Italian Study Abroad

Back to Programs

A Guide to Learning Italian Abroad

The language that gave us words like cappuccino, opera, and al fresco also happens to be the native language of 85 million people. Intensive Italian language courses are designed to teach you as much as possible, as fast as possible - including all the slang your school teacher would never tell you! (Did you know, for example, that tiramisu means “pick me up” in Italian?) Spaghetti yourself abroad to attend Italian language schools and learn to speak like a true native — even if that means less words and more hand gestures than you expected!


There’s nothing like leaving your country and comfort zone behind to improve your level in another language. With Italian communities present throughout the Mediterranean and even seeping into landlocked Europe, Italian language programs offer no short of geographic beauty and cultural richness. 

Allora….the obvious place to learn Italian abroad is Italy: the land of Neapolitan pizza, the world’s best coffee, and too many (or not enough?!) Vespas. You certainly can’t go wrong with Rome, with its architectural feats and gladiator ghosts roaming cobblestones piazzas. However, you may find that spending time in Florence would be more beneficial for the language experience. As the birthplace of the Renaissance, this Tuscan gem hosts many famous works of art and sculpture (Michelangelo’s David statue, anyone?). In addition to backyard vineyards and a hip art scene, Florence lets you truly immerse yourself in Italian. After all, it’s better to avoid places full of English speakers that make you resort back to your mother tongue!

Alternatively, you may allow the beautiful beaches and temples of Sicily to draw you in for Italian language schools. This stunning island is becoming an increasingly popular destination for language learning, so you will not be short of choice for whereabouts you would like to study. Sicily also boasts a huge amount of history and culture of its own, from the remnants of repeated invasions to Europe’s largest active volcano.

If the la dolce vita in Italy sounds too sexy for you, choose to learn Italian abroad in Switzerland. Surrounded by mountains and world-famous chocolate, the southern region of the country is actually filled with native Italian speakers. Its small towns are the perfect place to go to avoid other English speakers, and given that they’re in the middle of the Alps, they’re definitely not short of beauty!

Italian Language Programs

Being in the country of the language you’re studying is always beneficial, so even if you can only spare a short time, you will still learn huge amounts. If, on the other hand, you would like to spend an extended period of time abroad, there are programs for that too. Intensive Italian language courses becoming so popular that you will have no trouble finding the perfect program for you!

Summer Italian language schools are perfect those who are at school for most of the year. Spending a few weeks abroad gives you numerous occasions to learn from teachers and to put your newly-acquired skills into practice. Summer schools often arrange cultural trips, allowing you to get to know your classmates and explore the history and lifestyle of the region you stay in. They also let you make the most of a Mediterranean summer and soak up the sun in your free time!

However, if you are not bound to the summer, many Italian language programs offer classes which you can join and leave any time that suits you. Many offer the opportunity to stay with a teacher or host family, which is perfect for immersion (whether beginner or advanced), and some also arrange group trips to local places of interest. Italian language classes are often taught in small groups, which allow you to not only get all the help and attention you need from the teacher, but also gain an automatic group of friends to practice with. The flexible start/end times make these a good fit as Italian immersion programs for adults, too.

Another option is to spend a semester abroad at a university for your Italian language courses. This gives you the chance to travel around the country, study in different places, and to experience life as a foreign student. Living in another country provides an understanding of the culture that holidays just don’t offer. Plus, there’s the perk of transferring college credit back home! Who wouldn’t pick learning about The Last Supper on location? With a gelato in hand? Next to some cute local?

If you’re aiming for serious immersion in Italian, why not live with an Italian teacher? Spending every aspect of your life surrounded by Italian is the perfect way to learn faster than Italians can speak. You’ll never be short of opportunities to improve, and you’ll make everlasting memories as you spend time with native speakers who can introduce you to their way of life; you’ll never drink a cappuccino after midday again!

Tips for Gaining Fluency in Italian

Fluency – the dream! If you take intensive Italian language classes, you may find that the dream is not as far away as you’d think. Italian is one of the easiest major languages to pick up, and if you already have some knowledge of another romance language, you’ll find it even easier. However, language learning doesn’t happen through osmosis, so you need to make an effort to use it whenever possible in your daily life.

