Learn Italian in Florence, meet international friends and take in the incredible sites of this beautiful city in Italy.
Live with a host family and learn Italian for 15 hours a week while being immersed in the culture of one of Italy’s most beautiful cities! Florence is located in the northern region of Tuscany, and draws visitors from around the world seeking the art and history of this city that sparked the dawn of the Renaissance.
Picture yourself in Florence studying Italian and exploring Renaissance culture!
There are 3 different levels — Elementary, Intermediate, or Advanced. The levels are sub divided up into two sub levels depending on your linguistic skills. You are required to take an online language placement test before arrival to evaluate your skills and place you in the proper level. Adjustments are able to be made in case your level changes drastically before you arrive.
School Location and Classrooms
The school is located on a quiet street just steps away from the famous Florence Cathedral (Il Duomo). It is nearby to shops, a hospital and many cultural activities. The school includes a computer lab with easy access to the internet and wifi.
Each afternoon, students will participant in educational visits and cultural excursions within Florence. Educational visits and excursions form an important part of the program because they allow students to practice their Italian in real life situations outside of the classroom. Once a week there is a full day excursion to nearby Tuscan cities, such as Pisa, Lucca or Sienna
Please note: These activities are run and supervised by school staff. Students will not be allowed to venture off on their own without staff or host family chaperons.
Here’s an example of your daily schedule. Please note this is a sample, and times are subject to change.
8:30-9:00am: Arrive at the language school and socialize with friends
9:00am-12:00pm: Language classes and breaks for socializing
12:00-2:00pm: Lunch catered by the school
2:00pm-5:00pm: Cultural activity or excursion
5:00pm – bedtime: spend time with host family
Students can choose between a 2-4 week length program.
2019 Start Dates
All students fly on their own and arrive at the Florence Airport during a designated window. Then, either their host family or a language school representative will pick them and take them to their host family.
All classes start on Monday, but students should:
Arriving or departing outside these designated windows will incur additional fees.
2019 Program Cost:
Please note, all prices are listed in USD.
What’s Not Included:
*There is a supplemental fee of $35 a week for students with special diets (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, etc.). Please check with your program manager if you have any questions.
All students live with carefully selected local host families near the school, usually 10-20 minutes walking distance to the school or public transportation. 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:
Usually, two students will share a room and there can be up to 8 students with one host family depending on the size of the family’s home. They will only share rooms with students of the same sex and will be closely supervised by their hosts.
The decision to send your teenager abroad can be difficult and there are a lot of questions to consider. We understand your concerns and the Greenheart Travel staff is there for you every step of the way! We want to make the process of traveling and studying abroad as fun and painless as possible for you and your child. Here are some of the common questions we get from parents as they consider the program:
What does it mean to be in good mental health in the program eligibility requirements?
Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful, even to a well-adjusted student. Sending a student with pre-existing conditions on an exchange program could exacerbate whatever challenges the student was previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of all applicants.
Therefore, we may not be able to accept students who have struggled with any kind of mental illness within the last 2 years and/or are reliant on medication to address their existing mental health condition.
These include, but are not limited to:
If the student’s mental health issue has been managed (post-medication) for over 2 years, we will ask for a note from his/her relevant practitioner (psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, etc) as part of the application process.
How much supervision is there?
Students are supervised and chaperoned at all times unless the natural parents give permission.
Should my child fly using an unaccompanied minor service?
Greenheart Travel does not recommend this service because the “additional” services advertised by the airlines are already provided to all travelers and are not worth the money invested by you the traveler. At any time, a student can ask an airlines professional for help finding their gate or for connecting flight information, and paying for this add-on UM service is not necessary. We have sent hundreds of semester abroad students internationally, for whom we book their flights, and we never use unaccompanied minor services. If you would like the peace of mind a UM service provides, Greenheart Travel offers more self-empowering alternatives (such as reviewing airport maps, mapping connections, etc) that we believe teach teenagers relevant life skills about traveling independently. Please refer to our webinar about navigating international airports.
