Give back to local communities while discovering the best kept summer holiday secrets on our ultimate service adventure to Greece and Italy. Spend your first two weeks volunteering on two different islands with two different organizations. One organization is dedicated to protecting marine life (specifically sea turtles!), while the other is focused on helping the local community and children. Both projects complement each other to provide a well rounded volunteer experience giving back to two very important aspects of Greek culture!
On Kefalonia we partner with a wildlife organization dedicated to protecting the sea turtle species that frequent this area’s beaches. These turtles are at risk of extinction due to a variety of factors, including human activities. Our goal will be to monitor the turtles that nest on the beaches and assist with a strategy for future conservation efforts. Some of your volunteer duties will include evening patrols to look for nesting turtles, tagging turtles for monitoring, observing and collecting data about sea turtle interactions, and conducting health and safety talks in the community. We will also help with beach cleanup!
Our next community service project will take place on the beautiful island of Corfu, where you will spend the mornings working at a local farm and helping out the community and local orphanage. Service projects vary and are based on need but you may find yourself working at a food bank or clothing donation store and helping out with the animals on the farm.
Outside of our valuable service efforts, we’ll visit some of Greece’s most popular destinations, swim through turquoise blue waters, relax on island paradises, indulge in local cuisine, and explore the ancient culture that is at the heart of Western Civilization with plenty of opportunities to interact with the hospitable Greek locals who are so passionate about their beloved country.
Top off your trip in beloved Italy to enjoy the seaside beauty of the Amalfi Coast and ancient history in Rome. Discover the ruins in Rome and Pompeii and the charming coastal towns of the Amalfi Coast to see the best of these popular destinations with insider access from your expert guides. From fresh pasta and decadent gelato to picturesque piazzas and winding alleyways, you’ll fall in love with all things Italian as we experience a lifestyle and culture unlike any other. Join us for spectacular island service projects and Italian adventure in Greece and Italy this summer!
During this program, you will…
- Earn up to 45 hours of service working in marine conservation and research in Kefalonia and working at the community support center for local foster children and a local youth organizations in Corfu
- Participate in sea turtle environmental education workshops
- Climb the Acropolis for a close-up look at the Parthenon, one of the most spectacular ancient ruins of the world
- Splash in the surf on Petani, renowned for its crystal blue waters and white sand beaches
- Visit the mysterious archeological site of Delphi, considered in ancient times to be the center of the universe
- Eat like a Greek with plump tomatoes, local feta, and fresh calamari served by the sea
- Patrol sea turtle nesting beaches and take part in scientific research
- Explore Ithaca, Greece’s most mythical island and home of Odysseus
- Cruise along the incredible Amalfi coast to the beautiful towns of Positano and Amalfi
- Snorkel or scuba dive* in the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean
- Explore the charming coastal town of Sorrento and sample its famous lemon treats
- Visit Pompeii, a city frozen in time after being covered with ash from a volcanic eruption in 79 AD
- Transport yourself to ancient times as you discover the Roman Forum and the Colosseum
- Explore the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest cathedral in the world
- Make a wish and throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain to ensure your future return to Rome!
- Savor the best pizza, pasta, gelato, gyros and baklava of your life!
*This is an optional excursion
DAY 1: DEPART FROM NEW YORK (JFK)
DAYS 2-6: KEFALONIA SEA TURTLE SERVICE PROJECT
Kefalonia, Greece’s grand island of the Ionian Sea is our home for the first part of our trip, and where we will conduct our important service work protecting the local sea turtle population. Kefalonia’s rugged coastline is marked by dramatic limestone cliffs, colorful seaside towns, and white sandy beaches. This is the perfect place to learn from local Grecians and to experience their classical culture—away from the crowds and the typical tourist path!
As soon as we arrive, we’ll receive an introduction to sea turtle conservation, health and safety from local experts and researchers. Over the next four days, we’ll participate in evening patrols and be ready to spring into action if there is any nesting or hatching activity that happens during the night or early morning. You’ll help collect nest and behavior data, and tag turtles so scientists can track how well they’re doing as they travel. As turtles are wild animals, there is no guarantee of what each day may look like, but that is part of what makes this program so exciting!
Our service work will also include plenty of fun activities! Bike ride through idyllic coastal towns, indulge in authentic cuisine and kayak around the island. We’ll take an afternoon excursion to Petani Beach, a local swimming hole secret. Here, the beautiful contrast of the sea’s turquoise blue waters and white pebble beaches is a view you’ll never forget as you splash and swim in the surf and relax under the Mediterranean sun.
