Kathleen Mallett

Chicago, IL

Majors and certificates

Italian and Communication Arts

Graduation year


After graduation

Since graduating, I've been working for Yelp in Chicago as an Account Executive.


I love Italian food and knew I wanted to study a Romance language.

How language enriched

I studied abroad in Italy for a summer, and when the program was over, I spent 10 days traveling through Italy alone. I learned a lot from making my way through a foreign country with no phone and a broken computer. It forced me to meet new people, make new connections, ask lots of questions and become a much better listener. It also made me a lot more confident. Learning Italian has opened my eyes to a new culture (and cuisine!) in a way that I probably wouldn't understand as much without knowing the language itself.

Favorite memory

I remember my kind professors. My Italian professors were always so passionate about the subjects they were teaching and invested in their students. My Italian classes were usually very small and we spoke only in Italian, so you were always thinking and paying close attention. Valued experiences

How language was maintained

Every once in a while, I have a client that speaks Italian in my job, but Italian is a poetic language, not ideal for business, so we exchange pleasantries in Italian and then switch to English. To continue practicing, I use apps like Duolingo (where it quizzes you on vocabulary and grammar), and Tandem or HelloTalk (which pair you with a native speaker of the language you're learning. That person is usually trying to learn or practice your language so you can help each other. It's similar to the "tandems" I attended in Perugia, but with less espresso and vino). I am lucky to be in a big city like Chicago so apps like Meetup.com have several groups that meet in libraries, cafes, or Eataly to practice Italian. I've been to a few of these meet ups as well.

Advice for others

Study abroad! And then take some time to see the country yourself. No better way to learn the language.

Favorite word or phrase

Gimmo, freghi! (Perugian dialect for "let's go, guys")


Learning Italian has opened my eyes to a new culture (and cuisine!) in a way that I wouldn't understand without knowing the language itself.