Meet Kerstin, Coffee break Italian learner

Tell us who you are, where you live, your nationality and how long you’ve been learning a language with us. 

Hi, my name is Kerstin, I live in Hamburg, Germany, and I’m German. I’ve been learning Italian with you since sometime last summer … so about 9 months or so.

Which language or languages are you learning with Coffee Break?


What experience have you had speaking and learning other languages? 

I have always liked languages ever since I started to learn English in 5th grade. I added French in 7th grade and Latin in 9th grade (quit Latin after two years though …). I studied English Literature at university, and during my time at university I also learned Swedish because I did my Erasmus year in Sweden and totally fell for the country. Starting to learn Italian was something that happened a bit by accident, I would say. It wasn’t something I had planned to do really.

What are your favourite memories of learning a language?

I love speaking English anywhere any time simply because I can do it effortlessly. It’s so much fun having mastered a foreign language. I love that by learning the language you also learn about the culture and the people. It broadens your horizons, makes you question things, and it feels like exploring new territories. As for my (still very basic) Italian: I was in Bologna on a business trip recently. I checked in at the hotel in Italian, I asked how to get to a supermarket, I ordered food in Italian, I bought stamps at the post office and and cheese at the market in Italian. Everything worked out well and I was soooo proud of myself.

Where would your ideal coffee break be, and with whom? 

I think I already had the perfect coffee break: On the shore in Greenland after we had been hiking on the inland ice shield and while we were waiting for our boats to pick us up again. But if you give me holidays, Italy, sunshine, a nice view and a good cappuccino (even in the afternoon … sorry Francesca!!) I’m pretty happy too!

What’s the best language-learning tip you have found works for you? 

If you are motivated and if you are enjoying what you are doing everything else will follow. Listen to music, look for blogs and podcasts. If you are advanced enough read books and watch films. Like that you learn without even noticing. For learning vocabulary I write flash cards. That’s a bit boring but necessary I guess … Sometimes I talk to myself.

Quick Fire Round

  • Your favourite language: Usually I’d say English, but I go for Italian now.
  • Your favourite word or phrase in the language:
    1. Quindi. Maybe a weird choice but I like the sound of it and I think it is a very useful word. I don’t know much Italian yet but quindi is one of the few words I know to tie two sentences together elegantly.
    2. Sogni d’oro. Just sweet.
    3. Allora. Maybe the most Italian of all words (except ciao …)
  •  Do you have a favourite film, TV show, book or singer in the language? Marco Mengoni and Tiziano Ferro have some really nice songs I think.
  • Your favourite destination to practise your language: I’d love to go to Stromboli one day.

Your final comments

Thank you Francesca and Mark (and Katie and Isla) for the work you put into CBI. I enjoy your lessons A LOT! I wouldn’t have started to learn Italian had I not come across your podcast but you make it really easy. I listen to you while cooking or cleaning, while jogging or on my way to work. And without even noticing I have mastered the A1 level  of a new language … Thumbs up! Grazie mille!

1 thought on “Meet Kerstin, Coffee break Italian learner”

  1. Hi, Kerstin,

    I’m Andrea from Los Gatos, California. I enjoyed reading your blog. I speak French, am learning Spanish, took some German in college, and studied Italian in college for five years. I have picked it up again, and am enjoying it enormously, especially with CBI! I’d like to start reading some current novels, particularly mysteries or espionage. I’d also like to watch Italian films — romances or comedies. Can you recommend any books or films?


Leave a Comment