course
Elementary Italian I

Nov 2020

This class was amazing even when it was on zoom. Jilian is the sweetest professor I've had during my time at Columbia. She is extremely patient and so understanding. I went into the class knowing absolutely no Italian and now I feel a lot more comfortable with the language than I ever expected myself to be after only a few months. I would definitely describe this class as an easy A but it's also very fulfilling and you will learn so much from it. All of the assignments were open book due to zoom but I still feel like it would have been very manageable if we were in person. She is such a nice and reasonable grader.

May 2020

To be simply put, Professor Alessandra is great, competent, and a really nice person. She cares more about you actually learning Italian than about ruining your GPA, making her a lenient grader as long as you put in the work. She's a really good teacher and you will actually be able to speak some Italian after your first semester. She does her best to make you learn the most that you can in class, and so you won't find it difficult when reviewing the material after class. She also tries to keep up with you personally and make sure that you are engaged and on track, but not to an extreme extent. Given that it's a 4 credit class, it's such a breeze and showing up to class is actually fun and not draining.

Dec 2017

When I decided to take her class I was worried that she did not have any CULPA reviews, but I'm so happy I took her class because it was perfect(!). She spoke to us in Italian from the beginning and actually showed us the meaning of every word we were learning instead of giving up and speaking to us in English. She's always super enthusiastic and really wants each and every one of us to learn, and the pace of the class was completely manageable and non-overwhelming. I don't know what else to say other than she is amazing and please take her class! You'll learn so much but also enjoy it

Nov 2017

I've taken Elementary Italian 1 and 2 and Advanced Italian 1 with Felice and without a doubt he is one of my favorite profs I've had here. Not only is he an effective and clear teacher, he is kind, caring, and funny, and takes time to build personal relationships with his students. He's written recommendations for me and truly cares about my experience in class and with Italian. If you are at all interested in taking Italian, this is the way to go. He absolutely deserves the gold nugget!! Everyone I know who's been in his class agrees with me, too.

May 2015

I have no idea why Professor Saggin does not have a silver nugget. Professor Saggin is one of the best professors that I have come across. She is Italian, lived and went to school in Italy; normally one would think that someone with such an advance level of Italian would not enjoy teaching the basics because it is beyond her. This is not the case for professor Saggin; she loves teaching and prefers to teach Elementary Italian because she says she enjoys how much her students can learn in just one semester. This attitude towards teaching IS KEY for an elementary class because IT WILL GET HARD and she understands that. She is extremely accessible and tremendously sweet. If you have a problem, miss class or get sick you can easily go to her office hours and she will accommodate you. I've taken Italian with Professor Saggin for a year now and the amount of Italian that i have learn is insane. She comes off as a little unorganized at the beginning but her madness has a purpose. Italian can seem easy at the beginning but the grammar is extremely comprehensive and will make you want to give up on the language. I had so much trouble with the grammar but Professor Saggin was so accessible that i have able to meet with her countless times to work the grammar through and not give up on the language. If you are thinking of starting italian from scratch, take the class with Professor Saggin and stick through it. She is a very lax grader because she cares more about you learning Italian than ruining your GPA. HOWEVER, if you don't do anything and don't show up to class, don't expect an A. She will meet you more than half way and will try to make Italian as painless as possible. Also, she is super adorable and stylist; her accent is a plus. She will try to get to know you and your background, which to me was extremely refreshing; she takes each of her sections to lunch, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS BECAUSE SHE IS AN EXTREMELY SMART AND INTERESTING PERSON.

Nov 2014

She is a really good teacher! I have never been one to understand grammar, but she helped me a lot! I recommend her!

May 2013

I'm surprised Luke doesn't at least have a silver star on here yet. Despite having his class at 9am everyday Mon-Thurs, I actually looked forward going to class. I left Luke's class feeling pretty energized, and I felt it was the perfect class to start my day. Luke does speak in Italian the overwhelming majority of the time, but he's more than accommodating if we're not getting something and talks to us in English if necessary. Class is mainly doing exercises with whoever's sitting next to you, talking about things ranging from hometowns to favorite movies. There were numerous times when we were just learning forms and things like that, but those weren't too often. Luke did a really great job making engaging exercises, and his humor played a big role in that. He's really encouraging in getting us to speak in Italian and I felt very comfortable speaking the language by the end of the semester. His quizzes were pretty straight-forward, and as long as you study, you should be golden. Luke pays special attention to improvement and is really interested in seeing his class get a good grip on the language. You don't have to be perfect to do well in his class as long as you show him you're applying the lessons to improving your Italian. If Luke were an option for Italian II, I would have picked him in a heartbeat.

May 2013

Felice is a fantastic professor! Every lecture is very clear and he is more than happy to help if you don't understand anything. Class is always very engaging, and there are quite a few power points that involve Simpsons characters. He is a professor very dedicated in making sure his students understand the material. On a weeknight there is never more than 10-15min of homework, anything that is time consuming at all is designed to be done on weekends. Overall, Elementary Italian was a solid class and I learned quite a bit of Italian.

Apr 2013

Mari is the best!!! She is funny and really chill, but somehow we still manage to learn a lot of Italian. I always feel prepared for the quizzes; she tells us exactly what will be on them and always has helpful review sheets. She's really lax and understanding with due dates as well. She has great stories about her awesome life; we talk a lot about TV and pop culture too. If you're interested in learning Italian, definitely take it with her! I enjoy going to class every day. She's hilarious.

Feb 2012

Savannah is the best!!! She alwas came to class super excited to be teaching us and super motivated. She makes the class fun and you learn tons. Savannah is definitely the best teacher so far in my time in the school. She cares about her students a lot and you can see that she takes student's comments on her teaching very seriously. You'll know so much Italian by the end! Seriously she is the best.

