Spend your summer abroad in Siena, a city of architectural, medieval, and artisanal wonders! You’ll have the opportunity to learn Italian, soak up Italy’s rich culture, connect with locals, and become part of an international community. This four-week program provides intensive language immersion through both formal study, academic tutoring, and access to all facilities at the University of Foreign Students of Siena. This is your chance to gain critical language and intercultural skills, experiences, and friends that’ll stay with you for the rest of your life. Make this an unforgettable Tuscan summer abroad in Italy.
Current high school students and recent graduates are eligible. Specific age requirements may apply; contact AFS for more details. Must be in good academic standing (recommended GPA of 2.0 or above).
- Medical Insurance
Things to know about Siena and Italian Culture
Il Campo, the central piazza and heart of Siena, is known worldwide for the famous Palio, a horse race run around the piazza two times each summer. The city sits over three hills, with the huge piazza del Campo at its center, where the Roman forum used to be!
Generally, Italians tend to be demonstrative; many conversations involve enthusiastic hand gestures and facial expressions. They’re generally outgoing and friendly, but people in the north can be a bit more reserved than those in the south. No matter the region, Italians know how to enjoy la dolce vita (the sweet life) and can show you how to appreciate art, food, and the company of friends and family.
Your journey to Siena
Your journey to Italy will begin in New York, where you’ll meet your fellow AFSers from the U.S. You’ll land in Rome, where you’ll attend an overnight orientation and get a crash course on Italian culture. Then, you’re off! You’ll travel with your group to Siena where you’ll be welcomed by AFS Staff and Volunteers.
Your Italian Language Lessons
You will attend the University of Foreign Students of Siena for a 4-week program with a focus on Italian language. Instruction will be four hours a day, Monday through Friday. During the afternoon, you’ll have an academic tutor assigned and you’ll also have access to all the facilities of the University. There will be an excursion almost every week to nearby towns and museums of Siena. You’ll also have the chance to experience the atmosphere of the Palio of Siena, one of the oldest horse races in the world with a lot of events based on folklore!
Exploring Siena and Tuscany
Italian teenagers like to play sports, spend time together in cafés, or go out dancing. Calcio, or to Americans, soccer, is often the cause of singing, chanting, and celebration. Calcio fans are called tifosi, literally “typhus patients,” because of their feverish dedication.
On your program, there will be an excursion almost every week to nearby towns and museums. You’ll have the opportunity to explore Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance and home to such masterpieces as Michelangelo’s Statue of David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus! Excursions also include optional visits to other stunning medieval towns of the area.
Where You’ll Stay
You’ll be living in a University Hall of Residence with other international students. Dormitory-style living is a great way to bond with your classmates, develop lifelong friendships, and provide additional opportunity for intercultural exchange!
Foods You’ll Encounter
People in Italy take their time eating and it isn’t a place where you eat a salad alone, in front of your computer. Mealtimes are a social event, lasting for hours on weekends or holidays. Italians know their bread and cheese, so you’re bound to taste some incomparable pizza and pasta. But you can also enjoy seafood, breaded meats, and fresh vegetables. For dessert there’s gelato, a classic favorite, as well as a long list of traditional pastries, including tiramisu, a rich cake whose name means “pull me up” because of how satisfied and full it makes you feel.
In Siena, you’ll be sure to encounter a popular pasta dish called pici (thick spaghetti). In the summer, common dishes are caprese (tomato and fresh mozzarella), insalata di riso (a rice salad generally with cut up vegetables and tuna fish), pasta fredda (a cold pasta dish, which can vary but is often with tomato and basil) and pasta with pesto (a basil sauce, which originates in Genova, but is now popular throughout the country in summertime). At pastry shops, be sure to try the famous ricciarelli, wonderful soft cookies made with almond paste!
- 70+ years of experience delivering high-quality programs through a worldwide network of 50,000 dedicated volunteers
- Round-trip international airfare for the designated program dates
- Program activity fees
- Worldwide, 24-hour emergency assistance
- Access to an in-country support team and network, as well as our Participant Support Department based here in the U.S.
- International secondary medical travel coverage
- Visa support and guidance
- Inclusion in a worldwide returnee and alumni network of over 1,000,000 people
What’s not included
“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one.
When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Italy.
In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.