DAY 7: ITHACA
Ithaca is the famous home of Odysseus and symbolizes discovery and fulfillment. We’ll take a private boat to Greece’s most mythical island and spend a whole day swimming in its emerald green waters, exploring its lush greenery and enjoying the laid-back character of this tiny, wild island. Wander down the seafront promenade, discover secluded coves, and hike along trekking trails! Imagine your own classical journey as you encounter the magic of Ithaca’s picturesque villages. These coastal towns boast the freshest seafood and an abundance of history. Despite this location’s popularity for holidays, Ithaca has maintained its traditional identity and culture so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to experience authentic Greek life.
DAY 8: KEFALONIA
For our final day on the island of Kefalonia, we’ll do one last morning harbor survey with Wildlife Sense Kefalonia, our marine conservation partner to wrap up our service component. Then, we’ll spend the afternoon exploring the island’s charming capital city. Wander the lively main square and down its iconic flagstone streets. Discover architectural wonders that date back to the 15th century, take an authentic Greek cooking lesson and savor the delicious dinner you will craft by hand. Kefalonia’s residents are known to be the friendliest and wittiest of Grecians. Enjoy this last day interacting with locals who are always ready with a smile, a helping hand and even a joke!
DAYS 9-10: LEFKADA
Leaving Kefalonia, we will travel the way the Greeks do to Lefkada—cruising by ferry over the turquoise Mediterranean waters. Our next island is one of Greece’s hidden treasures.
We will have a private boat tour of the hidden side of Lefkada. Out on the water we will visit gorgeous beaches, swim in the inviting water, and admire the towns along the seaside. Our evenings in Lefkada will be spent enjoying the vibrant island sunsets, feasting on delicious dinners at local restaurants and shopping and strolling the white washed streets. Next, visit the mystical Delphi, home to the Oracle that initiated the story of Oedipus. This mysterious and spiritual place will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on you.
DAYS 11-13: DELPHI > ATHENS
Then it’s off to the big city – we’ll journey towards Athens with a stop along the way at the infamous Delphi, home to the Oracle that initiated the story of Oedipus. This mysterious and spiritual place will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits.
Once in Athens we’ll go back in time almost 4,000 years to where western civilization was born and new ideas about philosophy, government, and democracy thrived. We’ll stroll through some of the best neighborhoods in Athens, and end our first evening with an incredible Greek feast in the heart of the historical center with live music and an authentic Greek atmosphere. The next day will be filled with culture and history. Stand atop the magnificent Acropolis and imagine ancient Greek life as it was thousands of years ago as you marvel at the architectural wonder of the Parthenon. Return to the modern part of the city and wander amongst the lively markets full of fresh food and authentic handmade goods. Go off the beaten path to the charming Plaka neighborhood, beautifully lit up at night and lined with quaint cafes and restaurants. We’ll celebrate our final night together with a special dinner on a rooftop terrace overlooking the city of Athens lit up at night.
DAYS 14-18: CORFU
The tour starts on perhaps the most beautiful of the Ionian islands, Corfu with an enriching week spent volunteering with a local charity that provides a safe community for vulnerable children. You will be directly involved in the day to day runnings of the sanctuary and support center, where your actions will directly impact the lives of the children. Other projects might include helping out with the animals on their farm or light maintenance work. In the tropical afternoons take time to explore this beautiful island with day trips to Palaiokastritsa, small nearby islands, and the city of Corfu. Swim in the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean or even try scuba diving (optional). No time in Greece would be complete without an authentic hands on cooking lesson. Learn to make some mouthwatering creations and then savor your hard work!
DAYS 19-21: POMPEII > AMALFI COAST > CAPRI
We’ll then fly across the Ionian Sea to Italy. Our first stop will be in Pompeii, a thriving ancient Roman port city that met an abrupt end in 79 AD when the volcano Mt. Vesuvius erupted, covering the town in a deep layer of volcanic ash that perfectly preserved its treasures for visitors today. There is no other archeological site in the world like Pompeii, where you can walk down actual Roman streets, read original 2,000 year old graffiti on the walls, and pop in and out of original ancient Roman houses, often still bearing their original paint jobs!