Jan 2012

I am amazed with so much I learned in so little time. I already speak Spanish and a little Portuguese, so I was afraid when I started Italian. I didn't know if it was a bad decision, or if I was biting off more than my Language sulcus could hold. But Not only did Federica make learning Italian organic, and painless, she made it fun. I truly think she is a great professor, and I know that everyone in class enjoys it. It also only helps, that she is funny, smart, elegant, always well dressed, and beautiful in a non-chalant sort of way. VERY Italian. If you are taking Italian, as I imagine most people do, because you love the culture or some facet of it (literature, art, music, the Ragazzi/e, FOOD) then this is the lady you want, she embodies the greatest things about Italy that we all love. She is a wonderful choice for either an intro, or an upper level conversation class. Totally deserves a gold nugget. You will learn a lot, and you will be happy you had such an understanding and hilarious insegnante to guide you.

Dec 2011

Maddalena is a wonderful Italian teacher-- not to mention straight from Italy! She is beyond bright and well-versed in many topics yet is very humble and laid back. She makes class interesting and very fun to attend. We learned a lot about Italian opera, art and culture while we were able to stay on task in terms of grammar. She is a fair grader and is willing to meet with her students if they do not fully understand a topic. Definitely take her class if you can!

Dec 2011

Maddalena is young, fashionable, funny, smart, kind, and enthusiastic. I was really unnerved, however, when I arrived on the first day to my first ever lesson in Italian to realize that she was teaching the class entirely immersive. However, by the end of the course, I knew what she was saying all the time. She's a great teacher, and while she can get a little upset when she can tell you haven't practiced for a while, she'll take you seriously if you take the course seriously. She wants her students to succeed and is happy to help explain things further. She always often plays songs and clips during class in addition to adorably exclaiming, "Mamma Mia!" in an entirely un-ironic way when she drops chalk or the projector is temperamental. It's a tough class because it's a new language, but the course was fairly small (about eighteen students) and Maddalena made it very personable.

Dec 2011

She is a great teacher, Very accessible and wants you to learn and succeed! Her classroom demeanor is incomparable. She fosters a nonjudgmental and fun learning environment that supports success. She is dedicated to her craft and she is the person you want to learn a language from. The most impressive thing that can be said about her teaching ability is that roughly 75% of her Elementary Italian class signed up for her elementary II Italian class.

Nov 2011

Bauman is quite simply the perfect language teacher: she's funny, she's expressive, she has the shocking and rare gift of clarifying every grammatical point you could imagine, and she's invested in her students. But what I liked best about this class was its vibe. I think Bauman has something to do with that. Everyone in the class was cheery, friendly, and attentive, and I believe that Bauman fosters this type of energy in the classroom. I don't have enough words of praise for her.

Aug 2011

Here's the thing you need to know about Savannah: she's absolutely, crazily, out of this world awesome. She makes you actually WANT to come to her class by being super animated, funny, and understanding. Her lessons are always fun and she genuinely cares about her students. If you don't understand something or the class is really not feeling the activity, she's willing to compromise and have extra classes or move on. She's easily accessible and always makes time for office hours and extra review sessions. I wasn't a great student last year, but she really helped me see the brighter side of things and I really looked forward to working on Italian assignments because of it. She's actually invested in the well-being and success of her students! By far my favorite class of the year.

May 2011

After I took Elementary I with Mari, I did everything I could to get into her Elementary II class. She is absolutely AMAZING. She is really chill and fun and talks about a lot of random stuff, but we still learned a lot and I felt totally prepared for the exams. She is really understanding if you need to miss a class or turn something in late. Quizzes are on the same days that homework is due, so as long as you do the homework you don't need to study for the quiz. Mari is the most incredible teacher I have ever had. Take her class!!!!

Jan 2011

I suck at Italian. Seriously. However, if there is one professor who can teach me to conjugate a verb or learn passato prossimo, it's Professoressa Bauman. She's kind, she's animated, she's accommodating. She will meet with you past her office hours. She wants to see you succeed. I speak horrible Italian. She was extremely patient with me - take this class. There is a lot of work in Italian I and meeting 4 times a week is uber tedious, but seeing her smiling face every day kept me going. Quizzes are weekly and departmental, and are increasingly more difficult as the semester goes on. Professor Bauman answers emails quickly, offers extra credit, and offers encouragement and clarification when you need it. Take this class! They fill up quickly. This is because she is the best Italian professor, and probably the best professor period. She deserves every bit of the gold nugget she has been given.

Jan 2011

Amazing teacher. So much fun. Most entertaining class I've taken at Columbia, and yet we still manage to learn all of the Italian the syllabus says we should. We spend a lot of time talking about popular culture and especially television. I would say that Mari is good as far as actually helping us learn Italian and amazing as far as keeping people interested in the class and making you want to come. ABSOLUTELY TAKE THIS CLASS even if your are only slightly interested in learning Italian!

Dec 2010

Prof. Bauman deserves every bit of the gold nugget image that is beside her name. I’ve been lucky at Columbia – I’ve taken 5 semesters of language, and all of the professors have been friendly, interesting, and fun to learn from. Prof. Bauman, however, might just be the best. As other reviews state, it can be intimidating at the beginning for Elementary Ital. I – No one in the class heard her speak a word of English until the second week, leading one classmate to quip quite hilariously, “My! You have such a beautiful English accent…” I think she said she was born in California… Anyway, she is extremely patient with everyone, and somehow drives the class at a pace that works for the more advanced (those who have taken some Italian/similar languages) and those who have had little to no language exposure. Each class is highly structured and usually involves working with classmates to practice dialogue and complete worksheets. Often times, she will use a song, movie clip, or powerpoint to help make the learning more interactive with Italian culture – not only does this help, but it makes the class a lot of fun as well. She is more than a fair grader, and you feel like you are graded on effort as much as anything. She is always smiling, always patient, and so unbelievably down to earth. I get the impression that every single person in the class likes her.

Dec 2010

Professor Bauman is a really fun teacher. I loved her class and learned much more Italian than I expected in the most painless and fun way possible. Although I was only expecting to take one class of Italian in order to understand all the Italian opera I listen to better, she has inspired me to continue Italian although I have already finished my language requirement! I would absolutely recommend that you try to take a course with Rebecca!

