• Italy
12 - 52 weeks
Need-based funding, Merit-based funding, General grants/scholarships, LGBTQIA+ funding, BIPOC funding
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Academic Year Spring
Host Family
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
What's Included
Accommodation Some Activities Some Meals
What's Not Included
Some Activities Domestic Airfare Some Meals Visa
Sep 13, 2023
Mar 02, 2023
38 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

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.
This is your chance to learn the ins and outs of Italian daily life. As a country known to excel in art, architecture, food, and culture, Italy is an ideal place to step outside of your comfort zone, become a cultural insider, and engage in an exciting new adventure.

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

BIPOC Support

AFS-USA is committed to providing international and intercultural learning experiences to individuals from diverse backgrounds and communities, including mixed heritage, foreign nationalities, and all socio-economic levels.

LGBTQIA+ Support

AFS-USA welcomes members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and actively encourages and supports their participation in all types of AFS opportunities, including studying abroad, volunteering, and hosting exchange students.

Accessibility Support

AFS-USA is committed to practicing and promoting accessibility and inclusion.

Program Highlights

  • Immerse yourself in Italian language - the best way to become fluent.
  • Live with a host family to deepen your immersion and connection to Italian culture. If you’re like most AFSers, you won’t want to leave this second family and home.
  • Experience some of the world’s greatest works of art and architecture.
  • Make connections and memories you'll never forget with other AFS exchange students from all over the world.
  • Become a global citizen. Gain intercultural communication skills. Build your college and career resume. Help create a more peaceful, understanding world.

Program Reviews

4.92 Rating
based on 13 reviews
  • 5 rating 92.31%
  • 4 rating 7.69%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 5
  • Support 4.15
  • Fun 4.8
  • Housing 4.7
  • Safety 4.95
Showing 1 - 8 of 13 reviews
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Yes, I recommend this program

La Vita Italiana

I'd always known that I would study abroad in college, but when I was introduced to programs that would allow me to be an exchange student in high school, I knew it was something I wanted to do. Unlike college where you've already had a few years of independence as an adult, going abroad in high school can seem quite daunting, but is so worth it! My time in Sardinia, Italy taught me not only another language and culture but helped me become more mature and independent as I learned to advocate for myself amidst changing host families and taking 3rd year Latin (in Italian) at a scientific high school when I'm more linguistically/artistically inclined... I still keep in touch with the friends I made during my year abroad and have visited a few of them in their home countries in addition to reuniting with my host siblings as adults in various European countries.

  • Became proficient in Italian
  • Gained confidence and independence
  • Made life long Italian and other international friends
  • No choice regarding high school's concentration
  • Lack of support while transitioning between host families
  • Remote location
61 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Transformative Year in Italy

I went to Italy as my junior year of high school, although I did not need an academic credit to transfer. I really wish I had had more time to study some Italian before I went, I only have about a month of prior notice before going. The best thing was there were a lot of opportunities to travel all over Italy with other students in the program. Studying abroad also made me realize that I wanted to go to college to study Anthropology (the study of human culture) after my intercultural experience.

What would you improve about this program?
Wish I had been confirmed to go much earlier. Also, the only school I could go to in my town was a scientific school, when I wanted to go to an art or language school
109 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Six Months of My Life

AFS gave me the opportunity of a life time to live and study abroad for six months in the center of Milan, Italy. I made friendships to last a life time with people from all over the world. I also have a second family just a plane ride away. I am so grateful and indebted to AFS. They started me on my dream to travel the world and for that I am forever thankful.

119 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Swearing in Italian

The first day of high school was extremely stressful. I had a host sister and I was meant to be placed in her class. After about an hour of school I was told to go to the principal's office and speak to him with an English language teacher there to interpret. I had no idea what was happening but soon discovered I was being moved into the 4th year of high school. My host sister was in her 5th year and I was only a junior in the U.S. I was very upset but the English teacher said she knew which class I would fit in best. They had multiple students who were proficient in English and could help me learn Italian. I met my class and they were very excited to have an exchange student join them. I was the first exchange student this school had ever hosted. The same evening, I joined a few of the girls from my new class in a public square to chat and get to know them. We spoke mostly in English but soon they were teaching me my first Italian words. Puttana, which is bitch or whore in English, was their first choice and they told me to shout it as loud as I could. I am not a shy person, so I proceeded to shout, "PUTTANAAA!!!!" at the top of my lungs in a public location. Everyone around turned and looked at me like I was crazy. And the girls who were teaching me were laughing hysterically...doubled over, holding their sides laughing. We all became great friends and I realized that I was placed in the best class in that high school.

