Italian is spoken by 61 million people in Italy and by 85 million people throughout the world. As a second language, Italian is spoken by 250 million and is the fourth most studied second language in the world.
While Italy’s artistic and culinary patrimony is internationally recognized, the country’s significant achievements in science, technology, engineering, manufacturing, and medicine are less well known. Italy is a major political and economic force in Europe and the world. It possesses the world’s seventh largest economy, and many employers are seeking people who speak both Italian and English. Italy is a world leader in the culinary arts, interior design, fashion, graphic design, furniture design, art restoration and preservation, machine tool manufacturing, robotics, electromechanical machinery, shipbuilding, space engineering, construction machinery, and transportation equipment. An estimated 7,500 American companies do business with Italy and more than 1,000 U.S. firms have offices in Italy, including Eli Lilly, Pfizer, IBM, General Electric, Motorola, Citibank, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The iconic Chrysler Group LLC, one of the “Big Three” American automobile manufacturers is owned by Italian automaker FIAT as of 2014. Many Italian firms have offices in the U.S., especially in the Boston metropolitan area.
A major or minor in Italian Studies allows students to pursue careers in a variety of fields including though not limited to education, business, computer programming and web design, law, public relations, journalism, archaeology, telecommunications, arts administration, non-governmental organizations, hospitality management, publishing, library science, graduate studies, politics, or public and environmental affairs. In the public sector, government agencies and the military also offer many and diverse opportunities for individuals with international proficiency.