Oct 2010

Best language professor I've ever had. If you are stuck with one of the other professors in the department who learned their italian in america, then try to switch to his. I am not sure why an ivy league school is hiring non-native speakers to teach their language courses, but regardless, Di Nino saves is the best option we have for the beginner level. I hated languages and became proficient enough in italian to communicate well when I went over to Italy for vacation. Great teacher and an even cooler guy.

Jul 2010

Hands down one of the best teachers in Columbia. The guy is hysterical and made class incredibly enjoyable even at 9 am with his constant humor, which is of a unique and extremely witty variety. Class was very straightforward, and he was a very generous grader. Anyone who put in any effort at all received an A or A-. He was cool about missing class now and then, and VERY cool about late homeworks. He is genuinely interested in seeing that his students learn Italian, and is very dedicated with his diagrams, and funny homemade exercises. Had no problem speaking English in class if it was needed to explain a concept. This guy is too good to pass up even at 9 am. I'd take him at 6 am

Jun 2010

Nicola Di Nino was the best language teacher I've ever had. Hands down. I do not consider myself a language person by any means. However, he made Italian so fun that I even considered making Italian my major or at least a concentration. Di Nino's goal is to make Italian interesting and to make sure you speak real Italian. An Italian native, he often corrects the book and explains that in Italy people would say something else instead. He makes sure you speak REAL Italian. Di Nino is also a person you're going to like. He's understands we have a lot of other classes and a lot of work. He will give you extensions if you explain your situation. He will give you points back on your quiz if you explain your reasoning for an answer. Di Nino wants you to succeed. He's the type of professor that rewards creativity. If I made my compositions funny or my answers on the quiz funny he really respected that. Most teachers would shrug it off, but he made a note of the extra effort. All he asks of you is that you try hard in class and try to love Italian. If you can do both these things, you're going to succeed and really speak Italian. Take this professor.

Jan 2010

Lynn is a fantastic teacher. She speaks Italian--no English--literally from day one, but her expressions, intonation, and gesticulation are so perfectly attuned to what she's trying to express that you understand exactly what she's saying from the very beginning; it's almost magical. You know she's speaking another language and yet it's completely clear. She is generous with her quizzes (helpful) and homework due dates. She is very energetic--she sometimes literally works up a sweat--and is very fun; she laughs often and makes the class laugh too when she tells funny stories in Italian, etc. She uses only Italian except to make translations of hard words or some explanations of grammar, and I learned a LOT; I learned more Italian in a month than all the French I'd learned in 4 years of high school. When the second semester came around I took someone else's class by mistake. They were like a dead fish in comparison and I couldn't wait to switch back to her class. Take her for Elementary Italian I and II! Note: she does call on people and everyone definitely has to interact, but she doesn't put you on the spot in a bad way and if you really want to learn a language, the speaking is essential anyway.

Jan 2010

Amazing! I had Luke's class at 9 am, and though I missed a few, I doubt I would've woken up every day for anyone else! Funny, charming and genuinely interested in the Italian language, Luke was my favorite professor last semester. Luke's classes ran smoothly, almost all in Italian from the first class. I first found this intimidating, but as the semester continued and I got the hang of it, I was greatful for his insistence on speaking. This got me comfortable with speaking Italian - no matter how terrible my accent - right off the bat...Often, we'd look up to see the class had been over for a few minutes and we'd gotten carried away. Luke was pretty relaxed regarding assignments etc... I think as long as you didn't outright take advantage of him, he was willing to overlook deadlines in the interest of you doing the work. The weekly quizzes were, of course, a pain. But, they were beyond his control (set by the Italian Department). And I recall a few times that if I didn't finish in time, he would move anyone still working to the office to finish the quiz. Again, I think he was far more interested in us understanding and learning the Italian language than deadlines or strictness. This helped me immensely, because I can now speak a fair amount of Italian. I recommend Luke's class to anyone and everyone. If you can deal with the early time (something I did struggle with), it's well worth it. Un buon'professore!

Jan 2010

Akash Kumar was probably the best instructor I had last semester! He was engaging, lively, and had a great sense of humor to boot. I went to class wanting to learn something new everyday! He even set up an event where those interested went to see an opera! The workload is very doable and the compositions are always very interesting, even for something that only involves 150 words. He is extremely approachable and willing to work with you if anything comes up. Overall, he is an amazing instructor who makes Columbia a memorable place to be! I would highly recommend his class to anyone who wants to learn a new language!

Nov 2009

I loved this class with Di Nino! He's from Venice, so he's obviously a native speaker, and I think it really helped me learn the language. This was my first exposure to Italian, and I found it very easy to learn. The class was somewhat fast-paced, with a quiz/homeworks due every Tuesday and learning a new chapter every week, but he presented the material in a way that made it fun and enjoyable to learn. I did all the homework (the answers are posted online so it's easy to learn from your mistakes) and I payed attention in class, barely studied and did well on every quiz and exam, between 88 and 95. He makes lots of jokes in class; and some of the stories he tells and vocabulary he teaches makes the class quite entertaining. Also, he was very good about answering any questions, even if you ask them in English (which is rare for an Italian professor). The only thing I would say is he was extremely unavailable for extra help. I wasn't particularly in need of any, but if I had to ask a question I would need to come just before class to do so; he has "office hours" but I had class during those times, and he could not meet any other times. Other than that, he is a great professor and this was an easy class.

Mar 2009

Take Italian with Lynn! She's a great professor, and really knows her stuff. She's always available if you have a question, and is friendly and exuberant during class. I took her class every day, first thing in the morning and she somehow managed to keep me awake. Definitely one of the best professors I've ever had. She uses lots of pop-culture references and makes sure everyone is engaged. Easy class, and lots of fun. Definitely take Italian with Lynn.

