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Living With Teenagers in Italy

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1Living With Teenagers in Italy Empty Living With Teenagers in Italy on 8th November 2009, 12:11 pm

Information about issues that effect young people and teens living in Italy, including jobs, volunteer work and exchange programmes. Issues facing teenagers like drugs, alcohol, pregnancy and driving are also addressed.

Youth Organisations
There are numerous Boy and Girl Scout (Il Corpo Nazionale Giovani Esploratori ed Esploratrici Italiani/CNGEI) groups in Italy.

For the Boy and Girl Scouts in Italy (CNGEI) website: Click here (in Italian)
Secondary school
Attendance at lower secondary school (scuola media) is mandatory for all children between the ages of 11 and 14. At the end of the third year, pupils take a standard examination consisting of written papers in Italian, as well as exams in mathematics, science and a foreign language. An oral exam is also administered in all subjects except religion. Successful students are awarded their lower secondary school diploma (diploma di licenza media) and move on to upper secondary school.

Upper secondary school
There are two categories of upper secondary school: the liceo (like a British grammar school or American high school), which is more academic in nature, and an istituto, which is essentially a vocational school. For the first two years of upper secondary school all students use the same state-mandated curriculum of Italian language and literature, science, mathematics, foreign language, religion, geography, history, social studies and physical education. Specialised courses (indirizzi) begin in the third year of upper primary school. In order to received the upper secondary school diploma (diploma di maturità), students must take and pass written and oral exams. The upper secondary school diploma is generally recognised as a university entrance qualification, although it is best to check with the pertinent university for acceptance guidelines.

For further information, see the INFOrmation Page: Education & Schooling in Italy
Teens who decide university is not for them generally enter an apprenticeship (apprendistato) or obtain vocational training. Apprenticeships give young adults on-the-job training and additional education. Generally half of each day is spent on practical training and half in theoretical training at a training facility. Apprenticeships generally last from 18 months to four years and include cooking, carpentry, beauty treatments, various types of mechanics and agriculture. Apprentices earn 80 percent of what a fully-qualified worker does, though this amount increases with experience, and they are entitled to the same holiday benefits. Most employers will pay for schooling and transportation.

A combined training and work contract (contratto di formazione lavorativa/CFL) is another option for young adults. Employers train the employee for a specific professional qualification as part of a one- or two- year employment contract. Employment is not guaranteed after the training period. During training, the government pays insurance contributions.

Exchange Programs
Within the European Union and beyond there are plenty of study exchanges for young people.

The European Youth Portal has more information on finding opportunities in Italy and elsewhere: Click here
The Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs has information regarding internship opportunities with the Ministry, the EU and other international organisations.

For further information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Click here
Volunteer Work
Voluntary work is popular and often allows young people to gain valuable work experience. AFSAI (Associazione per la Formazione, gli Scambi e le Attività Interculturali) promotes intercultural understanding through exchange programs and youth volunteerism.

For the AFSAI website: Click here
The European Youth Portal is also a good source of information on volunteer opportunities and provides links to organisations looking for voluntary workers in and outside Italy.

For the European Youth Portal website: Click here
Additional information on volunteer work worldwide can be found by contacting the International Voluntary Service (IVS): Click here
Teens under the age of 15 are not allowed to work in Italy.

Adolescents over the age of 15 are allowed to work provided that they are declared fit for the work tasks after a medical examination.

Teen Health
At 14 to 15 years of age, teens need to receive the diphtheria and tetanus booster vaccine (vaccino difto-tetanico-pertossico acellulare per adulti).

Alcohol, smoking and drug use
The legal drinking age in Italy is 16, though many young people drink wine with family meals at an earlier age. Wine is generally considered an essential part of a meal in Italy and a relaxed attitude is generally taken regarding teen drinking.

Though Italian teens drink as frequently as their European counterparts, they binge-drink much less than teens in Great Britain, Germany, Spain and Denmark. The 2003 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs survey found that 34 percent of Italian teens aged 15 to 16 binge-drink. This compares to 54 percent of teens in Great Britain, 22 percent of American teens, 57 percent of German teens and 28 percent of teens in France. It is believed these figures reflect that it is less socially acceptable to be drunk in Italy than in many other countries.

As many Italian teens smoke cigarettes as in other European countries, though the use of marijuana and hashish is higher than average in Italy.

Drug use by teens in Italy is generally at the same rate as in other European countries, though research suggests there may be a growing cocaine problem in the larger cities in Italy. 1.1 per cent of people between the ages of 15 and 34 admit to having used cocaine "at least once in the preceding month." Almost all cocaine use occurs in this age group.

Italy has reduced teenage birth rates by at least 75 percent in the last 30 years. In fact, Italy has a lower teen birthrate than every other nation (except South Korea) included in the 2001 UNICEF study, "Teenage Births in Wealthy Nations".

The poorer, southern areas of Italy have the highest rates of teen pregnancy and birth in the country. It is worth noting that more than 50 percent of teenage births in Italy are to married teenagers.

Abortion is legal in Italy. In the case of an unwanted pregnancy, females under 18 years of age must have the consent of a parent or guardian, or the decision may be deferred to a judge. The father of the fetus does not need to give his authorisation for the termination. Qualified physicians may choose to refuse to perform an abortion based on the grounds of the Conscience Clause.

For further information, see the INFOrmation Page: Termination of Pregnancy and Abortion in Italy
Driving Licences
Drivers of a moped or motorcycle with a 50cc engine must be at least 14 years old and must pass an exam (Il Patentino) and carry with them the Certificate of Aptitude (Certificato di Idoneità). After a few hours tuition, they must complete a 30-minute test, with a maximum of 4 mistakes. Note: only Italian residents are entitled to take this test.

There are several types of driving licence in Italy: A, A1, B, C, D and E. A licence for driving a passenger car is the licence B (Patente B). In order to obtain the Patente B a person must be at least 18 years old and be in a suitable physical condition (a medical certificate is required for eyesight, mental and physical condition).

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