Italy FAQs


  • SYA Italy opened in 2001 and is located in Viterbo, 64 miles north west of Rome.
  • The school is housed in a palazzo decorated with a collection of 16th century frescoes.
  • Three languages offered; Italian, Latin & Greek.
  • Students typically enroll in six courses, including English, math and Italian.
  • Other courses are taught in English, but gradually incorporate more Italian as student language proficiency deepens.
  • Applied Agroecology combines biology, microbiology, ecology, chemistry and organic chemistry with a focus on sustainability.
  • Broad range of co-curriculars are available; sports, applied arts and musical opportunities.
  • Popular 'International Gemmallagio' club connects SYA Italy students with local Italian peers for language and cultural exchanges.

How will I get to school each day?


The SYA Italy building is located in the center of Viterbo. Students walk, ride bikes, and use public transportation to get around Viterbo. Most students live within a short walk or bus ride to school. SYA students are not allowed to drive or operate motor vehicles of any kind during their year abroad, however they are allowed to ride a bicycle when wearing a helmet.

How will my host family be selected?

SYA takes great care to match students with the best host families abroad. Many of our host families have previously hosted and all genuinely enjoy opening their hearts and homes to SYA students. Early in the enrollment process SYA students and parents will receive a Host Family Placement Questionnaire (HFPQ) and a Parents’ Memorandum (PM), respectively. These forms give students and parents an opportunity to comment on students’ living habits and lifestyles. Both forms should be completed wholly and honestly, so as to make the best match possible. The host family coordinator, who has met and interviewed each family in their home, uses these documents, as well as other elements from student applications, to match students with host families.

Will my host family speak English?

Though fluency in English is not required to be an SYA host family, the global nature of the world, and the SYA community in particular, is such that many families understand and speak some English, particularly if there are any school-aged children in the home. More importantly, your host family will be eager to help you use, stretch, and strengthen your Italian language skills; regardless of their English language skills you will be encouraged to communicate in the target language whenever possible. However, should the need arise, rest assured that the Resident Director, Patrick Scanlon, speaks fluent English and will assist if needed.

What co-curriculars are available? Can I continue with sports ?

Students are able and encouraged to participate in whatever activities are offered in Viterbo! Students regularly practice and play instruments, join and form bands and chorus groups, get involved with theatre, take cooking classes, study at dance studios, participate in community service, and so much more. There is an Activities coordinator who works with students to help them find opportunities to engage with the local community. Often students bring new activities to Viterbo and involve their classmates and local peers. The opportunities are endless.

Students are able to continue many of the sports they play here in the United States while abroad. However, there are some notable exceptions, mainly American football and lacrosse, which are much harder to continue. Most sports in Viterbo are organized at the municipal and club level. There are multiple levels of intensity, which demand varying levels of ability and commitment. Doing a sport in Viterbo provides students a chance to interact with and befriend their local peers. Upon arrival to SYA Italy, students will meet with the Activities coordinator who will help them find an appropriate team or practice facility.

How will I be able to stay in touch with my family back in the U.S.?

At SYA Italy, staying in touch is very easy. Though the frequency of communication to family members and friends back home is different for every student, most students choose to set up a weekly call with family back home, speaking by phone or Skype.

Are there any language requirements?

SYA Italy does not have an Italian language requirement to apply; however, applicants must have classroom experience studying either a spoken or classical language.