Semester — Spring 2020
Year — Fall 2019
Sep 3-6, 2019 → Jul 5-8, 2020
Rewrite your high school experience while walking among ancient ruins and sampling the world’s best gelato. By going to a local school, you’ll be totally immersed in Italian language and culture. At night you’ll go home to your host family and community, where you’ll discover the delights of Italian hospitality and home-cooked meals. Mealtimes are a social event, lasting for hours on weekends or holidays. Be prepared for generous portions, strong coffee, and tasty treats. Italians know their bread and cheese, so you’re bound to taste some incomparable pizza and pasta.
Each local chapter organizes activities for exchange students and host families throughout the year, like parties and trips to other cities in Italy. So, while you’ll be so much more than a tourist, you’ll still get to see the sights and savor la dolce vita (the sweet life)!
This is your chance to learn the ins and outs of Italian daily life and experience what it’s like to be an Italian teenager. As a country known to excel in art, architecture, food, and culture, Italy is an ideal place to step outside of your comfort zone and engage in an exciting new adventure.
Your journey to Italy will begin in New York City, where you’ll meet your fellow AFSers from the US. You’ll learn some essentials for your first days in Italy and speak with a Cultural Resource who recently spent time there. Then, you’re off! You’ll travel with a group to Rome where you’ll be welcomed by AFS Staff and Volunteers.
Soon you’ll be ready to head to your new community. Along the way, you’re likely to pass remnants of the Roman Empire as well as modern architecture. You might also catch sight of the snow-capped Alps or drive through picturesque coastal towns nestled on the Adriatic Sea. No matter where you are though, you’re bound to come across street vendors offering creamy gelato or crispy fried pastries.
AFSers have lived in communities all throughout Italy, including the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Most host families live in small communities, but you could also find yourself in a rural or urban area.
Families are the focal point for life in Italy. But like anywhere in the world, all families are different. It’s common, especially in the south, for many generations to live together under one roof. Young adults tend to stay at home until they get married, so you might have older host siblings living with you as well.
Italians take their time when eating, so get ready for long, filling meals. Conversations can be a full-body experience, complete with hand gestures and animated facial expressions. Expect to have plenty of lively conversations with loyal friends and family.
Local chapters also offer an Exchange Week opportunity: year program students can choose to visit another part of Italy for a week to expand their understanding of Italian culture!
To help you feel comfortable with Italian even before you begin your program, you'll be given access to a Rosetta Stone language course. Once you arrive in Italy, a tutor assigned by your host school will follow your progress and help you with your transition. Additional Italian lessons will be organized by local volunteers for the first two or three months of your stay to really help you perfect your language skills.
Italians are usually easy-going and friendly, but they still work hard at school. Students in Italy attend classes Monday through Saturday, from about 8:30am to 1:30pm. Your academic experience will offer you an excellent opportunity to learn the language and integrate yourself into everyday Italian life. Plus, distinct types of Italian high schools allow students to focus more on subjects and disciplines that interest you. They are academic, technological, and professional*:
We do everything we can to enroll you in your top choice of school type, but we can’t guarantee specific courses or specializations.
"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 feel like you can do anything you set your mind to.
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.
In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.
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.
A new you awaits. Apply for High School Study Abroad in Italy!
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.