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The Experience

Become fluent in Italian in the birthplace of the Renaissance.

The birthplace of the Renaissance is known for its beautiful language, exquisite architecture, and world-famous art and cuisine. Spend your free time in museums and cathedrals, attending local festivals, and eating to your heart’s content. Six days a week, you’ll spend five hours in classes — taught solely in Italian — at your local public school. For the first eight weeks, you’ll also take a dedicated Italian language course two hours a week, to keep you up to speed.

“Marta, my host sister, speaks broken English, and she has helped me numerous times when I did not know a word or became confused with other people. We are in the same class at school, which has helped me create numerous friendships. I am a shy person, but she has helped me feel confident among her friends and in the classroom. As a volleyball player, Marta helped me join a team at her club, which has become a source of exercise and new friends. She is hilarious and so kind, partially addicted to her phone, and sometimes a very ‘typical teenager,’ but I am so happy to have her by my side.”

–Lucia H., CIEE High School Abroad Participant

Student with two Italian cooks
Whet your appetite for regional cuisine
Students walking on the beach by the ocean
Go out on a limb and try new things


Your experience in Italy will begin with a warm welcome from staff and an orientation in the beautiful city of Milan. Your orientation will strike a nice balance between language learning and exploring. For a majority of the days, you will have language classes in the morning, and the afternoon will be spent in orientation sessions and sightseeing. You’ll explore the Sforzesco Castle, visit Sempione Park, and gaze in awe at the beautiful Duomo.

For fall arrivals, you, your fellow participants, and local staff will also spend a day in Como, home to famous Lake Como — one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Lose yourself in Como’s tiny, narrow streets, take in the amazing views of the lake, and enjoy local dishes!

Classes will be run by native Italian teachers who are certified to teach Italian as a foreign language. The courses are designed to help prepare you for what will be an immersive experience for the duration of your program. Small class sizes and plenty of individualized instruction will ensure you receive the most out of your time in Milan.

Note: Orientation is six days for fall arrivals, three days for spring arrivals.

“The pictures truly can’t give Venice justice. To really grasp it, you need to stand in the middle of a busy alleyway and feel the humidity on your face and smell the fresh bread. Just stand with a cup of dark chocolate gelato in one hand and a cup of dark hot chocolate in the other and eat yourself sick. I’ll leave you with that image of happiness.”

–Kelton M., CIEE High School Abroad Alumnus

The Destination

Discover a world of unparalleled art, architecture, history, and cuisine in spectacular Italy.

Imagine yourself in Italy:

Exploring the Italian countryside during a school field trip. Meeting up with friends after a day of classes to share real pizza margherita and gelato. Practicing your Italian while cheering on the local futbol team during an exciting match.

Whether you’re placed in a small town outside of Florence, the “City of Flowers,” to the north, or in the southern hilltop community of Calitri, with CIEE high school study abroad in Italy, you’ll explore more than 3,000 years of rich history, both in class at the local high school and through your own personal explorations.

Advance your Italian proficiency each day — through chats with teachers and classmates, and dinnertime conversations with your host family — and gain important international experience that can help get you into your first-choice college. If you’re ready, Italy awaits.

Students looking out over old buildings
and no two days are the same
Decorative umbrellas over walkway
where art is part of life
City scene
Live where things are happening

The Take-Aways

Language Proficiency

Regardless of your level of proficiency upon entry, you’ll make dramatic strides in your language skills while immersed in the Italian high school experience. Return home with remarkably improved conversational skills, ready to ace the next level of Italian language classes in the United States.

Based on ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines, CIEE High School Abroad participants improve, on average, two language levels during the course of the program.

The CIEE High School Abroad program provides students more language contact hours in just a few weeks than the average U.S. high school student receives through high school language classes in an entire academic year — 150 hours.*

*Alice Omaggio Hadley’s Teaching Language in Context

Local Transcript

You will receive an official record of classes and grades from your local school in Italy. Credit transfer will vary from school to school, country to country, so please consult with your U.S. school guidance counselor.

Students walknig down path toward ocean
Immerse yourself in the life and the language. Emerge with confidence for whatever comes next.

Global Citizenship

After immersing yourself in unfamiliar practices and customs, you’ll become better equipped to interact with people from other cultures — in school, on the job, or in your personal life. In today’s interconnected global economy, intercultural skills have never been more important.

94% of participants said their intercultural understanding and knowledge improved as a result of their participation in the CIEE High School Abroad program, while 93% said their experience made them more aware of global issues.

“I learned things that aren’t taught in schools: what is really important to me, what I want out of life, and how to be more open-minded and confident.”

– Sophie R., CIEE High School Abroad Alumna

Independence & Resilience

Come home better prepared to make transitions, take control of new situations, and appreciate challenging experiences for what they are: opportunities to learn and grow.

