Teach English in a Homestay in Italy
La Bella Italia!
Greenheart Travel’s Teach English in a Homestay program in Italy offers you the opportunity to become an English tutor with a local host family, while sharing in their everyday life.
Participants spend 15 hours per week tutoring their host family in conversational English, in exchange for room and board. Usually you will teach the children in the home but occasionally an adult will request lessons as well. No previous teaching experience or certification is required, and Greenheart Travel will provide basic teaching resources prior to departure. This is a volunteer, unpaid teaching placement designed for deep cultural immersion and exchange.
This program is ideal for adults hoping to get their feet wet teaching English abroad, teachers traveling during their summer break, or travelers seeking to experience full cultural immersion.
This program offers:
- Volunteer tutoring position with a local host family
- 15 hours per week teaching experience (the rest of the time is yours!)
- Placements throughout the country
- Accommodation with volunteer Italian host family
- 1, 2 or 3 month placements
- Rolling start dates twice monthly
Picture yourself abroad and read our participants’ blog posts on life as an English tutor in Italy!
From two weeks of being in Italy on my teach in a homestay program, I have concluded that the best way to travel abroad truly is to live with a family or a group of natives. You learn 10x more knowledge from observation, being forced to speak the language and going outside of your typical American tourist bubble. It has been days where I have merely had dinner with Stefania’s friends or went to some type of local event that I have felt so incredibly fulfilled. – Ashley Bornancin
Have questions about teaching in a homestay in Italy? We’re happy to help!
Start dates are available year round. We need 8 weeks lead time to secure a host family. You are welcome to choose any of the start dates below as long as you submit your application a minimum of 8 weeks prior to your intended departure.
- January 5, 19
- February 2, 16
- March 9, 23
- April 6, 20
- May 4, 18
- June 1, 15
- July 6, 20
- August 3, 17
- September 7, 21
- October 5, 19
- November 2, 16
- December 7, 14
We’re flexible, so if you are unable to start on these given dates, please contact Greenheart Travel directly to see what we can do.
Looking for a more structured classroom setting? Check out our comparison with the Volunteer Teach in Italy program!
For the Teach in a Homestay Program, no previous teaching experience or certification is required. We are looking for participants who are open-minded and flexible, as well as meet the following requirements:
- At least 18 years old – retirees welcome!
- Be a native English speaker (other languages depend on specific demand)
- Must be a high school graduate – college students and graduates preferred
- Must have the ability to prepare a private tutoring lesson plan
- Be a citizen of the EU, USA, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa or Canada
- Be in good mental* and physical health
1 month: $1,510
2 months: $1,680
3 months: $1,860
- Host family search, screening, and placement process
- Single room accommodation with carefully screened host family
- Three meals a day for duration of program*
- Local office support
- Comprehensive medical insurance
- English as a Second Language Teaching Resources
- Pre-departure orientation
- Culture & Etiquette Guidebook
- Resume-enhancing experience as a Private Language Tutor
- Learn a new language through immersion in a different culture and county
*Meals outside of the host family home are not included.
Where does my money go?
• Comprehensive medical insurance
• Service and support provided by the Greenheart Travel office
• Service and support provided by our international partner office
• Local Coordinator for 24/7 in country support
• Host family placement/screening (background checks, reference checks, home visits, interviews, etc.)
• Marketing costs
• Credit card processing fees and other administration costs
*Host families are volunteer families and are NOT paid for hosting. They host solely in exchange for English lessons and the cultural exchange experience.
Wondering why you have to pay for a volunteer teaching program?
Greenheart Travel is a non-profit organization, and the program fee for this volunteer teaching project covers the cost of placing you in the program. These fees also aid in providing accommodation, meals, insurance and pre-departure & in-country support to homestay teachers.
Homestay participants live with a local host family during the program. Host families apply in a similar way to participants and Greenheart Travel will match you based on living preferences and personal interests. Host families are carefully screened through background checks, reference checks, interviews and home visits. Host families are not compensated for hosting and host only in exchange for the English lessons.
Participants will have their own private room but may share a bathroom and living areas with the host family. Host families also provide three meals per day except on when going out to restaurants. As an English teacher in a homestay, you will be warmly welcomed into a host family’s home, while having the opportunity to explore the region on your own.
What are past participants saying about their accommodations?
True, I will no longer be living in Catania with my wonderful family, but I do not see my leaving as the end of our bond. They have become a part of me, who I am as a person. Living with them and adapting to their lifestyle has taught me much about myself and re-shaped my small perspective of the world. This experience has opened my mind in ways I did not expect.
I did not simply take a vacation traveling through the vineyards of Italy, sipping wine, eating cheese, and riding on the back of Vespas with cute Italian men. Alright, well I did do those things, but these past three months became so much more than that. I learned how to be a teacher, felt that rush of pure joy and sense of accomplishment when Ida would understand what she was reading, and the happiness I felt for her accomplishment in that moment.
I gained new meaning to “independent study,” or studying without any assignment or teacher or school tuition providing incentive, but studying purely for my own desire to learn; I figured out how to adapt to a striking change in environment and comfort zone; and I discovered a confidence in simply being who I am, embracing my characteristics, both good and bad, and finding value in them. – Alyssa Giesler
Homestay participants live with a local host family during the program. You will receive your host family’s contact information prior to departure. Aside from the 15 hour per week teaching commitment, the rest of the time is yours to explore the language, culture and history of Italy.
