Italian exquisite art, music, food, and architecture make up the perfect background for the company of friends and family on an evening passeggiata (a slow walk). On top of a very rich history, stands a modern European country, always leading in style and fashion. The world’s best hgelato, rich home-cooked meals, remnants of the Roman Empire, snow-capped Alps or picturesque coastal towns on the Adriatic Sea help Italians truly live la dolce vita (the sweet life).

Teenagers are used to being independent and organizing their own time, chatting in cafés, walking around town, going out dancing or playing sports. Calcio, Italian soccer league, is the cause of celebration for many Italians, whose teams have won several World Cups. Other sports your Italian friends might enjoy are basketball, cycling and skiing, which are most popular; however, most sports can be found here.

Nothing you wear is more important than your smile. ?

A photo posted by Nurfarwizah Thiang (@zahthiang) on May 24, 2016 at 6:08am PDT

Host Family & Community

AFS students live throughout Italy, including the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, usually in a small town. It’s common, especially in the south, for many generations to live together under one roof. Mealtimes are social events, lasting for hours on weekends or holidays. Conversations can be very passionate, and loud discussions with lots of gesturing and emphatic facial expressions are the Italian way to go.


Students in Italy attend classes Monday through Saturday, from about 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. If you actively participate in school, it will be easier to make friends with your classmates.

Today we had P.E. AT THE BEACH… This is the only school that I will love P.E…

A photo posted by ZACHARY BENETATOS?? (@zacharybenetatos) on Sep 22, 2016 at 10:04am PDT

A photo posted by AFS54 ACT5033 (@babaiitoey) on Jun 5, 2016 at 3:08pm PDT


Italian is the official language, although there are different dialects from city to city. There are significant French- and German-speaking pockets of people, as well as the complex Friuliano dialect close to the Slovenian border. To help you feel comfortable with Italian before you begin your program, take the Rosetta Stone course. Once you arrive in Italy, a tutor from your host school will follow your progress, help you fit in the school and learn Italian. Local volunteers will provide additional Italian lessons for the first two or three months of your stay.


Food is a source of pleasure and enjoyment for Italians, who like to enjoy lunch in the company of family and friends. Be prepared for generous portions, strong coffee and tasty treats. Fantastic bread and cheeses, and incomparable pizza and pasta are staples of this cuisine, accompanied by seafood, meat and fresh vegetables. For dessert, there’s a broad selection of traditional pastries, including tiramisu, a rich cake whose name means “pull me up” because of how satisfied and full it makes you feel.

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Go abroad with AFS to discover who you really are, make new lifetime friendships and immerse yourself in a fascinating intercultural experience.

Our learning program will prepare you for an amazing AFS intercultural experience. The program begins at your home country with a pre-departure orientation and continues with orientations and other supported learning activities and facilitated conversations will help you maximize your experience, cope the challenges of navigating a new culture and community and gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding, throughout your time abroad, and as you return to you home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family through your learning journey abroad.


The Global Competence Certificate (GCC) program will support your intercultural learning experience. This state-of-the-art program prepares you to successfully navigate new cultural environments—during your AFSNext experience and long after you finish the program. Online intercultural learning modules combined with in-person sessions help you develop practical and global skills, knowledge and attitudes that employers need and mission-driven organizations believe will help achieve their social impact goals. You will receive your certification upon completion of the training program