Jan 2009

If you don't get Lynn for either Italian I or II then your education has been a waste of time. Easily one of the most energetic-in-a-non-make-you-want-to-throw-up-way teachers that I've had thus far at Columbia. Plus Italian is basically Spanish which is basically English. Definitely one of your easier options.

Jan 2009

What a fantastic professor! From the moment you step in on the first day of class, Rebecca immerses you in the language. This is a little intimidating at first, as you don't know what she's babbling on about, but she's so good at engaging her students and helping them to learn the material that just a few weeks into the semester you'll feel how much of the language you've already learned. You don't just memorize in this class and then spit out the answers on exams - you have to really use what you're learning. The 6:10-8 PM time slot can be a little tiring and the length can definitely find you getting bored towards the end, but this class is an easier A so long as you do the work.

Dec 2008

I LOVED AKASH KUMAR. It is very easy to feel uncomfortable and embarrassed in an Elementary I language class. His age (he's only 24) and laid back Hawaiian attitude made me enjoy coming to class. In fact I wanted to go to that class four days of the week. He helped us learn in different ways. He'd hand out worksheets, write on the board, have us engage in dialogue, listen to music, and show pictures of crazy celebrities and ask how they've changed or ask us to describe them (e.g., bald Britney, or Maradona in his prime vs. new, fat Maradona). Akash speaks close to 10 languages (including Urdu, Arabic, Farsi, etc.), so he really understands what helps when learning a new language. I was surprised at how much Italian I could understand, read, and speak at the end of one semester. I would take his Elementary II class again next semester if I could.

May 2008

this was my second semester with blums. i'm devastated that she doesn't teach intermediate 1. i loved her classes because she teaches in a style that's geared towards learning rather than just repetition, grammar, and test taking (i did fine on everything though). she was more into comprehension than the specifics, and wanted us to learn the tools to communicate in real life situations rather than completing a test. definitely take her for spanish (or at least a barnard instructor; i hear they have similar teaching methods).

Feb 2008

Professor Kumar is not a joy to see four days a week. While he is not strict about attendance, his personality makes one not want to come to class. He is sarcastic and, even though this is an elementary language class, he still feels free to make fun of those still learning the language. In class, he makes us listen to songs for the hell of it and, come test time, the we all were the ones that had to teach ourselves the material. Also, he rarely ever returns work and, when he does, there isn't any constructive criticism. Find someone else if you'd like to learn any Italian during the semester.

Jan 2008

Gian Marie (as many of his students call him) was great. He was excited about the material and had a great time teaching the students and always did his best to make sure that the students understood what he was trying to convey (since he came in from the first day speaking only in italian- no english). He gave weekly quizzes which were sometimes a little challenging, but they were the department's quizzes, not his own work. He was willing to work with the student on ways to improve grades. he dropped the lowest quiz grade. There was one midterm and two finals- one written and one oral. Overall, one can learn a lot of italian language basics from this first semester class. A lot of dedication is needed in order to do well in the class, though.

Jan 2008

From reading past reviews, I got the impression that Seth was going to be a good, caring professor. Neither of these qualities were true. I found myself often bored in class, and dealing with a teacher who did not seem to care about making class activities interesting, did not have much energy (essential to make learning a new language doable and interesting), and was not timely in returning/grading assignments. A disappointment.

Nov 2007

STEVE BAKER IS AMAZING!!!! Oh my god I went into italian knowing absoloutely nothing but somehow he managed to actually teach me italian! He met with me whenever I needed to and reviewed whatever I needed to. He's always in a good mood...always bene bene bene...and he is one of the funniest people period. He makes funny sounds in class and he is so engaging and he just wants to be your friend!!! He is absolutely amazing if you have a chance to have him get him but it become pretty difficult just because everyone always wants him but if you have a chance take him!!!!! He's brilliant!!!

Nov 2007

Steve was fantastic! He is really nice and always wants to help you. I had him for two semesters and did well without too much effort. He is not from Italy but makes up for it by engaging his class. Take Italian with Steve!

Nov 2007

Take Steve Baker's class if you can. Please, do it. He is amazing. He makes class enjoyable, efficient, and just awesome. He is extremely approachable and accomodating and creates a great classroom environment. Because he is a native English speaker, it is very easy for him to follow his students' train of thought if there is confusion about translation, and he is generally very good at presenting new material in an understandable way. We begged him to ascend to the ranks of Intermediate with us, but alas, he braves Elementary still, and has amazing patience even with those who are not so gifted with foreign language. I will take it personally if you don't appreciate him as much as our class did. The casual conversational excercises, along with Steve's open and helpful demeanor, ensure that you'll be speaking fluent Italian at parties in no time (not to mention bragging to your friends how cute he is!)

Nov 2007

I literally cannot think of a complaint about Steve Baker. He is charming, enthusiastic, and throughly knowledgable. It is evident that he truly wants all of his students to succeed and will do whatever is necessary to make sure everyone understands. I looked forward to Italian with Steve because he makes every class entertaining and engaging, and I have never picked up the basics of a language so quickly.

Apr 2007

great instructor. she was so nice and was always willing to meet away from class. she is also so sweet there is no way to dislike her. also for beginning italian, it is easier/may be not as easy to trasfer, because she does not have a thick italian accent, but is an american teaching italian. Although when in her class you may think that she is amazing, i have heard that when i was in italian elementary 2, that the other teacher was easier on papers and easier in general. she was easy in elementary 1 but much harder in elementary 2. everyones grades suffered

Dec 2006

Seth is the best Italian teacher i have ever had. HIs class made me more proficient in italain than any other class I have taken before. He clearly has an extensive grip on the Italian language and addresses the material in class with ease. His best ability is the way he introduces discussion into the classroom. My italian ability soared from just a few group sessions of discussion in class. he keeps the atmosphere of the class light and even had some of the class joking with him in italian at the end. It seems as though his goal is to have the class comfortably converse in class and he teaches best when this is achieved. If you are looking to learn alot of the italian language as well as italian culture, take his class. The only fault of Seth Fabian is that he may be too qualified to teach beginner Italian.

