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 gelato, 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. Popular Italian sports include soccer, basketball, cycling and skiing.

Why go to Italy?

While not an overly popular Leaving Certificate subject, the beauty of the Italian language is not lost by either secondary school students or adult learners.

AFS/EIL Study Abroad, together with a select few carefully chosen partners in Italy, have put together a selection of programmes specifically geared to both Irish teenagers and adults interested in learning the Italian language and becoming immersed in its rich culture and cuisine. Suitable for complete beginners to advanced learners or those preparing for their Leaving Certificate, each programme is based in a beautiful part of the country and caters to the age group.

Host Families & Communities


Host Family & Community

AFS/EIL 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.

Schools & Classes


School & Classes

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

Language Fluency

Utku Gulek Italy 2015-16 DSC07914

How Fluent do I need to be?

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.

The Food!


What is the Food like?

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/EIL guide your intercultural adventure

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

Secondary School Abroad

All Secondary School Aborad

Programmes offered in Italy

AFS/EIL Study Abroad offers students between 15 and 18 years old the opportunity to attend an Italian secondary school while living as a member of a carefully selected Italian host family.  While in Italy, students will be supported by an AFS/EIL trained local coordinator who will help with the adjustment process.  With full immersion into all aspects of Italian life, students will learn so much more than just the language.  Most popular with Irish Transition Year students, this programme is available for a semester to a full academic year.

Short-term programme dates are flexible and we try to work it around our students’ busy schedules.  In addition to sharpening language skills and gaining fluency, this programme helps our young students to gain a sense of independence and most students come back having grown and matured from the experience.  To ensure full immersion and the quality of the programme, friends and family members will not be placed in the same host community.  If you want to experience the typical life of an Italian teenager and make friends and lasting memories, then this programme is right for you.

Explore the Programs Available in Italy