As my semester here in Sorrento, Italy comes to an end I’ve come to realize that I love my quaint southern Italian city. Prior to coming over here I never even considered the size of the city I was going to live in for four months. All I knew was I wanted to study abroad somewhere in Europe, but I really didn’t care where that would be. To me anywhere was going to be amazing, and I’d built up this fantasy of what it was going to look like. When I first began looking into programs I narrowed it down by countries I wanted to go to. However, what drew me into SAI and Sorrento was the classes I was able to take. Little did I know it would be the best decision for me.
Almost every weekend since being here I’ve been fortunate enough to travel and see so many different places, some of which I’d seen before and others that were brand new. These cities have ranged in size from as little as Varenna up in the Lake Como area to as big as Lonndon, England. The experiences I got to have in these places are unforgettable, but I always love coming back home to Sorrento where I can walk two minutes to the grocery store or fifteen minutes to school. Being in a big city can sometimes be so overwhelming because there’s so many things to do and see that you don’t even know where to start. I know I’ve personally felt like that in some of the bigger cities I’ve gone to. I make this whole list of places to see, restaurants, activities, etc., but only manage to get to half of them because of time and the fact that transportation can be hard. Here in Sorrento there’s no metro that goes through the city because of how easily accessible things are by foot. This has made exploring my home that much simpler.
I never considered myself someone who liked living in a small town, despite being raised in a small town, back home I always felt like there was nothing to do. Oddly enough I find it comforting to be here. I’ve noticed how so many locals here know each other, or at least I think they do, I can’t ever actually understand what they’re saying to each other. Regardless, it brings a sense of not only togetherness, but also a sense of comfort. There’s an obvious community here and it’s helped me not feel so homesick. I’m able to go to the same cafe and the workers recognized me after a few times and now they always greet me. I don’t feel like I’m a tiny speck in a big world here and it’s made such a difference.
This is definitely something to keep in mind when exploring your options for study abroad. Maybe your top city that you really want to go to is too tiny and doesn’t have enough for you to do in your downtime or vice versa with a bigger city. One thing to keep in mind is that you can always go and visit these other cities during your time abroad. No matter where you go, you have to make the most of it. Don’t go home at the end with any regrets because I promise you studying abroad will be one of the best experiences you’ll ever have.
Written By: Grace, Spring 2023 Sorrento Student from Missouri State University