Rewrite your high school experience while walking among ancient ruins and sampling the world’s best gelato. By going to a local high school in Italy, 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.

Things to Know About Italy

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 High School in Italy

You are encouraged to begin learning the Italian language on your own, prior to your participation. Additionally, once you arrive in Italy Italian language 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 enrolled in high school 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*:

  • Liceo, the more academic type, which is further divided into schools that focus on different disciplines, like humanities, sciences, arts, and social sciences.
  • Istituto Tecnico, which is more oriented toward technological subjects, like aeronautics, business administration, computer science and chemistry.
  • Istituto Professionale, or vocational schools, where immediately finding a job after graduating is more the expectation than college (although anyone can take the entry tests for college).

We do everything we can to enroll you in your top choice of school type, but we can’t guarantee specific courses or specializations.

Your Accommodation while Studying Abroad in Italy

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!

Program duration

September 2024 – July 2025