Is anyone else having difficulty understanding why these examples are being put forth as gerunds? A gerund is a form derived from a verb that is used as a noun - in this example, it should therefore read as, "My thinking is to go abroad", where "thinking" is the gerund. "I am thinking" is simply not a gerund, nor have any of the examples in this chapter thus far. If I have it wrong, would someone please clarify? È frustrante. :-(
The difficulty is that in Italian, what they CALL a 'gerundio' is not always (as you correctly point out) what we mean by 'gerund' in English. The Italian 'gerundio' (which Duo translates as 'gerund', but it's not really) is frequently the equivalent of our progressive tense: "I am thinking," "I was thinking," etc.
However, you CAN also use the Italian 'gerundio' as an actual gerund in Italian too: "Pensando così, ho fatto un errore" = "Thinking thus, I made a mistake". Or, as in your example, "Il mio pensando è di andare estero" (My thinking is to go abroad). But so far, I haven't actually SEEN Duo use any 'gerundio' like an actual English gerund in any of the lessons.
Although we distinguish between the progressive tense and gerunds in English, to Italians, BOTH of these applications are the same: gerundi.
Really, the word gerundio is one of those 'false friends' where the word doesn't precisely mean what you'd think it does. Unfortunately, Duo doesn't explain this.
I hope that helps a bit?
pensare means to plan when it requires di before any infinitive. I just do not understand why Italians have guidelines / rules : Here, pensare when to think "a" and when means to plan "di" before an infinitive.
I am thinking, right now, about = di then the infinitive. The gerund andando cannot be a subject nor a direct object. Only infinitive.