Important Update Regarding AFS-USA Programs in Italy

Important Update Regarding AFS-USA Programs in Italy


Dear AFS-USA Volunteers,

On late Saturday evening, the Italian Government issued a new decree that expands upon previous directives made in their country. This was done to help contain the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), which, as you know, continues to be both dynamic and uncertain.

AFS has made the difficult, but necessary decision to suspend the programs for all AFS students who are currently on program in Italy. As of today, there are no plans to suspend the programs of our students from Italy who are being hosted abroad, including those students being hosted in the United States. There are also no plans, at this time, to suspend AFS programs in any other AFS country.

  • Intercultura is in the process of communicating the program suspension news directly with teens and host families in Italy. AFS has approximately 500 students from countries around the world who are currently studying in Italy.
  • AFS-USA is in the process of communicating this news directly to U.S. parents and guardians of the teens who are in Italy.
  • While there are currently no plans to suspend the programs of our students from Italy who are living in the United States, we feel it’s important to let our students from Italy know that U.S. students are returning home, so we are sending them a message today, as well.

The decision to suspend the program in Italy was a challenging one to make, especially knowing how this can impact our students and their host families. The staff and volunteers of Intercultura AFS Italy are all very sad to see the student program end early.

Staff and volunteers in Italy are working with us to organize and prepare for the return of all students. The plan is to make it possible for students to leave Italy as early as March 12th, but this will depend on the availability of international flights. As you know, AFS-USA has a staff dedicated to travel and logistics and they are working now with our Italian colleagues to coordinate and facilitate student departures. Logistics will be shared with parents and their teens as they are available.

We have asked parents and guardians of teens hosted in Italy to please make certain that they, and their teens, are updated on safety advice so that, once students return home, they can take necessary steps that may help to reduce the risk of infection. We have asked them to continue to monitor information through the websites of the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

We will continue to keep you informed, as needed. Our support staff and others will be working with you as necessary, but please know you can reach out to me, as well.

Thank you for supporting our returning students from Italy in any way you are able. We are certain that many of our teens will feel disappointed, as well as their parents. If you need to reach out to me, please respond to this email or direct your communication to

With warmest regards,

Tara M. Hofmann
President & CEO

View the message sent to natural parents of students studying abroad in Italy.

View the message sent to Intercultura AFS Italy students hosted in the U.S. and their host families.