Teach English in a Homestay in Italy
Teach English to your Italian host family in exchange for immersing yourself in Italian life and culture!
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.
Picture yourself in Italy and read our participants’ blog posts on life as an English tutor!
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 in Italy program!
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.
Deadline to submit application
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 early to ensure sufficient time to find a host family.
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.
- 1 month: $1,590
- 2 months: $1,760
- 3 months: $1,920
Please note, all prices are listed in USD
- 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
- Culture & etiquette guidebook
- Online pre-departure orientation with Greenheart Travel
- Resume-enhancing experience as a private language tutor
- Full immersion Italian language practice
- Background check for the application
- The Greenheart Travel Atlas, an interactive guide to your cross-cultural experience
- Donation to support the Greenheart Odyssey, an award-winning youth leadership development program
- 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:
- 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 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 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 accommodations?
“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
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:
- Emilia Romagna
Check out our map of Italy to see where other Teach in a Homestay participants have been placed!
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 very unlikely 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!
1. Start Your Application Here (Approximately 5 Minutes): Greenheart Travel Application.
2. Sign the Terms & Conditions (Approximately 10 Minutes): After you complete Part 1 of your application, you will be asked to read through and sign our Terms and Conditions which outline the requirements and policies of the program.
3. Submit your deposit (Approximately 5 minutes): You will need to submit your $250 deposit at this point in the process. A deposit is required in order to reserve your spot on the program and is subtracted from your total program fee. It’s rare that our homestay applications are denied, but if you are not accepted on the program you will be refunded the deposit.
4. Secondary Application Form (Approximately 30 Minutes): This is the most in-depth part of the application process as it helps us get to know you better. You will need to provide detailed information about yourself, why you want to go abroad, and what you hope to gain from your experience.
5. Submit your Required Documents (Approximately 5 minutes): these documents are outlined below.
6. Skype Interview (Approximately 15 Minutes): The final step of the application process will require you to have a Skype interview with your program manager to discuss the program and your goals for being a tutor on this program
7. Acceptance: Once you’ve completed all the steps, Greenheart Travel will thoroughly review your application and will contact you within 2-3 business days about your acceptance the next steps.
- A letter of recommendation (personal or professional)
- A “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 $500 payment toward your program fee is due. This payment is required a minimum of 8 weeks prior to your departure.
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 the program coordinator, Allison? Set up a time to have a phone call below.
Don’t forget to review our frequently asked questions!