Dec 2006

Professoressa Knittel is an amazing professor! She's so young and lively, and she really cares about her students! The work can be quite challenging, especially in the beginning, but she is always willing to help if you need it. If you take a class with her, you will most definitely speak better Italian by the end of the semester.

May 2006

Juliet was a very good language teacher. Nice, friendly, but very to the point. She was extremely helpful inside and outside the classroom and very understanding if you ever had any problems with getting the work done. Although the workload was neverending, the assignments could be saved up until the end of the week for those who tend to leave things till the last minute, so it was managable. I definitely recommend her.

May 2006

Juliet is an amazing teacher and so much fun to take an Italian class with! After my first semester of Elementary Italian (taken with another/not-so-good teacher), I switched into Juliet's class hoping that my experience would be better. I couldn't have asked for a better second semester of Elementary Italian. Although she is a little picky about grading and grammer, it is well worth it. My speaking and writing skills have improved dramatically because of Juliet. Her enthusiasm for Italian is wonderful and I never dreaded going to class. The time flies and she always has classes planned out very well. She is easily approachable and if you are unable to meet during her office hours, she will always find time to meet with you outside of class. Juliet never makes you feel stupid or slow (which you may feel a lot of the time when starting a language) and although she does speak a little fast, she is always willing to go over the material until you understand it completely. I have developed a new love for Italian because of Juliet and if you are willing to put some effort into it, Juliet's class is a great way to get a start with the language. I loved it!!

May 2006

Susanne is an absolutely fantastic instructor in every regard. This was her first year teaching Italian, but she was more enthusiastic and knowledgeable that many more seasoned professors that I've had. Although the course syllabus is standardized by the department, she kept things interesting by coming up with lots of interactive exercises (including a lot of skits) and focusing on what students wanted to cover in class. I think she's unique in the sense that she truly listens to the concerns of her students and will do whatever it takes to help people do well (she was always available outside of class and responded to e-mails within a few hours). The course itself is not life-changing (and sometimes covers too much vocabulary in too short a period of time), but Susanne always recognized these deficiencies and was more than willing to spend additional time working the more troublesome concepts. She made it so everyone looked forward to class, even though it began ridiculously early in the morning (well, 9AM); she was always chipper and ready to get working, which was crucial on those groggy Monday mornings. If you're taking Elementary, you should definitely consider having her as your instructor (many people in my class were dismayed that she wouldn't be teaching Intermediate). She will be one of your favorite professors, I promise.

Feb 2006

When I think of Seth, I think of one word: downer. Unfortuantely, Seth sucks a little bit of life out of the Italian language. What's more is that he doesn't really seem like he wants to be teaching the class, and often reminded us, in an oddly sadistic 'I'm-a-disillusioned-grad-student-and-I-am-going-to-fully-exercise-my-position-of-menial-power-over-you' kind of way, that "participation counts for 20 percent of your grade" when nobody would respond to a question. He often punctuates class with awkward, English-language questions or remarks, such as "Who else in the room is a grammar nerd besides me?". He has very little energy, and this shows when he tries to either get the class to speak or work in groups. His knowledge of the Italian language and its every grammatical rule, however, is incredible for a non-native speaker who's only 25. Italian with Seth is definitely an experience, but not necessarily a pleasurable one, although he does break his sullen face occasionally and laugh or make a joke. His enthusiasm for the Notre Dame football team, although understated on the surface, is, perhaps, a sign of a lively spirit hidden within a disillusioned grad student's body.

Feb 2006

I had Dolcino last semester for Italian. The best part of the class was probably following his wardrobe. And he totally played favorites with a few of the girls, which sometimes seemed to me to get a little sexual. The class would titter with nervous laughter. But as far as the actual teaching went, he was very dedicated and made sure we knew what was going on. He also really pushed people to come see him in his office hours, though I never went. He graded a little harshly compared to other teachers, which he knows and appears to almost revel in. I guess it's his way of pushing everyone to try their best. I wonder if it works... didn't for me.

Feb 2006

I admit it: I’m a fan of “Dolcino.” He dresses as if he’s a really cool guy, but I don’t really have a problem with that, because hey, he /is/ a cool guy. But should that matter, anyway? No, I don’t think so. He’s always enthusiastic in class—he encouraged us (and once required us) to see Italian films throughout the semester, and taught us some interesting things about the way Italians live. You certainly should NOT take this class if you’re a slacker, because you won’t do well; on the other hand, if you’re willing to do the work (it’s the same amount required of all of the rest of the classes), you will do just fine… never would I have called the way he graded our quizzes and tests harsh, but he’s also not particularly lenient. So… yeah. This guy’s 100% American, but it really comes across that he’s dedicated to every aspect of Italy. He’s got the accent, a completely fluent grasp of the nuanced language, a great understanding of the culture and history, etc… just take the class with him if you can. He’s a great guy.

Jan 2006

I struggled in this class, and Phillip was not much of a help. He tried, but I would reccomend taking a class with a native speaker. It was a huge difference for me!

Jan 2006

Lots of people don't like him. I don't know exactly why, but I have an idea...Bottom line, though, he's a great instructor. He's funny and does a great job of conveying meaning of Italian in Italian. I learned a lot from being submerged in Italian. If you're a good student, you'll enjoy the class, if you're not so great, you might find his methods annoying. If you're the average student, there shouldn't be anything to complain about. There are much worse. That's my observation. From what I've heard, he's tight about any kind of excuse for anything. Four out of five stars.

Jan 2006

She is the sweetest woman ever and a very good teacher. I would highly recomend her. I really dont know what to write, other than that she seems faultless in my eyes, very understanding about assignments and deadlines. I highly recomend any class with her.

Jan 2006

She is great! Really understanding and down-to-earth. She is very accomodating and really cares for her students. She knows it is a lot of material so she is really helpful.

