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If you can think of a study abroad paradise, Italy may be it. This European superstar is a living museum offering more cultural artefacts and national treasures than just about anywhere on the planet.

Experience the ancient grandeur of the Roman Colosseum and feast on succulent Italian cuisine, imitated the world over. Choose Italy to study abroad and take a huge bite out of history, brushed with olive oil and cloaked in a friendly atmosphere where Italians aspire to live “La Dolce Vita” (The Sweet Life.)

Despite the abundance of history – Roman ruins, Renaissance art, and medieval towns – Italy is also modern, taking part in the European Union, keeping up with modern technology, and, of course, always leading in style and fashion. Italians are often described as warm and friendly people. Strong traditional ties bind families together, although Italian family dynamics vary from zone to zone.

Whether you spend more time in the modern cities of Rome, Milan or Naples, or are placed in a more rural setting – perhaps Tuscany, Umbria or Campania – if you’re looking for somewhere to really enjoy all that life has to offer, Italy is thoroughly recommended.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be 16, 17 or 18
  • Enrolled in a NZ school
  • Getting ‘achieved’ or more in your school work
  • Language requirements: Italian (beginner – intermediate)

What's included in your experience

  • Airfare
  • Airport Pick-up
  • Host Family Placement
  • Housing
  • Meals
  • School Placement
  • 24/7 Emergency Support
  • Domestic Transport
  • Assistance with Application Process
  • Visa Application Assistance
  • Pre-Departure Orientation
  • Orientations during your time abroad
  • Access to Alumni Network
  • Continuous Support
  • Worldwide Presence
  • 70 Years Experience

What you are responsible for

  • Vaccinations
  • Visa and Passport Fees
  • School Uniform

High school

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).
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Accommodation and lifestyle

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!

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Kick-start your future with AFS and discover who you really are, make new lifetime friendships and immerse yourself in a fascinating intercultural experience.

This programme begins at your home country with a pre-departure orientation and continues with orientations, other supported learning activities and facilitated conversations which will help you maximize your experience, cope with the challenges of navigating a new culture and community as well as gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding throughout your time abroad, and as you return to your home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family the whole way through.

Enquire about this programme