REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY: What They Didn’t Teach You in Italian Class

January 12, 2018 | By | 13 Replies More

What They Didn't Teach You in Language School

Learn Italian slang and more…these little books are the perfect companions for your trips abroad.

Savvy travelers know the importance of being able to speak the local language. It enhances a person’s ability to immerse oneself in the place and culture—from understanding directions and street signs, to being able to handling emergencies or sticky situations (e.g. What do you yell when you’re on a crowded train and feel the hand of a pickpocket in your pants? How do you tell an Italian flirt to get lost?)

Speaking the language

For the reasons above and others, travelers are increasingly taking advantage of opportunities to learn languages through courses and apps, many of them available for free. It is estimated that Duolingo has 200 million registered users around the world. Each day, more than 200 million people rely on Google Translate, available on some browsers and also as an app!

A new 2018 survey of travel trends by American Express reports that 15 percent of the more than 2000 respondents traveled “to experience new languages and customs” last year, and 20 percent (5 percent more than last year) plan to do the same in 2018.

The “What They Didn’t Teach You in Class” Series

The “What They Didn’t Teach You in Class” series (available in French, Italian, Russian, German and Spanish) promises to provide the slang expressions and practical words travelers are likely to need on trips abroad. It focuses on “real expressions” used by locals rather than the phrases typically taught in language school. Not much larger than the size of a passport, these trim 5×7 hardcover books can easily be slipped into a purse or backpack.

Ulysses Press has come up with a new and highly practical tool that should appeal to travelers at many different levels of language proficiency:

  • Those with little or no fluency
  • Those students (of all ages) who haven’t yet achieved fluency before embarking on a trip;
  • Those who may have forgotten what they learned in language school (whether recently or many years ago); and
  • Those who know the language well but want to master the informal slang.

What They Didn’t Teach You in Italian Class

What They Didn't Teach You in Language School

I reviewed the 192-page Italian version of the series and was impressed with the excellent organization of the book. Divided into nine chapters, I could easily figure out where to find the right words I needed.

The chapter on “Friends and Flirting”, for example, mentions that Italians like to connect. If you’re hanging out in a bar—whether for espresso or an apertivo—you’ll know the phrases that can arm you with confidence to speak without crossing a line.

If you are a compulsive shopper (a real risk of traveling to Italy), you’ll feel empowered enough to know the difference between asking for a push-up or sports bra (regisseno).

Warning: Some of the idioms and phrases in these books are extremely explicit—and include terms you might not want to use!

The book makes for a provocative travel, and sometimes humorous, companion.


What They Didn't Teach You in Language School

What They Didn’t Teach You in Language School

The publisher of the series, Ulysses Press, is offering one lucky reader of MoreTimeToTravel a three-book set. The set includes one copy of “What They Didn’t Teach You in Italian Class” and two other companion books, “What They Didn’t Teach You in Spanish” and “What They Didn’t Teach You in French.” A total of three books!

To be eligible, simply subscribe to the MTTT newsletter by February 15, 2018 (see the top of the right sidebar) and leave a comment below saying that you did.

The winner will be randomly selected and announced on this website.

Need the book sooner? The Italian version and any of the four other languages are available both on Kindle or Hardcover on Amazon.

Disclosure: The publisher provided us with a copy of the Italian book for review.

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Comments (13)

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  1. Theresa Moore says:

    I subscribed – would love to win the trio of What They Didn’t Teach You books

  2. Hello Irene,

    I am happily subscribed to this news letter, enjoyed the packing for river cruises and found it very enlightening. By the way, the last time I learned another language was over 25 years ago, Spanish, I retained the sentence ‘Su casa es rojo’. How many red houses could I possibly walk into before the locals would say what??!!:-) This prize would definitely help my language skills and get me around Rome without offending anyone by using the wrong terms. And, the size is handy enough to keep discretely close-by in a wristlet. It could be considered an undercover civil diplomacy package;-)

    Christine Geaney

  3. Kim Henrichs says:

    These books look great!! I’m a subscriber.

  4. Diane Heinze says:

    Would like to win the “What They Didn’t Teach you in Italian Class” and the other two on Spanish and French. Fun!!

    I have subscribed to More Time to Travel.

    Thank you!

  5. Marilyn B says:

    Already a subscriber and am happy to be. Books look great – I need to brush up on my very rusty Spanish, and my goal has been to learn Italian. So perfect set.

  6. Faye H says:

    I to already am a subscriber and love the tips presented here. It sound like these books would be extremely useful!

  7. Marie G. says:

    I subscribed. Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. Sara S says:

    Subscribed! Thank you!

  9. Gina says:

    I subscribed – looks like a great set!

  10. Theresa Jenkins says:


  11. Travis Johnson says:


  12. rich bart says:

    i subscribed!

  13. Rachel says:

    I subscribed! We’re just starting to travel (Italy in May!) so this would be so perfect.

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