How many other students will there be and where are they from?
A majority of our students are American between 14-17 years old. However, there are students participating from around the world, so your child will have a cross-cultural setting both in the classroom and out. While the number of students does vary by start date, we like to keep small classes with no more than 12-15 students.
Will my child be required to speak Italian outside of the classroom?
Language practice and immersion are the main priority of this program. While we do not require the students to sign a contact stating they will only speak in the local language, it is highly encouraged that they use their language skills when talking to friends, partaking in the daily excursions and at night in the residence hall or host family home. Program staff and chaperones primarily communicate and answer questions in the local language to encourage this immersion culture.
How will this program improve my child’s Italian skills?
In a traditional classroom, students may learn language skills; however, they are not forced to practice these skills in real world situations. Through language immersion, your child will both learn the practical language skills in a classroom while also being forced to use them with local, native speakers during the excursions and/or host family experience. Studies show that 4 weeks of a full language immersion experience can be equivalent to a yearlong college language course because of the intensity of use.
Why should I choose Greenheart Travel?
Greenheart Travel provides 24-hour support to you and your child throughout the application, program and alumni processes. We are a small staffed non-profit that is accredited with CSIET, so you know you’ll always be talking to a real person on the other line. We are proud to always be available for your questions and concerns and we always answer our emails and phone calls quickly. We pride ourselves on developing a personal relationship with our participants and love staying connected with them throughout the experience on social media & email. We offer a personal connection and support that many of our competitors do not.
Will my child earn high school credit?
Greenheart Travel cannot award high school credit. Please talk to your school about earning credit for your child’s time abroad. Refer to this blog post for tips on transferring credit.
What are meals like?
Your host family will provide you with three meals per day. You will usually eat breakfast and dinner at home and take a packed lunch to school. You will have the opportunity to experience typical, home-cooked Italian cuisine!
What if my child has an allergy/specific dietary requirement?
We can cater to vegetarian needs quite easily. Any other specific diets should be discussed with us to see if we can arrange to have your needs met. In some cases, you may need to provide your own food.
What happens if my child gets sick while abroad?
They will be covered by mandatory health insurance. You will receive a policy brochure and insurance card via email 1-2 weeks prior to their departure, as well as supplementary materials in your child’s comprehensive program handbook.
Can they apply with friends?
Absolutely! We are happy to accept friends and groups. If both your child and their friend go together, each of them will receive a discount! However, keep in mind your primary purpose of attending this program is to immerse themselves in the language and culture – so make sure your child and their friend commit to speaking French!
Committing to a language camp program can feel a bit daunting, but we are here every step of the way to make the application process as simple as possible. Below are the steps you’ll need to take to be accepted on a Greenheart Travel program.
Once you start your application, you have two weeks to finish.
1. Ensure Your Eligibility: The eligibility requirements, such as age or language proficiency, may be required for certain destinations.
2. Start Your Application Here (Approximately 5 Minutes): Greenheart Travel Application.
3. Sign the Terms & Conditions (Approximately 10 Minutes): After you complete Part 1 of your application, you (and your parent(s) if you’re under 18) will be asked to read through and sign our Terms and Conditions which outline the requirements and policies of the program.
4. Submit your deposit (Approximately 5 minutes): You will need to submit your $300 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.
5. 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. You will also need to upload your passport.
6. Acceptance: Greenheart Travel will thoroughly review your application and will contact you within 2-3 weeks 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. At this point you will be required to submit a second $300 commitment deposit that also goes towards the total amount (it’s not extra). This is your commitment to your start date and once we receive it is when details will start to be booked on your behalf.
You should then expect to receive your Greenheart Travel program handbook 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 an online pre-departure orientation to answer any lingering questions you may have. You can expect to receive your host family placement 1-2 weeks prior to your start date.
Have questions or want to talk to the program coordinator? Set up a time to have a phone call below.