It’s important to be flexible in your placement location, as there are families throughout the country. Although we cannot guarantee placement in a specific city or area, you will be given a choice between the following regions: Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Lazio, or Sicily.
Check out our map of Italy to see where other Teach in a Homestay participants have been placed!
Host Families and Placement Locations
Can I choose where I will be placed?
No. You can choose your destination country, but you must be flexible about where you are placed within that country. We can never guarantee placements in any specific city or region, and we match based on compatibility with the host family.
Will I be placed in a city?
A large majority of our placements are outside of major urban areas, and you should be prepared to live in smaller towns and villages.
Where are participants usually placed?
Placements are nationwide, typically in small towns outside of usual tourist areas. This provides participants with an authentic opportunity in which you can really experience full cultural immersion.
Once I receive my placement, can I request to change it?
No, we do not change host families based on preferences or location. If you request to change your host family after you have been placed, you will forfeit your $500 placement deposit.
What if I don’t like my host family? Can I request a new one?
No. We do not change host families based on preferences or location. If issues arise once you are in the country, we handle them on a case by case basis.
Can I be placed with my friend/spouse/significant other?
We are not able to place more than one person with a host family. It is okay to apply with friends and family; however, you will be placed in separate homes, and we cannot guarantee they will be in the same city.
How is the host family selected?
Host families apply similar to our participants, on a rolling basis throughout the year. Prospective host families undergo a rigorous screening process, and participants can rest assured that only suitable host families will be selected. In order to qualify as a host family, the prospective hosts must:
- pass an interview and home inspection by a local coordinator
- undergo a criminal background check
- genuinely want to learn English as well as share their own language and culture with others
What should I bring as a gift for my host family?
It’s a great idea to bring a small gift with you for your host family. It would be nice to bring something that represents where you are from. Common gifts are chocolates, wine, coffee mugs, t- shirts, etc.
How the Teach English in a Homestay Works
Do I have to prepare a curriculum or lesson plan?
English lessons are very informal and there is no provided curriculum, however participants should be prepared to put together a lesson plan for each tutoring session. Greenheart Travel will provide a list of resources to help you come up with fun ideas for teaching your host family. Typically families will just request that you speak English with them over dinner or for a certain amount of time during the day.
What will I do when I’m not teaching the family?
When you are not teaching your host family English, you will have time to explore your new home and surrounding towns and cities.
Will I be able to travel during my free time?
While we encourage exploring your town and nearby areas, you should not put long breaks in your teaching in order to travel to other parts of the countries. You should only plan 1-2 weekend trips and should leave any major excursions for before or after your program.
What level of English do the host families have?
The level of English will vary depending on the host family but most will be at the beginner level and will only have basic knowledge of English.
Do I need to speak the language of my host country?
While it is not a requirement that participants speak the language of their host country, it is recommended that participants try to learn some basic words and phrases before arriving. It always makes your life easier if you speak a bit of the local language.
Will I have to speak English all the time?
You only are required to speak English during the 15 hours of English lessons each week. The rest of the time, please feel free to practice speaking the language of your host country.
What have others said about this program?
Read reviews from our past participants at Gooverseas.com!
You should apply at least 8 weeks before your preferred departure date so that we have plenty of time to find the best host family match for you. A visa is not required for a tourist stay of up to 90 days (3 months) for most participants. However, please check with the embassy of your host country to verify, as visa requirements may change.
Complete the Online Application
There are 5 short steps in the application process, which are outlined below. The whole process takes about 30 minutes and can be done in stages.
- Select the APPLY NOW button to the left. You will fill out the first portion of the application, which asks fo general information about you.
- Once you complete part 1, you will be emailed a link to fill out Greenheart Travel’s Terms and conditions. Follow the link and you will read through and sign our policies.
- In part three, you will pay a $250 deposit to hold your position in the programs. It is very rare that our volunteer applications are declined, but if you are rejected from the program, you will be refunded the $250. Otherwise, it is applied to your overall program fee.
- Now, you will complete a second application that includes more detailed information about yourself (such as education background, interests and experience) and why you would like to teach abroad. This is also where you will complete your background check if you are a US citizen. If you are not a US citizen and over the age of 18, you are required to submit your own background check, which is usually available at local police offices.
- In order to finalize your application, you will need to complete a 15 minute interview via Skype with the program manager.
Additionally, you will need to upload 1 letter of recommendation, write a “Dear Family” letter introducing yourself to your homestay family, and a $500 deposit before we can begin working on your host family placement.
Review your Application
Greenheart Travel will thoroughly review your application and will contact you within 2-3 business days to confirm your acceptance. If we find something in your application that we have concerns about, we will let you know immediately. 95% of applicants are accepted on the program they apply for.
You’re Accepted – now what?
Your program manager will be in touch with you directly about your acceptance. You should expect to receive an orientation packet via email, which talks more about your program, as well as supplemental information about dealing with culture shock and our insurance program. We will also schedule a pre-departure orientation to answer any lingering questions you may have.
Finding the best host family for you is very important to us. Before we begin the host family screening and placement process, an additional $500 payment toward your program fee is due. This payment is required a minimum of 8 weeks prior to your departure.
Sound like your kind of adventure? Learn more!
Get in on the conversation about teaching English in a Homestay and join our Greenheart Travel Teach in a Homestay Facebook group!
Torn between the Teach in a School or Homestay option in Italy? Here is a comparison of the two Italy programs to help.