Dec 2005

Patrizio is a really cute, sweet Italian guy who is always accessible to answer any question and help you on anything you need, no matter how basic your question may be. This is both a strong point and a weakness for him, because his generosity with taking questions and reviewing old material slowed down the pace of the class, in my opinion. Though we covered the material that Patrizio had set out to cover, I lost motivation quickly when the pace slowed down, and was really let down when I realized we wouldn't be learning the future tense by the end of the semester. This may be a fault of the curriculum as designed by the department, and not by Patrizio, though I'm not sure. Either way, Patrizio is great with helping you get used to listening to the language and understanding the grammar and pronunciation, since he's a native Italian. His English needs work, but that can be expected of any recent immigrant.

Dec 2005

wow. italian with twilley can be summed up in the first day: no introductions about himself, even though he's clearly not much older than anyone in the class, and asks everyone to speak in italian after we had only been learning it for three months, and AFTER that big 4 month summer vacation in between. it was a little ridiculous; everyone was baffled/out of it, but we sat there, in pain. twice a week. two hours at a time. seriously, if you want to remember why you liked the italian language (so much while keeping the workload to something sane), try to stay out of his class. or at least, get yourself into a class where the prof wont refuse to give you a check plus on your workbook exercises that you check YOURSELF.

Dec 2005

Totally pompous, but he does the job. He tries very hard to come across as a cool bohemian, which is totally annoying. He speaks too much Enlglish in class--quite often, rather than taking the pains to explain things in Italian, he quickly switched to English. Take Stephen Twilley instead, if he's around (though, I guess grad students only get stuck doing this once anyway). He follows the syllabus well, teaches you everything you need to know, etc...like, I said he does the job, but his blatant pompousness really irked me.

Aug 2005

Professor Twilley was the most amazing teacher...He was hysterical and knew how to lighten up the classroom yet he always managed to keep the material organized and easy to understand..I highly reccommend his class

Jul 2005

Class was really easy and usually fun. It met at dinner time so have a snack before you go. Good way to fill the requirement and not have to do much.

Jul 2005

Patrizia is great. She's really nice and genuinely seems to care about her students. She's also very relaxed about deadlines and grading compositions. How much you learn is completely based on how much you pay attention and how much effort you put in.

Jun 2005

Saskia was absolutely amazing. She was very clear, thorough, easy to understand, and made learning italian so easy I felt I was practically learning by osmosis rather than hard work and sweat. She was always very inclusive of everyone, and showed interest in every single student. My only question is....why has culpa yet to give her a big gold star??

Jun 2005

Vlad is the most fun Italian teacher a beginner could have!!!!!!!!! Highly recommended!

May 2005

The previous review doesn't do Vlad justice. He is a fun teacher and a great guy. Since the class is an elementary language he is confined by the syllabus and basically had time to kill in the class so he joked around with the students. I have to agree that he can be kind of moody a lot of times and brings it into the classroom.

May 2005

Vlad was awesome! He was so easy and after the first half of the semester we spoke English almost all the time in class! He tells you all sorts of weird stuff like how many times a week he washes his hair and that he cuts himself shaving all the time. He really likes to go out dacing.

May 2005

Vlad is a decent teacher and does what he has to. The quality of his teaching really depends on his mood. Sometimes he was really good and lively and other times he didn't hide that he hated teaching the class and couldn't wait to get out of there. He really acts like one of the students, though, by making jokes, dressing like us, and telling us all about where he likes to go dancing. So, he really lost control of the class and there were some sessions when people just acted really loud and crazy.

May 2005

All the reviews are right on - Saskia is incredible! I've never had a teacher who was so nice and yet such a good teacher. Excellent sense of humor, really kind grader, and really teaches Italian. She speaks only Italian, and very very rarely and reluctantly uses English if necessary (like 3 sentences a week) and then switches immediately back to italian. Plus, she's utterly adorable and has a very good sense of style.

May 2005

Elissa was an amazing instructor, if you get through her tough-guy persona on the first day. She is geniunely interested in teaching and seems eager to engage each of the students on a personal level and make them as interested in the material as she is. In addition to being a great instructor she's a truly kind and interesting person.

May 2005

Having never taken a language class at Columbia, I was nervous at first. But at the very first day, I knew that Elissa was going to make this class fun and not something to stress about. Elissa does make you work like any other professor, but she has a real gift in making any concept in Italian very easy to understand and the homework (i compiti) is never an overload. Elissa does call on people as is expected, however, its not like a spotlight is on you as she calls on everyone equally. You are expected to speak Italian most of or all the time. Yet, if you do break out into English, don't fear. Elissa might respond back to you in Italian, but its not like you committed a carnal sin or anything. As for Elissa, her amazing fluency (being from Pennsylvannia no less) does allow her to speak Italian the whole class, but sometimes she'll explain it in Italian and then explain what she said in English. Or Elissa will just very briefly talk in English for fun, but she is funny no matter language she speaks in. Trust me, if Elissa is still teaching (as she is writting her dissertation for her PhD), register with her!

May 2005

Elissa is an Italian literature grad student and is a great teacher. The first day (the only day she speaks a lot of english) might give you the impression that she will be an anal bitch, but once she starts teaching in Italian you will realize that she is passionate both about her students and the language itself. Despite her strict syllabus requirements and penalties, she is extremely understanding with lateness/forgotten homework/etc, and she lets you drop one quiz grade per semester (but if you have to go out of town during a quiz, she won't let you reschedule). She's very easy to get in touch with, and puts a lot of extra review material and general fun italian information on courseworks. Highly recommended if you are genuinely interested in italian

Apr 2005

Saskia is without a doubt the greatest human being on Earth, and if not Earth, then the Columbia Italian department. She is sweet, sympathetic, doesn't hate you if you are incredibly stupid, and doesn't hate you if you speak in sentences that contain 8 English words and 1 Italian one. She is super lenient about compositions and homeworks, and will ALWAYS understand if you are way too busy and couldn't do lab. Class is almost NEVER boring, because Saskia plays songs and has us make up excersizes to write on the board. It's basically like playtime and Italian all in one. I love her class, everyone should have Saskia once in their lives.

