Language Camp in Italy

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  • Overview

    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!

  • Eligibility

    • Must be between 14-17 years old
    • Be in good mental* and physical health
    • Beginner level of Italian is accepted, but a general knowledge of basic questions and phrases is helpful

    *What does it mean to be in good mental health?

    *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 a long-term 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 high school abroad applicants.

    Therefore, we may not be able to accept students who have struggled with any kind of mental illness, specifically within the last 2 years and/or are reliant on medication to address their existing mental health condition. Each student will be addressed on a case by case basis and ultimately it is Greenheart Travel’s in-country partner who holds the right to accept or decline a student based on their individual policy.

    These include, but are not limited to:

    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
    • Eating disorders
    • Chronic debilitating migraines
    • Bipolar Disorder

    All students who currently experience one or more of these conditions will be required to submit an addendum to the terms and conditions as well as a letter of support from their current mental health specialist. If the student’s mental health issue has been managed (post-medication) for over 2 years, we will still require a note from his/her relevant practitioner (psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, etc) as part of the application process.  We encourage you to discuss your specific situation with us directly before securing these documents.

  • Program Dates

    Summer 2024 Dates*

    Interested in applying for Greenheart’s First-Time Traveler scholarship? Get your scholarship application in by May 31st!

    Program Start Dates:

    • July 1
    • July 15
    • July 29
    • August 12

    Students can choose between a 1-4 week length program. Start dates are the days when your classes start. Please plan to arrive the Sunday before to meet your host family.

    *We will not be accepting applications less than a month before a program start date.

  • Classes & School Info

    There are 3 different levels — Elementary, Intermediate, or Advanced. The levels are subdivided 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.

    Italian Courses

    • 20-afternoon classes a week (4 classes per day for 50 minutes each)
    • Classes are taught by native Italian teachers who specialize in teaching Italian as a foreign language
    • You should take an Italian/English dictionary, notebook, and pencil for class but your school will provide all the books and workbooks.
    • Italian lessons involve speaking, listening, reading, and writing in lively and informal small classes with no more than 12 students in a group
    • Students receive a Certificate of Completion at the end of the course

    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.

  • Your Day to Day

    Each afternoon, students will participate 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. Activities can include various sports, cooking class, going to the beach, etc. 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 chaperones.

    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: Cultural activity or excursion
    12:00-2:00pm: Lunch catered by the school
    2:00pm-5:00pm: Language classes and breaks for socializing
    5:00pm – bedtime: spend time with host family

  • Arrival and Departure

    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:

    • Arrive at the Florence Airport (FLR) the Sunday before Monday classes before 7:00pm
    • Depart from the Florence Airport (FLR) on the Saturday at the end of their program after 11:00am

    Arriving or departing outside these designated windows will incur additional fees.

  • Costs & Inclusions

    2024 Program Cost:

    Interested in applying for Greenheart’s First-Time Traveler scholarship? Get your scholarship application in by May 31st!

    • 1 week: $1,940
    • 2 weeks: $2,920
    • 3 weeks: $3,810
    • 4 weeks: $4,710

    Please note that all prices are listed in USD. 

    What’s Included:

    • 15 hours of Italian language lessons per week
    • Accommodation with a welcoming host family
    • 3 meals per day*
    • Medical and accident insurance
    • 24-hour emergency assistance from local staff and long-distance staff
    • Fully chaperoned daily cultural activities & excursions in and around Florence
    • Airport pickup and drop off to/from Florence Airport (FLR)
    • Online pre-departure orientation with Greenheart Travel
    • 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

    Our Support and Services: 

    • Extensive pre-departure advice and support from  your US-based program coordinator! We will be with you from your first inquiry, all the way through preparing to leave and your arrival in Germany.
    • Support services from in-country staff upon arrival to Italy.
    • Online pre-departure cultural and logistical orientation before you leave
    • 24-hour in-country and emergency support for the duration of the program, including 24-hour emergency phone numbers to reach a program manager at any time.

    What’s Not Included:

    • Flights to & from Italy
    • Spending money for souvenirs or snacks in Italy

    *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. 

    Payment Details

    • $300 Application Fee due by the program deadline to formally apply
    • $300 Commitment payment due after acceptance within 14 days to save your spot on a certain start date
    • Remaining balance is due 8 weeks before departure to Italy

    Worried about the program fee?

    Our goal is to help make travel accessible to everyone and we are here to help when you are deciding if this experience is financially do-able. Each year we offer scholarships for high school study abroad students! We also have a guide to fundraising your program fee, and many high school students fundraise in their hometown ahead of their program.

    We also offer discounts for applying early (plus there are many other benefits to applying early!) for each start date and for US families that have hosted an exchange student with Greenheart Exchange.

    Please inquire here if you have questions about the program fee, scholarships, or fundraising for your program.

  • Host Families

    All students live with carefully selected local host families near the school, usually 10-30 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:

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

    Usually, two students will share a room and there can be up to 6 students with one host family depending on the size of the family’s home. They will only share rooms with students of the same gender and will be closely supervised by their hosts.

  • FAQs

    I am a parent with questions, where do I go?

