Torn between high school programs abroad in the nearly 200 countries of the world? Here are 10 alluring traits about Italy that may just make your decision easier.Language:
Imagine listening to Pavarotti and understanding the words, or reading Dante or Machiavelli in their original, non-translated text. Italian is an incredibly beautiful language and studies show that learning a new language increases analytical thinking skills and fights the onset of Alzheimers! If you have already taken some Italian lessons in the past, studying Italian in Italy can legitimize that time you spent in class and bring the language to life.History:
From Ancient Greek and Roman ruins, to the birth of the Renaissance, to remnants of fascism and World War II, Italy is almost limitless in its offerings for history lovers and students in general. Visit the ruins of Greek amphitheaters in Sicily, the world’s oldest bank still in existence in Siena (Monte di Paschi), and Mussolini’s attempt to revive the monuments of the ancient empire in Rome. Take an anthropology class and you may even be able to participate in a dig!Education:
Sometimes it’s easy for high school students to forget that there is "study" involved in studying abroad. Aside from its aesthetics and culinary marvels, Italy also offers some of the oldest universities in the world and is the founder of the Bologna process (the standard in higher education in Europe and a growing in influence). Providing high quality education is another area in which Italy has earned its sense of pride.Religion:
Even for those who are not religious, Italy’s churches will impress and amaze you. Vatican City, confined within the boundaries of Rome, is the heart of the Catholic faith. It is rich with both Christian and artistic history that both religious and secular visitors can appreciate. Wealthy patrons who earned vast amounts of money during the Renaissance funded most of the churches across the country and it shows in the details. One can spend hours in just one church marveling at the intricacies that blanket it from the floor to ceiling. For those who affiliate with the Catholic faith, there are numerous sites to visit that are attributed to various saints and martyrs if you want to make the pilgrimage.Geography:
Italy has inspired countless generations of artists and poets with its natural beauty. Starting in the Alps and working south, Italy offers rolling hills in the countryside of Tuscany, numerous islands that dot the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas, homes built into cliffs along the coast, and white sand beaches. There really is something for everyone.Weather:
Being in the Mediterranean, Italy has some of the best weather in Europe. It is much warmer than its northern neighbors and the skies are almost always a beautiful blue. Stuck inside studying for a test or writing a paper? Take a quick walk down the street, enjoy the sunshine, and your mood will improve instantly.Hospitality:
In typical Mediterranean style, Italy welcomes International students and visitors with open arms. This should not be undervalued when searching for your perfect high school study abroad experience. Culture shock can be more severe if staying in a country where you feel resented by the locals. The Italian outgoing nature will also help you to make friends and feel more comfortable and less isolated while living so far from home.