Apr 2005

If you are thinking of taking an Italian course, I highly reccommend Elda. Her warm personality makes the class more relaxed and welcoming and she is very approachable if you have questions.She is also a great instructor- she makes the material very clear and she speaks mainly in Italian (although she will intersperse this w/ English if necessary) which really helps you get a feel for the language. Her quizzes and exams are very fair and if you take her evening class, she spends the first half of the class reviewing. She also encourages class participation and by the end of the semester you feel like you know all the people in your class, which isn't often found here. One reccommendation: make a good first impression. She tends to give you the same grade on all your compositions and quizzes so if you do well for the first few weeks, expect a good final grade.

Jan 2005

Very cool. Required the lab/workbook/essays but was very lax with due dates/attendance. Very nice teacher and a native speaker. Coolest class was when she played an Italian song for us about marijuana and had us try and figure out what it was about.

Jan 2005

I could not have asked for a better first-time Italian teacher than Rebecca Bauman. Always cheerful and always energetic, she put me at ease immediately, along with the entire class. One of my biggest fears in language classes was always speaking aloud, but she let me and my fellow students know that it was okay to make mistakes, and that made us try even harder. She often starts out the class with short questions/conversation, and is more than happy to go over things more than once and explain them in different ways so that everyone understands. I often admired her for her ability to stay focused as well as kind in a class full of students who very often seemed not to care at all (I can guess that most of them were only taking the class to fulfill a language requirement). I can say with assurance that even the people who didn't want to be there early in the morning could not help but love her as a teacher anyway. I would take her again for Elementary II if it fit my schedule, but sadly it does not. If you have her, be thankful that you will actually spend a semester LEARNING!

Jan 2005

I studied with her as a beginner. I enjoyed the class and her instruction and learned a lot along the way. I only wish I could've taken all my Italian courses with her.

Jan 2005

Elda was a wonderful professor. She was always full of life and enthusiastic about teaching our class. By the end of the year, the class felt like a family. Elda was always willing to go back and review for quizzes and did a great job teaching the grammar portions of the class. If you can take her night class, it was a really great experience. It was an extremely relaxed and very welcoming experience. I highly recommend this class. She is a really fun teacher and her tests are not hard. The midterm and the final were very fair. She makes herself available for questions after class.

Jan 2005

If I were you, I would take Saskia's class in a heartbeat! She is an incredibly gifted professor with the warmest smile, amazing organization, a knack for language, the coolest boots, and an apparent passion for life and for teaching. The last day I left class I said "ti amo" -- "I love you" in Italian -- because the truth is that I do love Saskia, along with the rest of our class. I looked forward to her class everyday and was often shocked when the class was over because it seemed so short! She held our attention from beginning to end, filling the 50 minutes with her interactive teaching, music, fun etc... The truth is that, until Saskia, I did not realize that I could form so many honest smiles while simultaneously learning so much! At the end of the semester, I went from a bland and boring Latin scholar who could not hear or speak any modern language to an enthused and qualified Italian student! GRAZIE SASKIA! You work wonders and make me contemplate whether I should be a teacher too!

Jan 2005

I looked forward to Barbara's class everyday! She's very lively, and she makes classes interesting. We covered everything in the syllabus about two weeks before the semester ended, so we had plenty of time to review for the final. She's very supportive and open to help with any questions her students have. Barbara showed us a few movie clips in class so we could enjoy ourselves while we observed Italian dialogues. It helps that she is from Italy - she tells us stories about Perugia, and she teaches us to speak with an authentic Italian accent. I loved having class with Barbara, and I'd recommend her to anyone looking to take Italian. I hope I can register for one of her classes again!

Dec 2004

Great teacher, class very straightforward, do the homework, do the language labs, study for each quiz and you will be fine. Attending class is mandatory but she is so nice I felt bad if I missed a class. If you are doing well on the quizzes, the midterms are direct review, and if you did well all semester, the final won't have any surprises.

Dec 2004

OMG I love Prof. Spinelli! She is so energetic and wonderful... I can't say enough good things about her! If you are on time (she hates tardiness) and participate she will try 100% to make sure you are doing well.

Dec 2004

Zane is fantastic. He is a little intimidating at first because he's pretty intense, but once you get to know him and the class starts to loosen up a bit, you will all have a great time. He is an excellent instructor, and won't hesitate to spend as much time as you need helping you understand something. He loves to have people come to his office hours, and is always willing to help via e-mail any time. He grades the quizes pretty toughly, but it's worth it in the end. The class is difficult, but nothing you'll freak out about. If you have to opportunity to take any class with Zane, do it! He's a great teacher, and a great guy.

Dec 2004

He's cool. At first it may seem to be a lot of work but once you get used to it it's not bad at all. He doesn't just use the boring examples from the book and tries to talk about everyday real life things. He can pack so much into a 50 minute class-period, I was amazed. I felt very comfortable in the class and felt no apprehension about making mistakes because it is elementary I and that's how we best learned.

Dec 2004

Professoressa Bauman is amazing. She is always available for help before or after class or through e-mail. She is understanding and incredibly nice. The class was a lot of fun because of her sense of humor and creativity... I think the whole class can agree that we were never bored. She concentrates on conversation and teaching through experience rather than the teaching in a textbook format. Her laidback yet fun and exciting classroom atmosphere was reason enough to get me up in the morning. HIGHLY recommended!!!!

Nov 2004

I looooooooove Saskia!!! Her class is great: fun, fast-paced, and enlightening. She is always moving around, trying her best to make sure you understand what she is trying to explain. She speaks only Italian from day 1, but it's extremely helpful in regards to pronunciation and comprehension. I know that I speak on behalf of my entire class when I say that we enjoyed coming to see her Monday through Thursday AND that we actually established a good foundation in the language. And to prove it - most of us are signed up to take Elementary Italian II with her again! I myself arrived at L course sign-up 3 hours in advance just to make sure that I would be in her section next semester. If you are truly looking to learn but also want to have a good time, visit Saskia!