    Please head to our Parent Handbook page. You’re also welcome to set up a time to chat with us about your child’s program abroad here. We’re happy to chat with you about this big decision!

    I identify as LGBTQ+. How will I be supported?

    Greenheart Travel welcomes travelers identifying as LGTBQ+, and is committed to helping you find the best program for you. We can provide information on the cultural norms of our destination countries and are prepared to advise you on the best programs based on your needs and interests. 

    Please read more here.

    How much supervision is there?

    Students are supervised and chaperoned by school staff during the day and by the host families at night. The only time when the student may be unsupervised is when they ride the train or bus to school from their host families home.

    Students will need to sign a form regarding their allowed curfew time with their parents before departure.

    Should a 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 video 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, our partner aims to keep small classes with no more than 12-15 students.

    Will I 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 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, you 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 proud to always be available for your questions and concerns and we always answer our emails and phone calls as quickly as possible. 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 I earn high school credit?

    Greenheart Travel cannot award high school credit. Please talk to your school about earning credit for your 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 I have 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.

    Do students need vaccines/shots?

    Greenheart Travel strongly recommends that all program participants be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before arriving to their destination country. If you will not be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the start of your program, please contact a Program Manager to confirm that your destination country will accept non-vaccinated participants.

    What happens if I get sick while abroad?

    You will be covered by mandatory health insurance as part of your program with Greenheart Travel. This is packaged into the program cost. You will receive a policy brochure and insurance card via email 1 week prior to your departure. Specific instructions and suggested doctors are included in the program handbook students receive via email upon acceptance.

    Can I apply with friends?

    Absolutely! We are happy to accept friends and groups. However, keep in mind your primary purpose of attending this program is to immerse themselves in the language and culture – so make sure you and your friend commit to speaking French!

    Do you accept groups?

    Absolutely! If you are an educator who would like to organize a group trip, please inquire here to speak about dates, pricing, and special requests.

    After I complete my program, how can I continue studying Italian?

    A great next step is doing our High School Abroad Italy program! You’ll go to a local Italian high school for a trimester, semester, or academic year.

    Are flights included?

    Flights to Italy are not included in the program fee. Students are responsible for booking their round-trip airfare to Italy. We will collect your itinerary to organize your arrival and airport pickup.

    Can I speak to current students or alumni?

    Yes! Check out our blog or you can join our exclusive teen programs Facebook group to talk to current and past students.

    We also have a list of mentors (teens and parents) that are past participants open to chatting about their experience with potential new participants. Please inquire here if you want to be put in touch with a mentor.

  • Application Process

    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 HereYou will be sent more information as well as the link to our application portal to begin your formal application. You’ll be able to save your progress along the way.

    3. Sign the Terms & Conditions: After you complete the first part 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 application fee: You will need to submit your $300 application fee at this point in the process. This is required in order to reserve your spot on the program and is subtracted from your total program fee.

    5. In-Depth QuestionnaireThis 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 1-2 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 payment 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’ll then be able to download program handbook from the portal, 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.

  • Why Greenheart Travel?

    Greenheart Travel has been sending teens to Germany for many years, and there are advantages of applying for this program through us:

    • 33 years of experience with cultural exchange programs.
    • Friendly, responsive, and professional support from your program manager.
    • Connect with alumni and others on the program via our Greenheart Travel only Facebook forums, before you even leave!
    • We try and make our program fees as inclusive as we can. We include things like medical insurance so you don’t run into any hidden fees down the line.
    • Greenheart Atlas Program. The Greenheart Travel Atlas is a cultural training interactive guidebook alongside five videos where you will find three main topics covered: Personal/Professional Development, Cultural Understanding, & Environmental Awareness.
    • Our alumni recommend us! Reviews // Reviews
    • Hands-on support and personal attention every step of the way
    • 24/7 emergency phone number to reach a staff member at any time
    • Pre-departure “Culture Shock and Adjustment” Webinar before you leave
    • Discounts for future Greenheart Travel programs
    • We are a non-profit, mission-based organization
    • Continued support throughout your time abroad

    We also have some unique offerings to our Greenheart Travel students and alumni!

    Greenheart Global Impact Grants (GIGs)

    Greenheart GIG Grants are funds awarded to Greenheart Travel participants to use for community development projects in their host or home country after they return home. A GIG is the opportunity to create, improve, or maintain an impactful, community-focused project abroad or at home. Grant funds could be applied to supporting women’s cooperatives, schools, community centers, or health clinics, for example. Grant winners will be featured on our website, social media, and blog. You can see our past winners on our blog here.

    Greenheart Alumni Program

    We created the Greenheart Travel Alumni Program to provide resources and a community to support alumni in their advancement as global leaders, and a way to celebrate and reward our participants for being ambitious, inspiring catalysts of cultural exchange!

    Junior Greenheart Global Leaders Conference

    Each May Greenheart offers full-ride scholarships to around 10 teen alumni to attend our annual conference in Chicago. You can see more about what Jr. GGLC is and what you could do at the conference here.

  • Schedule a Call

    Have questions and want to chat with a program advisor? Set up a time here:

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