Summer Homestay Program — 2019
Jun 20-23, 2019 → Jul 28-31, 2019
Spend your summer in Italy soaking up Roman architecture and Renaissance painting or tasting some delicious homemade pasta. This five-week program gives you the full immersion experience with one week of language classes and four weeks living with a host family. You’ll also explore the historic cities of Tuscany and take a grand tour of Rome, where you’ll get the chance to see the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, Vatican City, and St. Peter’s Basilica, among other world-famous sites. If you’re looking for more than a typical summer abroad, then this is the program for you.
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. Italy is also famous for its style, so you’ll likely pass through cobblestone streets teaming with elegant, well-dressed fashionistas.
Your journey to Italy will begin in New York, where you’ll meet your fellow AFSers from the US. You’ll attend an overnight orientation and get a crash course on Italian culture. Then, you’re off! You’ll travel with a group to Rome where you’ll be welcomed by AFS staff and volunteers.
As you head north, you’re likely to see medieval castles and remnants of ancient Roman architecture. Before long you’ll arrive in sun-drenched Tuscany, where you’ll spend your first week amid the green, hilly landscape of northern Italy. Here you’ll attend a language camp, with lessons in the morning and cultural classes in the afternoon.
Your language lessons will be interspersed with activities related to Italian music, cuisine, art, and history. You can also take trips to nearby towns such as Florence, Pisa, and Lucca, paying attention to the subtle changes in food and lifestyle as you travel to each new place.
After the first week, you’ll begin your homestay. You’ll live with a host family for four weeks, experiencing life as a regular Italian teenager. You can put your new language skills to the test and taste some delicious regional delicacies.
Italian families tend to be large, and it’s common for many generations to live together under one roof. Young adults often stay at home with their parents until they get married, so you might have older host siblings living with you as well.
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. When they’re not watching or playing soccer, your host family and friends might also enjoy basketball, motor racing, or cycling. At the end of the five-week program, you’ll take a grand tour of Rome, visiting historic sites like the Forum, the Colosseum, Vatican City, and St. Peter’s Basilica.
People in Italy take their time eating, and often come home in the middle of the day to enjoy lunch with family and friends. This 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. 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. But you can also enjoy seafood, breaded meats, and fresh vegetables. For dessert there’s 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.
"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 visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
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.