Read! Reading in Italian definitely aids in learning new words and grammatical structures. Pick up a newspaper for a challenge, or, if that seems too daunting, children’s books are a great option. Alternatively, buy your favourite novel in Italian – reading about Hogwarts or another well-known setting in italiano will help you to concentrate on the words instead of story plot.

Pay attention to the media. Italian will surround you with all sorts of drama: listen to the radio, go to the cinema, watch TV. The more you listen to Italian, the more training your ears will get and the easier it will become to understand that waitress in your favourite café!

Live with native speakers. Host families are accustomed to helping their guests learn Italian as fast as possible and being patient as you learn. If you study abroad, being brave and finding an apartment with native speakers rather than English speakers will increase your fluency tenfold. Daily conversations with your flatmates will constantly put your Italian to the test, and they can introduce you to their friends and take you out for true student experiences.

Tandem exchanges. These are a great way to improve your spoken Italian while helping someone else with their English. This is an advantage of living in a city rather than a small town; there will definitely be someone who would like to practice with you!

Benefits & Challenges

The major benefit of learning Italian abroad is being surrounded by native accents and slang, as well as the media. The availability of local newspapers, TV shows, and people to practice with improve language skills in a way that staying in your home country could never do. Partaking in an intensive Italian language program will have a lasting impact your capabilities.

Another major benefit of going abroad is obvious – food! Italy is widely considered to have the best cuisine in the world, while Switzerland is famous for its incredible chocolate and cheese. Leave any doubts at home, ciao everything down, and allow yourself to be better fed than you ever have in your life.

Alongside great being great foodies, Italians are also known to be very family-oriented. You might find yourself to be no different! Traveling abroad for an extended period of time could lead to culture shock or homesickness. However, nowadays both are simple to overcome. It’s easy to stay in touch with home thanks to Skype and Whatsapp. Remind yourself you won’t be in Italy forever (or will you?!) and make the most of every new opportunity.

Learning a language abroad is the only way to really under the skin of the country. You’ll have the chance to ask natives infinite questions, to be taken to culturally significant ruins, to travel between beautiful landscapes, and to practice every time you leave the house. Say arrivederci to your everyday routine and buongiorno to incredible new experiences! Find Italian language classes today.

Read More

written by:

A Guide To
Learning Italian Abroad


 Find Italian Language Courses Abroad


This listing has been saved 5 times

Learn Italian in Genoa, in groups and for all levels

Located in the heart of Genoa, in the middle of Riviera in Liguria region (north west coast of Italy) the school is located in an elegant and fascinating building of the 19th century and it is easily reachable by bus or train. It is also just a few steps from the main touristic attractions in the town and close to world top destinations such as Cinque terre and Portofino (East Riviera) or Sanre...


This listing has been saved 2 times

Italian Program for Juniors 12-18 in Lignano, Italy

Learn the Italian language while experiencing a well-rounded and exciting array of activities in this International Summer School for participants between the ages of 12 and 18. The school is located in Villaggio Adriatico, in a region between the sea and forest. International teens enjoy their time at the center, which offers a private beach, a park with pinewood, and facilities for basket...


This listing has been saved 3 times

Study Italian in Florence

Improve fluency in the Italian language in Florence, Italy. The city is where the Renaissance originated, which influenced the entire cultural and spiritual life of Europe. Florence offers countless iconic sites, cultural activities, and amazing cuisines for international visitors. Eurocentres teach the language students need to communicate in real life through undergoing a series of exercis...


This listing has been saved 11 times

Centre For Italian Studies - Taormina, Sicily

Founded in 1992, the Babilonia Italian Language School is wholly committed to promoting the culture and heritage of Italy, while studying the country's famous language. Whether the participant is a local or international student, Babilonia is open to all those who wish to fully immerse in the culture and gain a broader perspective of the Italian way of life. The school is located in a historic ...


