Florence, widely acclaimed as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, has lost little prestige in today’s international community. One of the most respected centers of art, fashion, and culture in the whole world, Florence remains a premier destination for high school programs abroad and an incredible option for students interested in living a creative lifestyle. From the Uffizi Gallery to the Ponte Vecchio, this beautiful historic city in the heart of Tuscany will prove to be an overflowing source of cultural fascination and inspiration.
High School Programs in Florence
There are a bevy of international high school programs in Florence which focus on a specific craft or element of the Italian culture. For example, students can study culinary arts under some of the of the the best Italian chefs in the world, fashion design at one of Florence’s many prestigious art academies, or photography amidst an urban backdrop more beautiful than you could dream of. There are a wide array of course subjects offered to students who want to join a high school study abroad program in Florence, and many courses are along the lines of artistic creativity.
Other high school programs in Florence are instead structured around a more general approach to learning about the city as a whole, rather than focusing on any particular subject or skill. Florence has played a vital role in the cultural and societal development of not only Italy, but all of Europe. Cultural immersion programs can teach students about the many interesting facets of Florence and give them the chance to embark on educational field trips to monuments and museums throughout the city.
Language study is another popular type of high school program in Florence. Although Italian is not a language commonly taught in high schools around the world, language immersion programs in Florence will accept high school students at all levels of mastery, from very beginning to advanced.
Life in Florence
Florence hosts one of the most prestigious collections of museums and galleries in the whole world, and is home to such masterpieces as Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. High school students in Florence will never tire of exploring the infinitely enriching halls of Florence’s past and present artistic greatness. Full disclosure: the main attractions can become especially busy in the summer time at the height of tourist season, so make sure to plan ahead!
The city’s architecture is something to behold. Straddling the Arno River, many of the buildings in Florence have been standing for hundreds of years and serve as reminders of the city’s long lasting legacy. A diversity of architectural wonders, ranging from the Duomo to the Boboli Gardens, are speckled in and around Florence, a major reason why it is commonly considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Another thing students will want to take advantage of during any high school program in Florence is, of course, the food. Florence is widely regarded as a gastronomical capital of Italy, and all aspiring foodies out there will be in nirvana with the number of delectable restaurants, cafes, and gelaterias lining the city streets. Students should be extra careful though, because it is entirely possible in Florence to spend your whole budget on food alone!
Scholarships & Costs
Since Florence is such a popular tourist destination it can be an expensive city for high school students to live in. Italy is one of the costlier countries for travelers in Europe, so students shouldn’t plan on living too extraneously during a high school program in Florence. Students should instead be smart with their wallet and try not to spend too much on items outside of necessity.
It is likely that each high school program in Florence will cover many of the everyday costs of living, such as food and housing, up front in initial fees. If affordability is a concern, then students should check out the available financial aid opportunities for high school students through GoAbroad’s Scholarship Directory.
Accommodation & Visas
Many high school students in Florence choose to live in a homestay with a local host family. Italian culture is heavily centered around family, so a homestay can be a great way to immerse yourself fully into this aspect of the Italian lifestyle. Dormitories might also be available to students studying in Florence at local schools or academies, which can present a nice alternative option for those who want to live among international peers.
Students coming from within the European Union do not have to obtain a visa to join high school programs in Italy. For the rest, it depends on Italy’s visa policy toward your home country. Students coming from some countries outside of Europe can stay for up to three months without obtaining a visa, while others may have to acquire a visa prior to entry.
Benefits & Challenges
Embrace the Italian Lifestyle. Italians are a fun-loving and sociable people, and are well worth the sincere effort to interact with. Those who participate in high school programs in Florence will have the opportunity to engage in animated conversations, make friends with locals, and even acclimate to taking a daily siesta.
Explore the Birthplace of the Renaissance. High school students who travel to Florence, will be educated firsthand about the deep artistic, sociological, and scientific significance of the Italian Renaissance. History breathes life into the streets of Florence, and by learning about what has been, students will come to a greater appreciation of what currently is.
Expand your Comfort Zone. No doubt it will be a challenge to leave home alone and enter into an entirely new cultural context in another part of the world. But this is what makes travel so valuable, especially at a young age. A high school program in Florence will open your eyes to a whole different place and way of life, and you could not but grow from the experience.