We will then settle into our gorgeous hotel in Sorrento, explore this charming coastal town, and enjoy our first dinner at one of Italy’s top summer destinations. The next day we will hop on a private boat and discover the enchanting Amalfi Coast from the sea. It’ll be love at first sight with the sun shining above, sapphire blue sea below, and unbelievable views in front of us as we sail down the Mediterranean marveling at the pastel-painted towns nestled along the coastline. With stops along the way, you’ll have a chance to jump into the crystal clear water, swim among cascading waterfalls and in several secluded bays. When we arrive in Positano, you’ll think you’ve been transported into a postcard as you gaze at the quaint hillside town perched up above. Hop off the boat to explore this picturesque coastal gem and wander the narrow streets surrounded by multicolored buildings, blooming flowers, and sweet-smelling lemons. Visit the iconic church of Santa Maria Assunta with its ornate dome covered entirely in tiles. Enjoy the best shopping in the chic stores that line the streets, from handmade shoes and clothes to an abundance of lemon-themed products.
On our final day in Sorrento, we will explore the stunning island of Capri. Go shopping in the ultra-chic boutiques, take a hike around the craggy coast of the island, and enjoy a scenic chairlift ride up to Mt. Solaro, the island’s highest point for breathtaking views and incredible photo opportunities!
DAYS 22-24: ROME
Round out this incredible tour with some time in Rome where we’ll immerse ourselves in one of the most beloved cultures in the world. The city streets of the Eternal City buzz with antiquity around every corner. You’ll be in awe as we transport ourselves thousands of years back in time while exploring the most important monuments and structures. Rome never ceases to amaze with its talent for fusing ancient buildings and streets into an incredibly modern and pulsing city. From the Colosseum, where we’ll envision the bloody spectacle of gladiator competition, to the Roman Forum, which once housed the ancient city’s bustling center and main marketplace, our expert guides will bring Rome’s history to life.
We’ll then fast-forward to the Renaissance, crossing the Tiber to Vatican City and marveling at the massive basilica dedicated to St. Peter. This is the largest church building in the world, and definitely the most impressive. St. Peter himself is entombed beneath its massive altar, and you can see Michelangelo’s breathtaking “Pietà” before staring up at the world’s most famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. We’ll stroll down the Tiber and venture slightly off the beaten bath to Trastevere, one of Rome’s hippest neighborhoods, to see the local Romans in action and indulge in some of the best food in the city, including fresh homemade pastas or pizza “al taglio.” Marvel at the Pantheon, shop on the famous Via del Corso, toss a coin over your shoulder into the Trevi Fountain, and hang out on the Spanish Steps, enjoying a classic Roman night of people-watching in a beautiful piazza. Finish your time in Italy with a spectacular Roman banquet on the Appian Way, the original road in and out of Rome, to celebrate the adventure of a lifetime!
DAY 25: RETURN FLIGHT TO THE USA
Book this Program
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of teen typically participates in this program? What are the requirements to join?
Teens from all over the world join this program! Typically, our participants are culturally curious individuals who are excited to make new friends, experience something unique, and interested in stepping out of their comfort zones and expanding their horizons.
This program is exclusively for students who are currently in grades 9th through 12th and approximately 14 to 18 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are chosen specifically in safe areas and are well suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. We do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities; we prefer to select smaller, family-run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.
In Corfu we stay in a peaceful, idyllic beachside town in hotel-style accommodations. In Sorrento, we stay at a beautiful hotel just a short walk from the beach and the main square. In Rome we stay at an hotel near the central Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore, close to the city center and the main train station, which is well set up for student groups, safe and in the heart of the action.
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for the program.
Do most travelers go on their own?
Yes! In fact, over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that form along the way. When we travel by ourselves, we are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new friends on another TFT program the next summer!
If you are thinking about joining a TFT program by yourself but you are feeling unsure, please let us know! We have plenty of references from solo travelers who had great experiences and would be happy to chat with you about it.
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We ask that if you do come with a friend, you and your friend(s) maintain openness to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students like most about this program?
Students love the combination of city and beach time they get on this program, exploring the seaside Mediterranean paradise of Sorrento and Corfu, the fascinating cities of Rome and Corfu and stepping back in time Roman days with a tour of Pompeii.
What is unique about this program?
Performing meaningful community service in a location outside your comfort zone can be one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives. With this TFT program the volunteer work performed during your time on Corfu will leave you with the memories of a lifetime and inspire you to try out even more service projects in the future!
What is included?