What would you improve about this program?
I had very little contact with a representative from Intercultura (AFS Italy) at the beginning of my stay. The closest rep was an hour away and I didn't hear from them for about a month when I arrived if I remember correctly. I was the only exchange student in my town and the first one ever to attend the high school. For the first month or so I constantly felt like no one new what I should be doing. Since returning, some of the girls that I became friends with became reps in the town I lived in. So I think it is slowly improving.
118 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

9 Cities in 13 days

While I told the Intercultura staff that I would be staying in Venice with my friend Electra for a week or so, I secretly took the train in the opposite direction to begin my backpacking trip where I stayed in hostels or on trains for the night and walked around ancient cities sightseeing for the next two weeks during the last month of my exchange and finished it off with the world Expo in Milan with my fellow exchange students.

What would you improve about this program?
More scholarship options or lower tuition fees/extended payment plans. The price is the ONLY thing stopping high schoolers from this life changing experience
116 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Il mio anno in Italia

My year abroad in Italy was amazing. I went abroad knowing almost no Italian and, as a 16 year old, terrified out of my mind. But I made it, thanks to AFS and the Intercultura Italian chapter. My AFS correspondent near my house treated me like a daughter, always available if I needed help. I got lucky, my family was so welcoming and helpful, and I am still friends with them to this day. I'm going back to visit this summer!

What would you improve about this program?
If I had to change one thing, I'd change the cost of release. It costs a good deal of money (about $500) to get a release at the end of the year program. My parents and I wanted to travel around Italy after the program, but didn't have the money to pay for that.
115 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Most memorable time of my life

I never would have imagined when I boarded my plane to Italy that I would come back to the US a year later a totally new person. From day one, my host family took me in as one of their own. They were amazing. I really do feel like I have a second family that would be there for me at the drop of a dime. My experience was extremely interesting too because I was the first exchange student at my high school, ever. They did everything they could to help my immersion into the Italian culture and language as easy as possible. I had private language study time with teachers, I was able to jump around classes so the material would be easier to understand. By Christmas my Italian was better than I would have ever imagined. (It was 100x better than my French, which I had taken 3 years of between middle and high school). Come February, I was able to translate for a group of American students that were in my valley for a week exchange program. I would never trade this for anything. I grew so much as a person too, while I was there. I grew into someone I do not think I would have become without this experience.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would change was being a little closer to my local chapter. I was about an hour and a half from the local city and that made for long commutes during meetings, meeting for orientations, and other events. It also made it a little harder to socialize with the other students on exchange in my area. But I loved where I lived!
111 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Changing lives and sharing love

I can't imagine having not met all the people I did in Italy that are now integral members of my life. Living with a new family in a new place is the most refreshing sensation. Human kindness and restored faith in humanity are two of the biggest take-always from this semester abroad. I'm going to share a somewhat sad story but I think it is beautifu and rather emblematic of the kindness and love that can be found in a non-biological family.
At an AFS local chapeter event in the pugliese countryside, I was distraught with some personal issues going on. My host mother pulled me into a separate room and we had such a thoughtful and profound conversation, crying and so connected. After the party, my liaison took me to her home, where I took a shower and then we were sitting and she was brushing my hair, telling me how much she loves me I reciprocated the sentiment. There was so much love and connection. I felt like their daughter, and I still do, 4 years later, maybe even more so now. I can call them for anything, they are always there. Upon my departure, my host sister said to me "we will always come back to each other in this life". Her words have remained true. We are very much sisters. They are very much my other family. All of them; two mothers , a father , a grandmother, two sisters, and countless close friends who mean the world to me to this day.

What would you improve about this program?
I think the restrictions on travel when in the host country, although warranted to ensure safety, are a little too strict and inhibiting of student's possibilities to go and visit other AFS friends or to go visit Italian friends and/or family members. For me the travel restrictions only rendered the little trip I took within Italy more complicated with a lot of paperwork and a lot of correspondence. I just think it's a little bit excessive but understand it has a place.
118 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers