Teach English in a Homestay in Italy

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  • Overview

    Questions or concerns about the coronavirus? Please read our blog about it here!

    With Greenheart Travel’s Teach English in a Homestay program, you will have the chance to live and tutor in Italy, home to the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites! Participants spend 15 hours per week tutoring their host family in conversational English, while living the everyday Italian lifestyle and being immersed in the history, art, literature, and food of this dynamic nation.

    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

    This is a volunteer, unpaid teaching placement designed for deep cultural immersion and exchange. The homestay 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. Looking for a more structured classroom setting? Check out our comparison with the Teach English in Italian Public School program!

  • Start Dates

    Start Dates

    Start dates are available year-round, usually the first and third Wednesday of every month (subject to change). However, we’re flexible, so if you are unable to start on those dates, please contact Greenheart Travel directly to see what we can do.


    In order to secure a host family, you should finish your application 3 months prior to when you want to go. For example, if you wish to arrive by Feb. 6, you should finish your application no later than Nov. 6.

    Please Note: August can be a challenging month to start because many Italian families go on vacation. If you plan to start in August, please apply very early to ensure sufficient time to find a host family.

  • Eligibility

    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
    • Be a citizen of the EU, USA, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa or Canada
    • Must be a high school graduate – college students and graduates preferred
    • Must have the ability to prepare a private tutoring lesson plan
    • Be in good mental* and physical health

    I don’t have teaching experience. How will I know what to teach my host family?

    The English lessons tend to be informal and conversation based. There is no pre-determined curriculum; however participants should be prepared to put together a lesson plan for each tutoring session. Greenheart Travel will provide you access to a library of resources to help you develop ideas for the lessons.

    Typically families are looking for you to speak English with them over dinner or for a certain amount of time during the day.

    Usually you will teach the children in the home but occasionally an adult will request lessons as well. 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.

  • Costs and Inclusions

    Program Fees

    • 1 month: $1,590
    • 2 months: $1,760
    • 3 months: $1,920

    Please note, all prices are listed in USD

    What’s Included:

    • Host family search, screening, and placement process
    • Single room accommodation with carefully screened host family
    • Three home-cooked meals a day for duration of program
    • Local office support
    • Comprehensive medical insurance
    • English as a second language teaching resources
    • Online pre-departure orientation with Greenheart Travel
    • Resume-enhancing experience as a private language tutor
    • Full immersion Italian language practice
    • The Greenheart Travel Atlas, an interactive guide to your cross-cultural experience
    • Access to the Greenheart Club, an online community for Greenheart alumni to find resources, log volunteer hours, and apply for alumni grants and scholarships

    What’s Not Included:

    • Criminal background required on our application (~10 USD)
    • Flight to Italy
    • Meals eaten outside of the host family home
    • Spending money for personal purchases, tourism or optional activities

    Wondering why you have to pay for a volunteer teaching program?

    Greenheart Travel is a 501(c)3 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 vetting host families, issuing insurance,  and providing pre-departure and in-country support to homestay tutors.

  • Host Families

    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 not compensated for hosting and host only in exchange for the English lessons.

    Prospective host families undergo a rigorous screening process. Participants can rest assured that only suitable host families will be selected. In order to qualify as a host family, the prospective hosts must:

    • Successfully pass a criminal background check
    • Undergo and pass an in-person interview with program staff
    • Agree to and pass a home inspection

    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 host families?

    My experience in Sicily was transformative and it is, without a doubt, the best experience I have had in my life thus far. I was not prepared to be embraced so fully by my host family and their friends. They took me on every outing, and I celebrated their birthdays, and other special occasions with them. Everything about my time spent there exceeded my expectations and I returned to Canada firmly believing that the world is full of wonderful people and that traveling is the best way to learn about ourselves and the world around us. Greenheart Travel not only gave me an experience to travel, to meet new people, to teach English and to learn another language–you also gave me, in a way, another family half a world away that I will cherish always.” – Emily McCarten, Teach in a Homestay Italy Alumna from 2015

  • Placements

    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.