Tuition cost includes ground transportation; accommodation; chaperones and guides; program-related activities and admissions; taxes and tips; all breakfasts and dinners.
Not included in cost (this is not intended to be an exhaustive list): airfare; lunches; visas and visa application fees; personal and medical expenses; activities and admissions that are not program-related or referenced in the itinerary; beverages other than filtered water at meals; participant expenses that are outside of the program description, such as excess baggage fees and damage to hotels; expenses related to unforeseen circumstances, such as transportation strikes and natural disasters.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss the program’s flight details. There is no requirement to take the group flight, but there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is usually chaperoned by a TFT staff member, and it also offers an opportunity for the students to get to know one another prior to the start of the program. Parents are responsible for coordinating transport to the departure airport – however, the logistics team will send out instructions detailing the exact meeting spot and airport point person. For additional information about flights, visit our dedicated flight page.
Who leads the program?
Our staff is a cut above the rest! We seek out two main characteristics in our counselors – extensive knowledge of and experience in our destinations, and a passion for working with teens. Our staff’s backgrounds include living abroad and working in summer camps or other educational settings. Team members are proven leaders and role models, who connect easily with others and form genuine friendships with each student – all while bringing each destination to life.
We celebrate diversity! Our staff represents 49 different nationalities, speak a combined total of 21 languages, and visited 142 countries. Additionally, 80% of our staff lived or worked abroad in their lives. With so many unique experiences to share, you are sure to gain a global perspective.
Our average minimum ratios are one staff member to every seven participants. Each program has one Trip Director with several support staff, depending on the group size. Directors must be at least 25 years old and have prior experience working with TFT.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
Our staff members undergo a rigorous hiring process. They receive the same background check as school educators, an extensive training process to go over all safety precautions and protocols, and are required to be certified in CPR and First Aid. We exclusively hire responsible, multi-talented individuals who are safety-minded and are as passionate about teen travel as we are.
What is the average group size?
We pride ourselves on small group sizes to create a more authentic and personalized experience. Our group sizes fall between 14 and 21 students – the perfect size to facilitate new friendships without feeling lost in a crowd! We believe smaller groups eliminate the likelihood of cliques, and allows for a well-rounded, healthy group dynamic.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Our program dates are designed specifically so that participants can opt to combine trips throughout the summer. When connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the program and assist you in meeting your next group at your new destination.
Families who sign up for more than one program will also receive a 15% discount on the lesser-priced program.
What is the food like on this program?
In a word – delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from Americanized hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!
Italian and Greek cuisine are all about fresh, simple ingredients. In Italy we’ll sample the best of the “three Ps”- pizza, pasta, and panini! Indulging in these Italian specialties for the first time is a life-changing experience, and we will be there to document every minute of it as you fall in love with the fresh mozzarella, warm Italian bread, mouth-watering prosciutto, and homemade pasta. And don’t forget about gelato! After your trip to Italy, no dessert will ever be the same.
In Greece we will enjoy classic Greek cuisine, including the original Greek salad with mouth-watering tomatoes and locally made feta, famous grilled meats and fresh seafood, and world-renowned baklava. After this trip you’ll begin to understand why the Mediterranean diet is one of the best in the world.
Of course, we are always willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do we ever get time to go off on our own?
Our staff and teens are nearly always together, but we do provide the opportunity to break up into smaller groups to allow for flexibility and customization within the itinerary.
We offer free time in defined safe areas – for example, shopping in a market or exploring a museum. During these times, students remain in groups of at least two and are given no more than an hour. Of course, the counselors remain nearby and available. Additionally, a lifeguard-certified counselor supervises the campers any time they are involved in water activities.
Do I need any vaccinations for this program?
We recommend checking with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the destination you are visiting. For more information, please check the World Health Organization’s website. Upon registration, we provide a list of recommended vaccinations that can be discussed further with your doctor. For Specific questions pertaining to the COVID-19 vaccine, click here.
Do I need to bring anything special for the community service portion of the program?
Summer in Greece is known for its sunshine, which makes beach days beautiful, but working a bit more tiring. Please be sure to bring a water bottle and hat for our service days, as well as clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
What kind of visa do you need for this trip?
Any US citizen that enters Europe is automatically granted a free 90-day tourist visa.
When joining a TFT trip from outside of the US, please be sure to check your country’s specific visa requirements.
Do I need to speak the language?
No, our skilled staff members will help you get around and even teach you a few fun phrases!