years-experience access-alumni-network airfare airport-pick-up assistance-with-application-process community-service-placement continuous-support cultural-trips domestic-transport emergency-support field-trips global-competence-certificate grade-transcripts host-family-placement housing individual-contact-person internship-placement language-instruction meals medical-insurance orientations-during-your-time-abroad other pre-departure-orientation product-materials re-entry-orientation school-dipolma school-materials school-placement school-transport school-uniform stipend teaching-materials vaccinations visa-and-passport-fees visa-application-assistance world-wide-presence

For many the first thing that comes to mind when Italy is mentioned is food, but it’s not just all about pizza and pasta. In few places do history, art, fashion, food and la dolce vita (“the good life”) come together so well. There are sunny isles and electric blue surf, glacial lakes and fiery volcanoes, rolling vineyards and urban landscapes. Look around at all the splendid palaces, paintings, churches and monuments and wonder about the centuries of devotion to traditional techniques.

An extended stay in an Italian Secondary School Programme is an ideal opportunity for Irish teenagers to become fluent in italian at a young age. Students are fully immersed in the Italian way of life and culture through daily attendance at an Italian Secondary school and by living with an Italian Host Family. This programme is particularly popular with Transition Year students. A stay can be as short as four weeks or as long as an academic year. The experience is further enhanced by the support of local representatives familiar with cultural differences and cultural adjustment.

Participating in our Secondary School Abroad Programme:

  • Paves the way to excellent exam results
  • Provides full immersion that allows students to become fluent at a young age
  • Encourages independence in young people
  • Broadens cultural horizons

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be considered for participating in the Secondary School Abroad, students must:

  • Be from 15 – 18 years old
  • Have studied Italian language for at least 3 years
  • Be mature and responsible

What's included in your experience

  • Airport Pick-up
  • Host Family Placement
  • Meals
  • School Placement
  • Individual Contact Person
  • Medical Insurance
  • 24/7 Emergency Support
  • Assistance with Application Process
  • Pre-Departure Orientation
  • Orientations during your time abroad
  • Continuous Support

What you are responsible for

  • Airfare
  • Vaccinations
  • Field Trips
  • Domestic Transport
  • School Materials


Summary Information

  • Accommodation: Host Family
  • Duration: 4 weeks to a full academic year
  • Application condition: Students must have studied Italian for a minimum of 3 years in order to be considered
  • Students must be from 15 to 18 year old
  • Application deadline – contact our Study Abroad team for more details

About the Secondary School in Italy

The programme offers participants the opportunity to become fully immersed in the Italian way of life and culture through living with a carefully selected Host Family and daily attendance at an Italian Secondary School.

It is open to students between 15 and 18 years old who are interested in attending an Italian secondary school.

There are limited places on this programme to ensure that students have the greatest exposure to the language.

The program includes:

  • Placement  in a carefully  selected school, including application, registration, school insurance fees and tuition
  • Full  board accommodation  with a carefully selected Host Family
  • Return transfers to and from nearest airport of host community
  • Monthly contact and constant support from the Local Volunteer and AFS Staff
  • Local orientations
  • Group orientations
  • 24-hour emergency telephone service
  • Academic advice and counselling
  • Help with preparation for travel back to home country
  • Health Insurance

The programme does not include:

  • Flights – The organisation of flights is the participant’s responsibility
  • School books and material fees
  • Local transportation fees
  • Spending money

The Host Family Accommodation

Students are housed on a full-board basis by local, carefully selected Host Families. Living with a host family gives students full insight into how Italian families really live and provide complete immersion in the language and culture. Host families are carefully screened and selected by AFS partner staff all over Italy. Host families are visited and regularly contacted throughout the student’s stay. As a member of the family, your child will share in the family’s daily life and take part in their normal day-to-day activities.

Host families will provide:

  • A genuinely caring environment
  • Clean and comfortable surroundings
  • Convenient access to schools
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily
  • Shared or single bedroom

Italian families’ motivation for hosting comes from a genuine interest in learning about other cultures and the belief that hosting a student from Ireland is the next best thing to visiting Ireland itself. Unlike an exchange programme, there is no guarantee that there will be other children in the family. Placements are always in safe residential areas and are mostly made in rural areas and medium-sized towns, very rarely in the centre of big towns. Students can be placed in any region in Italy, so they must have an open mind to this when applying, as there is no guarantee of geographical preference in the placement process.