    A large percentage of the host families live in small towns outside of major urban areas, and they are located throughout the country. It is very important to be flexible in your placement location, as great families are located all around. Although we cannot guarantee placement in a specific city or area, you will rank the following regions and we do our best to get you placed in one of your top two choices:

    • Lombardy
    • Emilia Romagna
    • Lazio
    • Sicily

    Check out our map of Italy to see where other Teach in a Homestay participants have been placed!


    Placement FAQs

    Can I choose where I will be placed?

    No. You can choose your destination country, but you must be flexible about where you will be 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?

    No. It is unlikely that you will be placed in a city. A majority of our families live in small to medium sized towns outside of major cities, and it is important you be open-minded to small town life.

    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 concerns arise one you are in country, we handle them on a case-by-case basis and do our best to resolve issues amicably.

    Can I be placed with my friend/spouse/significant other?

    No. 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.

  • Optional TEFL Course

    While no certification is required for the Teach English in a Homestay program, an education in ESL teaching methods is extremely helpful in these tutoring positions.

    Therefore, we are excited to offer a special discount on the Online TEFL Certification Course. This will allow our Homestay teachers to get formal ESL training alongside the hands on experience of tutoring their host families. Alumni of the online course receive lifetime job placement assistance, opening up great opportunities for future teaching positions around the world.

    Adding the 170-hour online course is perfect if you want:

    • To teach abroad in a school in the future
    • To save time – the 20 practicum hours required by the course are fulfilled by your homestay program
    • A flexible course designed to fit around your full time schedule

    Teach English in a Homestay travelers can sign up for the TEFL course in their homestay application at a discounted fee of $1,045. Just check the “Add TEFL Certification” box when you apply!

    Read more about the course here!

  • Application Process

    1. Start Your Application HereYou will be sent more information as well as the link to our application portal to begin your formal application.

    2. Submit Basic Program Information: The first step in our application portal will be basic things like your chosen start date, etc.

    3. Submit your deposit: A $300 deposit is required in order to apply for the program. This is subtracted from your total program fee. If we are unable to accept you following your interview (very unlikely!) we will refund your deposit in full.

    4. Complete Application & Documents: Provide more detailed information about yourself in Part 2 of the application. In this section, you’ll tell us more information like your work history, motivations for joining the program, travel history, and emergency contacts. You will also submit your documents (below) within your portal account.

    5. Skype Interview: Once you have submitted your online application and paid your application deposit, you will be asked to schedule a video interview with a Greenheart Travel representative.

    6. You’re Accepted! Woohoo! We are usually able to accept people within 1-2 weeks of their interviews.

    7. Commitment Deposit: Once you are accepted to the program, you will need to submit a $300 commitment deposit within 14 days to confirm your spot on the program. We cannot start the host family matching process until we have this deposit. Once you submit your commitment deposit you will unlock the acceptance portion of your portal, which includes things like pre-departure videos, travel and arrival information, the Greenheart Travel Atlas, and more.

    7. Book your flights, and get ready for your adventure to Italy! Your remaining balance is due in full 60 days before your start date.

    Required Documents

    • A letter of recommendation (personal or professional)
    • “dear host family” letter introducing yourself
    • A photo album with 5-7 recent photos of you (used for your host family to get to know you)
    • Copy of your passport
    • Completed background check. If you are a U.S. citizen we can provide you a free, online service.

    You’re Accepted – now what?

    Your program manager will be in touch with you directly about your acceptance. If accepted, you will receive your Greenheart Travel program handbook via email, as well as supplemental information about dealing with culture shock and our insurance program.

    Before we begin the host family screening and placement process, an additional $300 commitment deposit (which goes toward your program fee also) is due. 

    A visa may be required for a tourist stay of up to 90 days depending on the destination country. Greenheart Travel will provide you information about applying for a visa, but please check with the embassy of your host country to verify, as visa requirements may change.

  • Schedule a Call

    Have questions or want to talk to us about the program? Set up a time to have a phone call below

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