Frequently Asked Questions
When is it advisable to register?
It is advisable to start enrolment procedures during the second or third year and to start the year of the fourth year. We recommend that you register for the programme well in advance so that you can complete the paperwork in good time, choose the destination of your choice and take advantage of any promotions and scholarships.
Will I have to take tests when I return to Italy?
The Ministry of Education excludes examinations. However, the class council may require you to take tests in subjects that are part of the curriculum in Italy and that you have not studied abroad.
How does language learning work?
Initial language and adaptation difficulties that you may encounter during the first days of your High School Programme are quickly overcome thanks to your full involvement in the new reality, the support of your host family and local representatives.
Where will I live during my time abroad?
Depending on the programme you choose, you may be hosted by a carefully selected host family or stay at a college.
Can I find out before I leave what subjects and extracurricular activities I will be able to attend?
You will only be able to check availability once you have arrived on site. Be open-minded: try out new sports, engage in activities you have never tried. They will be experiences you will carry with you forever!
What are the prices?
Prices vary according to the type of programme, destination, duration and other variables.
Does studying 3 months abroad (or more) really help with the language?
The answer is: absolutely yes.
Once a duration has been chosen, can the programme be extended?
It depends on the programme and destination; contact your agency for more details. Typically, the cost of the original programme plus the extension and̀ higher than choosing a full duration immediately.
Can I choose the location and the school?
It depends on the programme chosen. A supplement is required to indicate certain preferences.
I already know a host family, can I go and live with them?
Yes, contact our Star Tutors for more information.
What are the characteristics of the host families?
Families can be of different types: older or younger couples, with or without children, extended families or single-parent families with or without children. Host families may come from different social, religious, economic and cultural backgrounds. What all Host Families have in common is the importance they place on welcoming students and making them feel at home.
Do you go to small or big places?
School abroad cultural exchange programmes favour accommodation in small to medium-sized towns, where families enthusiastically welcome foreign students. If you prefer to stay in a city, choose a programme with a more specific choice of destination.
Will there be other Italian students in the family?
No, you will be the only Italian student even if you ask to share with your compatriots. This is a basic rule of the programme. Two people from outside of the family who speak the same foreign language can give rise to unintentional and unpleasant dynamics. Having another student at home who speaks your language would also reduce the speed and effectiveness of learning.
Will I be able to travel during my stay abroad?
This is̀ a cultural exchange programme and does not allow independent travel within the country. In some destinations,̀ you may take part in trips offered by local organisations to foreign students, but always with the permission of your host family and your natural parents. Host families are not obliged to let the student travel.
Can I do my PCTO (formerly Alternanza Scuola-Lavoro - Alternating School and Work Study Sessions) hours while abroad?
Yes̀, many Italian schools recognise the school programme abroad as hours for Transversal Skills and Orientation courses (formerly ASL). During their stay abroad, students may carry out voluntary work or other work as required by Italian law and then request a written statement certifying the activity carried out and the amount of hours involved. The Italian school, with this certificate, will recognise the hours for PCTOs (formerly Alternanza Scuola-Lavoro).
Can I go with a friend?
The school year abroad programme is an individual programme and going with a friend would compromise the benefits of the experience, such as being fully immersed in the language and culture of the host country.
Can I report specific health conditions?
If you have a specific health condition to report, it is important to mention it at the time of the selection interview. In the case of diets, allergies or other special conditions, a monthly supplement may be charged to cover extra expenses.
If I turn 18 whilst abroad, will I be able to obtain a driving licence?
No, this is never allowed for Exchange Students.
Will I travel with an accompanying person to my final destination?
No, air transfers do not include an accompanying person: you will fly to your dream independently or, in some cases, with other Exchange Students.
What is the High School Programme?
Thanks to the School Year Abroad programme, you have the opportunity to attend from three months to a full school year at a high school in another country. You can choose your favourite destination from the many available and have a fantastic experience. During your stay, a host family will welcome you and make you feel at home, or you can experience college life. It will be a unique opportunity for your growth, you will learn or improve the language of the destination country, make new friends, and get to know another culture, new lifestyles, and traditions. It will be an experience you will carry with you for the rest of your life!
Who can participate in the programme?
You can participate in the School Year Abroad programme if you are regularly enrolled in a high school and are between 14 and 18 years old (in some destinations the ages may vary slightly).
Can I refuse the proposed match with the host family?