Sep 2004

I definitely agree with the other review. Everyone in our class adored Saskia, so much so that we bought her a gift certificate at the end of the year to show our appreciation! She is very personable,and explains italian grammar and vocab in an extremely clear way. Her class is relaxing (not intimidating, like some language classes), yet we all received a very strong foundation in italian. If you can take her section, don't pass it up

Jul 2004

Zane is amazing! You totally forget he's not italian...he knows sooo much about the culture. Once you're inside the classroom it's like traveling right into the heart of Italy. He has so much to say about the way of life there. His italian is great and will move the world to be available for you. Zane truly cares about his students learning the language well. His students feel no intimidation to speak italian and make as many mistakes as one possibly can. He gives equal amount of time dedicated to grammar and conversational skills for an elementary/intermediate level. He's funny and makes the class a relaxing and fun environment with ramdom activities and assignments. Overall, I recommend this class enthusiastically!!!

Dec 2003

definitely one of my favorite teachers... entertaining and unintentionally funny, very nice, helpful, encouraging, and a good teacher. if you are going to take italian try to get into her class...she is awesome and her class is at 1pm which is superb. plus you have to sing italian songs once in a while which made my day because none of us could sing and the music made me feel like i was in an elevator.

Dec 2003

saskia is absolutely the best. her classes never drag and she has a terrific sense of humor, not to mention a terrific style of teaching! if you can figure out which section of italian she's teaching, sign up immediately--you won't be disappointed! she's extremely fair in grading and understanding about deadlines and you'll actually come out of classes having learned something

Aug 2003

Failla is funny and energetic, and very nice and understanding, but his class is a waste of time. I didn't learn much and he wasn't open to suggestions or change. I also found him to be an unfair grader. I don't think he likes guys, so if you're a guy and you want a good grade, take Italian with someone else. If you're a girl who's just looking for an easy A, I guess you could take his class.

Jun 2003

I loved her! Even though she is an easy grader and has a lax attitude about departemental busy work, I still learned a lot this semester. She explains things much better than my teacher last semester, perhaps because she isn't afraid to speak in English. But that isn't to say that Italian is not spoken in class. The class is more like conversational Italian, which is good at this stage of the game. Some people chose not to speak any Italian during the semester, answering all questions in English, and Patrizia did not object. However, it was more beneficial and became increasingly easier to just answer in Italian. We also got to go on some cool field trips since the class meets at 6-8 pm. I guess the only thing about this class is that the student is responsible for learning a lot of the material because it is easy to get away with slacking off. If you don't need someone to hold your hand through the foreign language requirement and are a mature, self-driven student interested in learning Italian in a relaxed environment, this class should be perfect.

Apr 2003

Molly is a wonderful teacher, she makes everything very clear. Her teaching methods are extremely effective and her exams are more than fair. Every night there is a little homework, nothing to stress over.

Apr 2003

I absolutely dreaded Italian, but I love Patrizia's class. Patrizia is a really sweet, easy-going and fun lady who makes Italian seem like fun rather than a chore. True, she does speak English often in class, but THIS IS A GOOD THING. She speaks in Italian, and then repeats everything in English, so the information actually sinks in. Also, Patrizia does not drag her classes through all of the department assigned busy-work, and she arranges Italian field-trips. I love this lady-- if you have the opportunity, take her class.

Feb 2003

It may be "EASY," but that is only because Patrizia is "L-A-Z-Y" Her "pigra" attitude is reflected in her students disrespect and her lack of involvement. She speaks in English most of the time and really doesn't care whether or not her students learn anything. Take this class if you don't care.

Dec 2002

Having spent three semesters at Columbia, I've suffered insufferable profs, But hands down Olson was the best teacher I had the luck of selecting -- she's so so so understanding, and her LEGIT passion for the language is communicated. I took KO my first semester, and recently passed her on my in a hallway; seeing her again alerted me to the fact she's the only prof I'd ever stop in the hallway to have a conversation with. In fact, Kristina is so much fun I'm sure it'd be a pleasure to spend an hour drinking espresso with her at Pertutti. But for those who can't work their way into her personal schedule, find a way to work into her professional schedule.

Dec 2002

Take this course! Kristina is an AMAZING professor. She manages to keep everyone wide-eyed at 9 AM! I would suggest this class above any other that I have taken. Sign up now.

Nov 2002

Patrizia was by far my best teacher this semester. She is funny, easygoing, and her class is more than manageable. The departmental work gets assigned but she doesnt really care if you do it or not. It is hard not to get an A in this class if you pay attention and do minimal work and studying at home. Overall an easy, enjoyable class.

May 2002

E-A-S-Y. The Italian Department asks teachers to assign lots of busywork, but Patrizia doesn't care if you actually do any of it. She's supernice and relates very well to students, and her accent is adorable! If it didn't meet at such a God-awful time (6-8 pm MW), this class would be perfect. but it's still highly recommended.

Apr 2002

I don't think there could be a better teacher for this class. Kristina is funny, sweet and approachable and you never feel like you aren't getting the attention you deserve. Her grading is very fair; you always get the grade you expected. I know its cheesy, but class really feels more like a family than a random assorment of students. With this environment, its easy to ace every quiz.....Take this class with this woman!!!!

Jan 2002

Silvia is excellent. She is careful, attentive, and will answer every question you have. Although she's not a native speaker (she's Bulgarian) her Italian accent isn't a problem, and it actually helps to have a non-native speaker teaching you because she probably had the same problems when learning Italian as you're likely to encounter - this makes it easier for her to identify problem spots for students. She's great fun too... she made us three home-cooked meals. If you have Silvia, make sure you hold on to her - she's absolutely brilliant!