Studying abroad in Italy will give you a chance to live in a cultural mecca famous for its history, art, music, literature, landscape, and delicious food. As an exchange student in Italy, you will live with a host family, practice your Italian language skills while attending a local high school and have the opportunity to stand out on college applications.
This program is ideal if you:
- Find yourself buying gelato every time you head to the grocery store
- Love history, art, and culture. Trust us, there’s lots of it in Italy!
- Want to learn a less commonly taught language or connect with heritage
- Want a rigorous academic experience
Sound about right? Here’s a quick overview:
- Host family accommodation provides full language & cultural immersion
- No previous Italian experience is required — beginners welcome!
- You can choose between trimester, semester or academic year lengths
- Start dates available in spring or fall
*Video courtesy of Italian Tourism
Application Deadline: March 10th
- Trimester school dates: September – November
- Semester school dates: September – January
- Academic Year: September – June
Exact dates of arrival and departure depend on the host family and school you are placed in, as each school has a different start date. You will know your exact dates once you are placed in a school and host family!
Arrival and Departure
All students are required to book flights on their own. An airport transfer upon arrival is included in the cost of the program. You will be provided your exact arrival and departure dates after acceptance, as well as the exact timeframes you should arrive/depart, so that you can start to search for possible flights. Prior approval of a proposed itinerary is required before you purchase any flights.
Packaged into the Price:
- Airport pickup upon arrival & domestic transfer to the host placement site
- Host family accommodation and 3 meals per day
- Comprehensive medical/accident insurance
- 3-day on-site orientation in Milan*
- Arrival Orientation with a local coordinator
- Certificate of Completion upon successful completion of the program for use on college applications.
* NOTE: the ability to run the on-site Milan orientation will depend on COVID-19 restrictions
- $1,500 Application Fee due by the program deadline to formally apply
- $5,000 Commitment Payment due 14 days after acceptance
- Remaining balance is due 16 weeks prior to your start date. If your program starts within 16 weeks of acceptance, the remaining program balance payment will be due at the same time as the commitment payment.
Please note there is a non-negotiable $450 late application fee for any applications received after the stated application deadline.
So, what about credits?
The host school abroad provides high school credit. All credit must be granted through your home school in the U.S. or Canada. All U.S./Canadian schools have different policies.
In Italy, we cannot guarantee your host school will provide you an official transcript. If your school will not, some host schools will provide documentation, letters, and any other materials you require upon request. You must have good behavior, attendance, and performance in order for the school to fulfill this request.
Then, you should take this documentation back to your home school as proof of your participation in the program. Your home school is responsible for awarding you credit for this program or not.
Before You Go Abroad
You should meet with your U.S./Canadian high school before you leave and share the general curriculum guidelines for Italy with your guidance counselor and/or teachers.
Because the curriculum will vary by school and we cannot guarantee you’ll take any specific classes, it is important that you arrange the required classes required for your graduation, such as U.S. History, before or after your time abroad.
Once You’re Abroad
Please keep in mind that the grading system in other countries is different than the US. Most host schools in Italy will not grant grades or transcripts as it is too difficult to evaluate your work due to the language barrier. If your host school is able to award you grades, they won’t be an exact match to what you would get in the US.
Your Quick Guide to Italian High Schools
- Most schools begin around 8am and finish around 1pm, 6 days per week. (School on Saturdays is more fun if you’re in Italy, right?)
- You won’t eat lunch at school, but you will bring a snack for break around 11am
- Your school sets your course schedule for you. Most students take the following: Italian Language and Literature, English Language and Literature, History, Math, Science, and P.E.
- You’ll be enrolled in one specific “class.” You won’t move from one classroom to another, that’s what the teachers will do!
- Most learning is lecture style, where teachers will give information and students will take notes. There is less group/experiential work in the Italian classroom.
- Most students are enrolled in schools called “Liceos” – these are for students who will later attend university. Some Lyceums have specific focuses such as science, arts, linguistics, classical, musical, or human sciences.
- There’s no uniform, but you should dress nicely (not formal, just not sloppy!)
- Each student has a “dedicated teacher” – this is your school coordinator who will be your resource for any academic questions or concerns
- Many (not all) schools offer extra language tutoring for international students. If your school does not, your local coordinator will be able to help identify where to find tutoring.
Support and Services:
- Visa Assistance in applying for the visa ahead of arrival, including visa paperwork and extensive directions and support.
- Extensive pre-departure advice and support from your US-based program coordinators. They will be with you from your first inquiry, all the way through preparing to leave and your arrival in Italy.
- Support from in-country staff upon arrival to Italy.
- Online pre-departure cultural and logistical orientation before you leave.
- 24-hour in-country and emergency support for the duration of the program, including 24-hour emergency phone numbers to reach a program manager at any time.
Additional Expenses to Budget For:
- International airfare to/from Italy
- Optional weekend trips throughout the program
- Public transportation costs
- Cell phone bills
- Personal spending money for things like toiletries or snacks bought outside the home
In researching a study abroad program, you have already shown you are a leader and open-minded in your academic pursuits. These are just a few of the traits that our exchange students possess. You’re motivated to immerse yourself in another culture and flexible enough to live outside your comfort zone. You should also:
- Be between 14 and 18 years of age (at the time of travel)
- Be from the United States or Canada
- Possess a high school cumulative GPA of at least 2.75/4.0
- Be in great mental* and physical health
- Have a genuine interest in becoming a part of your host family and community
- Be willing to study and learn Italian
- Fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before departure
*What does it mean to be in good mental health?
Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful, even to a well-adjusted student. Sending a student with pre-existing conditions on a long-term exchange program could exacerbate whatever challenges the student was previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of all high school abroad applicants.
Therefore, we may not be able to accept students who have struggled with any kind of mental illness, specifically within the last 2 years and/or are reliant on medication to address their existing mental health condition. Each student will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and ultimately it is the in-country partner who holds the right to accept or decline a student based on their individual policy.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Eating disorders
- Chronic debilitating migraines
- Bipolar Disorder
All students who currently experience one or more of these conditions will be required to submit an addendum to the terms and conditions as well as a letter of support from their current mental health specialist. If the student’s mental health issue has been managed (post-medication) for over 2 years, we will still require a note from his/her relevant practitioner (psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, etc) as part of the application process. We encourage you to discuss your specific situation with us directly, before securing these documents.
Please note that students who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD will not be guaranteed any academic accommodations plans by the host school abroad.