WRITTEN BY CAROLINE STRACHAN, SPRING 2017
Before deciding to study abroad, I had never heard of Sorrento, Italy. Stepping off that plane in Naples was one of the most nerve-racking moments of my life. “What if no one understands me? What if I don’t understand them? What if I get lost while traveling? What if?”
Well, here I am, almost three months later and people don’t understand me, I don’t always understand them, and I’ve gotten lost while traveling (a lot). Would these things have happened to me if I had been back home in Ohio? Probably not. Expanding your horizons and studying abroad are important. Why?
Sorrento is located on the Amalfi Coast, so going to the beach is a typical after-school activity. Hikes along the coast, lunch on the water, tanning on your balcony… it’s like vacationing for a semester.
YOU HAVE UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES.
The classes offered at Sant’Anna are hands on because of Sorrento’s location. Archaeology students visit sites like Pompeii and Marine Biology students have the opportunity to see a sea turtle rescue facility. My Marine Biology course even had field trips that included kayaking and snorkeling. It’s truly special to learn about something, even as small as a type of algae, and then see it in its natural habitat.
Sorrento is quite possibly the best place I could’ve chosen to study abroad because of how different it is from my home. I wanted to get a different perspective on life, as well as experience an entirely new culture. I’ve had to learn how to communicate with people who don’t speak my language, which can be confusing but rewarding when we start to understand each other. I’ve had to adapt to a whole new way of life from the tiny little grocery store to the color-coded weekly trash system in Italy. Even the size of Sorrento is different from my home; it’s a small, tightly-knit community compared to my large hometown of Cleveland. (Go, Cavs!)
You meet students from around America, as well as Italians, and if you travel you will meet people from all over the world. I’ve met people from all different European countries, as well as south America and Australia! It is very interesting to see how the rest of the world lives and acts, and they are curious to learn about you. It’s crazy that students even from the south or western side of America do things differently from me. If you get out of your shell and learn about people, you’re guaranteed to make friends and grow your perspective.
Being so far away from home, I have been forced to depend on myself and go outside of my comfort zone every day. You’re given a new perspective on your identity and your values.
Sant’Anna offers a unique and personalized study abroad experience that you can’t get from a larger abroad university. I’ve been able to form relationships with my professors, meet people in the community, and grow friendships with some of my fellow classmates. Oh, and don’t forget the insane view of Mount Vesuvius that I see everyday on my way to school.