Italian comes to the Terrace

Two women have set out to bring Italian culture and language to the Perth business community.

Annalisa Trapani and Rosella Scarponi Frezza have opened Culture Shock, which they say has been useful for human resources purposes and helpful to exporters and importers.

Italian is classed as one of the eight community languages in Australia. It is also the second most commonly spoken language in this country.

The main focus of Australia-Italy trade seems to be the gold mine project in Sardinia and efforts to increase olive production in Australia.

Ms Scarponi Frezza said the company’s Italian culture and language courses were also good team building exercises.

“For example, it can help a manager and his secretary start at the same level – while learning Italian at the same time,” she said.

The company has also prepared a beginners’ level customer service course in Italian.

“It’s not just the language but the culture as well,” Ms Scarponi Frezza said.

“Even people’s business titles are different in Italian.”

In an innovative move, Bendigo Bank has opened Cassa Commerciale – a fully Italian branch – at 190 St George’s Terrace.

Ms Trapani said the company had also been doing well with private childcare centres.

“It’s not so much about children learning Italian. It’s more to help them learn another language which can be difficult for solely-English speakers,” she said.

Ms Trapani said they tried to use as recent material as possible.

“Either Rossella or myself go to Italy every six months,” she said.

Ms Scarponi Frezza said they were also running Italian on the Terrace, a program in English for those interested in learning about Italian culture.

“There are benefits for exporters learning about Italian culture,” she said.

“English is not as widely spoken in Italy as some people may think.

“Knowing a few words of Italian can make business conversations easier,” she said.

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