No, it is always the host family who chooses the student they wish to host on the basis of the Student Application. Pairings with families cannot be refused a priori.
When will I know the details of my placement (host family and high school)?
Notification of the placement can take place from a few months before to a few days before departure, especially for programmes where the choice of school is not foreseen.
What are high schools like abroad?
This varies according to the country chosen, but it is important to know that they can be small (100-300 students) or even large (2000-3000 students). In some countries a uniform or a specific dress code is required.
Can I get a diploma?
Again, the answer differs depending on the country chosen and the programme required. By attending a full academic year at a foreign high school, it is possible to obtain a diploma, if this is provided for in the internal regulations and if the academic results allow it.
How much money will I need on site?
Considering the cost of living in the country of destination, your expenses will be comparable to those you usually incur in Italy. We suggest that you leave with a rechargeable credit card, after checking that it works in your host country.
Does my family have to host another student to participate in the programme?
Absolutely not, you can participate in a term, semester, or school year abroad without being obliged to host a foreign student.
I play sport at a competitive level, can I continue to do so?
It depends on the programme chosen and the requirements of the local high school. Contact our tutors for more information.
I play a musical instrument, can I continue to do so?
It depends on the programme chosen and the requirements of the local high school. Contact our tutors for more information.
Is the School Year Abroad programme recognised by the Italian school?
The High School Program is recognised by the Ministry of Education, University and Research of the Italian Republic and regulated by the MIUR (Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research) Note Ref. No. 843 dated 10/04/2013. You will be absent with good reason and may be readmitted on the basis of the report form given to you by the school in the foreign country. We advise you to find out and discuss the specifics on how to manage your return directly with your school.
Can I choose the subjects I will take abroad?
Yes̀, in school systems that provide for it and̀ you can choose subjects at school from those available. In most cases, the choice will be made when you arrive at the foreign school, and you will be supported in this by a tutor from within the school. As these are very different education systems, it is not̀ certain that you will be able to find the same subjects as in Italy, so we advise you, whenever possible, to choose subjects that are as similar as possible to the Italian school system.
Can I choose my destination?
You can choose your preferred host country from all those available and your choice is always guaranteed. The precise final destination depends on the programme chosen.
I would like to know more about host families
Families who decide to host a foreign student for a term, a semester or the whole school year are keen to experience this in depth and to do their utmost to provide the student with all the help and support he or she needs. Depending on the programme chosen, families may be voluntary or receive a refund for hosting the student.
What happens if I have problems in my family?
On-site staff will work with you and your host family to determine the reason for the problem and find a possible solution:̀ remember that the onset of a difficulty does not always mean a change of family. Often, solutions are sought together to allow you to continue your experience with serenity and to grow by overcoming obstacles. In cases where for various reasons this is not possible, a change of family is also offered.
Will I be sharing a room during my time abroad?
This will depend on the host family you choose to stay with: some host families have more than one room and therefore can only let one room to the student they are hosting, while other families may share a room with a foreign brother/sister or another Exchange Student.
Who should I contact if I have problems on site?
Your first point of contact on site is your host family, with whom you can discuss all aspects of your stay. Also, I could talk to the Local Coordinator and the school tutor. The Local Coordinator, in particular, will be your mentor in case of any kind of problem: adaptation difficulties, culture shock, possible problems with the host family, homesickness.
Does a diploma abroad replace an Italian diploma?
This answer varies according to the university chosen by the student in Italy or abroad: some universities allow students who obtain a diploma (normally American) to enrol with only the foreign diploma without the need to obtain the Italian diploma, whilst other universities do not consider it a diploma that can replace the Italian qualification.
Will I be able to return home during the year abroad? Will my parents be able to visit me during the Christmas holidays or at other times?
Re-entry is normally only granted in very serious situations (such as the loss of a family member). As for visits, in most cases they are not granted during the year, but only during the last weeks of the programme. The holidays are a great opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your host family and learn more about the culture and traditions of your host country. In some European destinations, public holidays may not be included, and it will therefore be possible to return to Italy.
Am I ready to live abroad for a year?
This is an important question that should be asked before leaving. Although living an academic year in a foreign country may seem very challenging, it is also one of the most rewarding and uplifting experiences you can have. You are ready to live abroad if you are curious about discovering new habits and cultures, if you are willing to struggle to communicate at first but feel open to opening up to the world and if you think the world is too big and interesting to get to know only a small part of it. If you find yourself in at least one of these aspects, then don't wait to go abroad for a year!
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