90% of participants said their level of independence increased as a result of their participation in the CIEE High School Abroad program.

“Being ‘on your own’ and going through so many new things teaches you to rely on yourself, more like an adult. Experiencing more than most teenagers would at the same age helps you to become wiser. Most important, I feel like my eyes have been opened to the fact that there are other people across oceans who can live similarly or completely opposite to your lifestyle.”

– Kathryn R, CIEE High School Abroad Alumna

College Readiness

Studying abroad gives you the kinds of life skills that can’t be learned in a classroom — and shows college admissions reps that you’re already one step ahead in terms of initiative, maturity, and independence.

79% of participants said their experience with CIEE helped shape their college applications.

“Everyone is shocked to hear that I studied abroad when I was 15 years old. I’m shocked myself — yet, quite frankly, I’m shocked that it isn’t more common to study abroad in high school. CIEE gave me an opportunity that most people have never heard of. The program transformed me into the person I am today, with impeccable people skills and the ability to adapt to any environment. I owe a huge thanks to the CIEE program. I am proud to be a CIEE alumnus!”

- Alex A., CIEE High School Abroad Alumnus

Passion & Direction

Upon return, you’ll likely have a better sense of what you want to study in college or even pursue as a career.

86% of participants felt their experience with CIEE impacted their educational or career pursuits and goals, while 96% of participants said they regularly use the knowledge and skills they acquired while abroad with CIEE.

“About a year and a half ago, I decided to study abroad in Italy for 10 months and was placed in an amazing town called Cittadella. I can’t believe how much my life has changed since I first stepped on that plane to Italy. Because of my study abroad experience, I now know what I want to do with my life and what my priorities are. It’s amazing how much your perspective on life changes when you take such a big leap! Since I’ve been back, I have been focusing on my education at Carroll College, where I’m pursuing a nursing degree in the hope of one day being a pediatric oncology nurse.”

–Dana R., CIEE High School Abroad Alumna

Sample Activities & Excursions

Stunning landmarks, priceless art, and more — you’ll explore, learn, and grow every day in Italy.

Join your peers on group excursions to legendary landmarks in a range of favorite Italian cities, from Verona to Venice, Florence, and Rome. Available at an additional cost, these optional expeditions will feature a variety of guided tours and activities. Possible destinations include:

  • Florence
    You’ll spend three days and two nights in the “City of Lilies,” with a visit to the Piazza and Basilica of Santa Croce. You’ll venture on to Florence’s historical center, including sights like the Palazzo Vecchio, the Museo Degli Uffizi (Uffizi Museum Gallery), and the Palazzo Rucellai, a palatial 15th-century townhouse. You’ll be busy, but don’t worry — there will be plenty of time set aside for shopping and meals!
  • Rome
    You’ll have three days and two nights to experience the wonders of Italy’s breathtaking capital city. Rome offers you centuries of world-famous architecture and art, including masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. The city is also home to Vatican City, as well as ancient ruins like the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. You’ll want to see it all.
Student making pasta
Get real with authentic hands-on activities.
Student in front of ocean and cliffs
Pack in more sightseeing than you ever dreamed possible.

“I already visited this historical city [Rome] with my school this year (and about four years ago with my family), but I loved getting to revisit everything during this past trip, especially now that I know more about the culture, art, and history from my studies this semester: seeing the Colosseo, climbing St. Peter’s Basilica, eating lunch on the Spanish Steps — and just admiring how beautiful everything in Italy is!”

-Kathryn R., CIEE High School Abroad Alumna

Meet the Staff

Nina Wineburgh

Enrollment Coordinator

Nina’s passion for international education stems from her own experience living with a host family and attending a local high school in a small town outside of Avignon, France during her sophomore year of high school.

Upon her return to the U.S. with refreshed perspectives and yearning for cross-cultural exploration, Nina continued to pursue her interest in the French language and immersive experiences.

As a French & Francophone studies major in college, she spent a semester studying and living in Nantes, France, and a semester in Rabat, Morocco, on a CIEE-led program. She is thrilled to help facilitate short and long term study abroad programs for high school students with the hope that their experiences are as transformative and inspiring as hers was.

Rachel Babich

Enrollment Coordinator

Rachel has been committed to supporting study abroad since high school, when she traveled through Europe on a cultural exchange program. Returning home with a greater understanding of her world, she sought out opportunities to see new cultures. Through studying in the South of France, living and working in Paris, and traveling to over 25 countries, Rachel has seen firsthand the power of immersive study.

Since then, she has been helping American and international students experience the transformative opportunities study abroad can bring. She is excited to help high school students and their families have a great experience studying with CIEE!

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