This listing has been saved 3 times

Teen Language Camp in Florence, Italy with Greenheart Travel

Learn and improve your Italian through full language and cultural immersion on Greenheart Travel’s summer language camp program, in Florence, Italy! We welcome teen students of all skills, including beginners! Live with an Italian host family and make international friends from around the world, all while perfecting your Italian and learning about the culture and country of Italy. Program-at-...


This listing has been saved 1 time

Italian Language and Culture - Bologna, Florence & Lucca

Guarantee complete Italian cultural and linguistic immersion in this Standard Italian Language Programme. Spend 20 hours per week on group courses in the morning and on a range of activities - such as lectures, guided visits, and excursions - in the afternoon. Enjoy foreign language learning combined with constant practice with other students, as well as native speakers, through our Italian ...


This listing has been saved 2 times

Italian Language Courses Between Cinque Terre and Portofino

The school is located in the historical town centre of Chiavari between Cinque Terre and Portofino. On the second floor of an attractive Art Nouveau building, the school has characteristic balconies with flowers, and bright, spacious classrooms; each room is furnished in a different style but all have their own particular marine atmosphere. The school uses traditional slat blackboards (slate ...


This listing has been saved 10 times

Exchange and Experience Italian lifestyles with Joinki

Become part of the Joinki Language Tutor Program in Italy. This opportunity offers you a whole new way of experiencing cultural exchange, since you will be given the chance to be an active member of a true Italian community. You will serve as an English or German language tutor to an Italian family in the Trentino Region. In return for providing exposure to the language around 15 hours ...


This listing has been saved 74 times

Istituto Europeo - Internships Program in Florence

Undertake an internship in Italy while studying conversational Italian with Istituto Europeo. Interns work at companies based on their interest. Typically, interns do a combination of Italian lessons in the morning and interning in the afternoon, but they can opt to do a full-time internship. Students can work at art galleries, wine production facilities, social media, sustainable architecture,...


This listing has been saved 3 times

ISA Study Abroad in Rome, Italy

Roma, the Eternal City, the City of seven hills, Caput Mundi (head of the world) - whatever you call it, one thing is for sure, Rome's beauty quickly overtakes all who enter its ancient walls. With its sunny climate, stately umbrella pines, and an unparalleled wealth of history around every corner, Rome's beauty quickly overtakes all who enter its ancient walls. It won't take long before studen...


This listing has been saved 12 times

Athena Study Abroad in Italy

Athena Study Abroad offers several programs in Italy including Florence, Rome, Tuscania and the Tour of Italy (3 cities, 1 semester). All programs offer Italian language courses, as well as a wide range of English-language taught elective courses. There are even more opportunities to visit other destinations in Italy through the field trips included in the program cost! Other Italian sights...


This listing has been saved 1 time

Italian Language Course - Standard

The standard Italian language course is made up of 20 Italian language lessons of 50 minutes per week. It is designed for students who plan to learn or to expand their Italian language knowledge base. Great emphasis is placed on linguistic development and on increasing oral and written linguistic communication skills exactly what is needed to get along in everyday life in Italy. Our group...


This listing has been saved 3 times

Learn Italian in Tuscany @ Il Sasso Language Institute

For over 30 years, the Italian language school Il Sasso has been running courses in Montepulciano, in the heart of Tuscany. The school is located in a historic building in the center of the town. It offers Italian Language courses, individual tuition, culture courses (in Italian and in English), Summer Programs, Faculty Led Programs, Semester Programs, Internships. The school is recognised by t...


This listing has been saved 1 time

IES Abroad Rome - Language & Area Studies Summer Program

The IES Abroad Rome Language & Area Studies Program provides you with the opportunity to begin Italian language studies or improve existing skills, while studying Art and Art History in Italy's capital. Language classes, ranging from beginner to advanced, develop your ability to communicate effectively in Italian through a focus on grammar, conversation, and composition. Specially designed area...


This listing has been saved 2 times

Enjoy a study-vacation experience in authentic Italy!

Dante Alighieri – Campus L’Infinito school is in Recanati, a small town in central Italy (Marche). Recanati is the ideal place if you are looking for a full-immersion program in an authentic context. The School offers intensive language courses (all levels) combined with field trips and fun activities. Internship opportunities available (Italian B1 level required). Accommodation provided.