eating. German and Austrian food is really not very good it seems to me. So yeah, if food is a factor pick Italians or French, tho probs the Austrians will win out on beer and sausages. (who fucking cares about beer when you have wine though?) :p

Italy has some of the best visual art and pretty fantastic writings in political philosophy, of which Machiavelli and Thomas Aquinas are most famous examples amongst others. I'm annoyed that I can't read Italian poetry.

Another thing : when learning a language, I advance much faster when people are friendly enough to be willing to struggle through conversations with me despite difficulties in communication. The Spanish and the Italians are, I have noticed, much better at this. French people have acquired a not entirely undeserved reputation of being kind of stuck up and unfriendly, though a lot of this is simply a refusal to put on a phony smile for any reason including a service job. I'm not saying you won't be able to socialize, of course you will, just that socializing in Spain and Sicily was so damn easy for me I progressed really fast.

I'm probably being a bit harsh on Austria, you should certainly get first hand accounts. I'm sure it is wonderful in many ways. Also I can talk about France in way more depth if you're interested.
 

Dr3vv

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#5
Hello, Italian here.

Soooo language. Well, Italian is known to be quite difficult. Musical, but difficult.
French is not too far from Italian. German is probably the most useful of the three as far as I know (due to Germany being economically advanced: it is not so rare that you find German companies in Italy), at least in Europe. French may be spoken in some old colonies. I studied it in middle school and it was and interesting and I'd say beautiful language.

As for anything else, high has done a good analysis. Only thing I'd say, not so many Italians are fluent with foreign languages (English included), meaning that you could find some difficulties at first.
 

higs

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#6
Only thing I'd say, not so many Italians are fluent with foreign languages (English included), meaning that you could find some difficulties at first.
I would say this is actually a good thing, because native English speakers are so used to being able to get along in English that they don't get out of their comfort zone, which means they progress less.
 

redbaron

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#7
I work for an Austrian and my very robust sample size of one tells me that French people and Italian people are more betterer people and stuff

Italian language is kind of boring to learn but translates well into humour

German is interesting but also full of difficult pronunciations

French is a bit prissy but sounds good

I don't actually speak any of them that's how you know I know what I'm talking about
 

The Grey Man

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#8
I had a chance to go to France to learn the language in high school and, like an idiot, I turned it down, even though 20% of Canadians are francophones (mostly concentrated in the East, especially in Québec, the largest and second-most populous province of Canada, which is basically a French-speaking country that became a province of this sprawling, culturally anemic* dominion of ours by historical accident) including most of my family tree (though they're not Québecois), to say nothing of the vast trove of extant French literature which remains inaccessible to me. Of course, you probably don't have these problems (except the literature part, which is applicable to all three languages), so I don't really have any advice to give one way or another, except: don't not go :D

* If the United States is "the ultimate peasant culture", as Ragnar put it, then we're a cultural province of Peasantland...yup, no North American inferiority complex here :storks:
 

Pyropyro

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#10
Interesting thread.

Which European country has the healthiest STEM and/or R&D industries? Kinda pointless to study if there's no network that will offer you jobs afterward.
 
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