Host families come in all shapes and sizes; single parents with children living in the house, nuclear families, older couples whose children are no longer at home, as well as young couples who may not have children are all considered potential host families. Our main criteria is a warm, caring, and comfortable home environment for students to be nurtured and thrive in.

N.B. Students and parents cannot reject a host family placement in favour of a new one. Once host family details are sent to the student, they are final; students and parents must agree to accept them without prejudice and to go into the programme with an open mind. Cancellations will incur loss of deposit.

The School in Italy

High school in Italy lasts for 5 years, from age 14 to 19. You (or your child) are most likely going to be placed in the 3rd year, so that you will have classmates of the same age. A typical class is formed by 20-25 students who usually attend the same lessons and follow the same schedule throughout the entire school year. Classes take place for five hours each morning from Monday to Friday and sometimes Saturday mornings. A school day runs from 8:00 am to 1.30 pm. This may vary from school to school due to afternoon classes.

Afternoons are generally free. School placements are made by the school principal in accordance with the interests and academic performance of the participants. Please note that subject choices vary between schools: foreign languages, sciences, business/economics or the classics. Classes last approximately 55 minutes, but can vary from school to school.

Important Conditions

Important terms and conditions about going to school in Italy

  • Please note that friends will not be placed together. This is a programme designed for an individual placement Emphasis is on full language and cultural immersion. If friends apply together, they will be intentionally separated and placed in different communities and schools.
  • Students may not return home for the duration of their programme.This includes Christmas and Easter holidays, and mid-term breaks. Likewise, all family visits must be limited to the end of the student’s programme, not at the beginning or in the middle. After years of experience, we find that such visits disrupt the adjustment process and can lead to further homesickness and integration problems
  • Please note that Students will have to complete an  Italian Rosetta Stone Language Course prior to their arrival which will be organised after receipt of the application
  • AFS/EIL Ireland and our partners AFS Italy reserve the right to send home any student whose health requires it or whose conduct is considered improper or offensive to the host family, community or school. Such conduct includes drug use, unacceptable sexual behaviour, excessive drinking, violation of the law or failure in schoolwork.  In the event that the student is returned home, either alone or accompanied, parents or guardians are responsible for all expenses above those covered by the fee. In such cases, no refunds will be available. If a student chooses to end the programme early on his or her own accord, for reasons including travelling home for a holiday or during mid-term, no refund will be given.


Students may be asked to fly into the nearest airport to their host community or into Rome, depending on their arrival date. Please note that flights and trains are not included in the programme fee.

Local transportation to and from school is dependant on the host family. Depending on where the placement is, students may be able to walk or cycle, may be driven or carpooled or may be required to take the bus. In the case of a school bus, students will need to pay for their own costs.


For further details, can you please contact Aileen at [email protected]

  • Flights, school books and materials, local transportation, personal items and spending money are not included in the price
  • Late application fee: €250
  • Deposit: 25% of the program fee

How do I apply?

To apply please contact us and we will send you an application from to complete.

The application form needs to include:

  • Personal Photo
  • 25% non-refundable deposit
  • Introduction to your Host Family in English and French
  • At least 4 pictures with family and friends
  • Academic Records
  • Copies of 3 most recent school reports
  • Confirmation of language level
  • Health Certificate
  • Medical/parental release forms
  • Parental Authorisation Form
  • Passport Copy

Failure to include any application materials as well as incomplete applications will delay or inhibit your acceptance into the programme. Please make certain that all signatures are completed by student, parents, teachers, and physicians before sending to AFS/EIL.

Applications in full must be received at least 3 months in advance, or else you will be charged a €250 late fee.

Apply Today


Im sure you have lots of questions and we will do our best here to answer the most common but if you have any specific questions a member of the Study Abroad Team would be only too happy to answer them for you.

Call me back - Study Abroad

You can fill out this form and a member of the Study abroad team will get in touch as soon as they can
  • :
    We will endeavour to call you at the time you specify. Please note that the office hours are Monday to Friday 9 Am to 5:30 PM
    We would like to send you some updates from time to time including programme offers & newsletters.
  • No, this is a one-way exchange. You will not have to host an Italian student. Some Irish students remain friends with the host family and siblings and stay in contact, but there is no obligation to have them come to Ireland unless you make a personal arrangement amongst yourselves

Further Information