See the world, see yourself Past Review

By (Architecture, SUNY - College of Technology at Alfred (Alfred State University)) for

Sant'Anna Institute: Sorrento - Live, Learn and Immerse in Italy

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
A new passion for life.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I've never had such an energetic and passionate group of professors. The workload is considerably less in terms of homework and lengthy assignments compared to American universities. However, I feel this is a huge benefit. Rather than feeling rushed to work through several sections of study, we had time to truly embrace that which we had learned.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Christiana, Olga, and the rest of the Sorrento Lingue staff did an outstanding job from the moment we arrived. I could spend a day listing the field trips, dinners, and cultural events they helped organize for us to make our stay with them as welcoming as possible.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Several of us shared an inn right in the heart of Sorrento. We found ourselves right at home. The rooms were small to share, but it didn't take long to realize there wasn't much of a reason to be in our rooms other than eating or sleeping.

* Food:

I don't think there is such a thing as a bad meal in Italy. Being exposed to such a sustainable form of local agriculture has forever changed my dietary and shopping habits back here in the States. There are many incredible restaurants in Sorrento. One of the wonders is discovering it yourself, the hardest decision is where to go first!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

From the moment we arrived, I was fascinated with the culture, the people, the food, the atmosphere, everything Italy. I really took "soaking it all in" to another level during my time in Sorrento. The traditions for Easter celebrations are wildly different than the pastel eggs and bunnies we are used to. We literally climbed a volcano on our trip to Mt. Vesuvius. Exploring the buried city of Pompeii, hiking the mountainous streets of Capri, finding my favorite cappuccino only by trying every cafe in the city. Group dinners with pizza, pasta, seafood, and always red wiene. Nightly walks through the bustling streets, observing couples, young and old, talking merrily over gelato while they walk arm in arm. Or chilly morning walks to class, seeing the city come alive each day again. Learning how simple and beautiful life can truly be. It will all be a part of me forever.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I at one point required a trip to the hospital. One of the faculty members insisted to escort me to ensure nothing was lost in translation. The Sorrento Lingue staff became more like family than anything. And that is the type of security that a student (and worry-some parents back home) needs for peace of mind while traveling abroad.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Studying in Sorrento was truly a one of a kind experience. I have met several other study whom studied abroad in larger cities in Italy, as well as the rest of Europe, and they never seemed quite as satisfied as I am with my experience. Sorrento is somewhat isolated from the larger, heavily-touristic cities. This masked our exposure to other English-speaking people, letting us become even more involved with the true Italian culture. Most locals did speak some, if not much English, so we were never completely helpless. Ordering meats and cheese at the deli was one of my first true Italian experiences. Most shopkeepers would laugh and then we would proceed to break down the language barrier through broken Italian, partial English, and many hand gestures. Other times, I might have gone to a cafe and ordered in Italian, being very proud of myself, only to find that the barista would answer me in English. While I was practicing my Italian, they would practice their English. I feel it was a bond of mutual respect between two different cultures, and simple things like ordering "un cappuccino per favore" will be life-long memories.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I'll choose the words of my professor on the first morning of class: "Keep the eyes of a child, and the mind of a man"