Samantha, Sorrento, Spring 2012
May 3, 2012

Wow! I can’t believe it’s already May, and the month of April has come and gone. It’s really starting to hit me that in two weeks, I’ll be on a plane back to the States, and I’m not quite sure how to feel about it. Yes, I’m excited to see my family and friends, to start putting into action all the things I’ve learned about myself and what it means to be a global citizen back home, but I don’t feel ready to leave Sorrento, and all the people and experiences I’ve gained here.

Last weekend, I took a trip to a small fishing town a half hour outside of Sorrento. The town is called Amalfi, and aside from being one of the four Italian “Repubbliche Marinare” ( Maritime Republics) and a pretty big tourist location, it is also the town my grandfather has always told me his father was from. I couldn’t think of a better way to wrap up my time in Italy than visiting the town my family was originally from. Amalfi was beautiful, and unlike Sorrento, none of the people I met spoke English. After spending just one day in town, I already felt like I was reconnected with my roots simply because I was speaking only in Italian. And, if I mentioned that my “bisnonno” (great-grandfather) was from Amalfi, I was automatically welcomed into the community with a hug and kiss. The most powerful experience I had in Amalfi by far was visiting the cemetery. I had to walk up 423 steps ( I counted!)  built into the side of a cliff to reach it, but it was worth it. I hadn’t really believed I would find any tombstones bearing my grandfather’s last name, Amalfi seemed like too much a place out of a fairy tale to really be the place my family hailed from. So I was completely taken off guard when the fourth tombstone I read had my family’s name. And then the seventh, and the tenth. My grandfather’s name was everywhere in the tiny cemetery. I was blown away; it felt like I had been traveling for years trying to get there, and suddenly I had stumbled upon home. It is truly a moment I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Going home will be difficult, there are so many friends and places I’ll be leaving behind, but I think that those things will only motivate me to return to Italy in the future. I’ve learned so much, and grown up so much in these four short months, and I can safely say studying abroad changed my life, and put me on a path to being a lifelong learner through travel.

Samantha – Ithaca College


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1 responses to “WOW!”

  1. Christina, it really DID get beettr. The following day in Venice we wandered into that little church you see below in the rear of our hotel. It used to be the private chapel of the Gritti family. As one might perhaps expect, there were a couple of Tintorettos hanging inside. (Well of course! It’s Venice!) But we were completely swept away when we discovered in a little side chapel one of the most precious treasures on earth. Just hanging there at eye level a metre or so away, without massive fortifications of steel plated glass, was this utterly breathtaking Rubens portrait of the Madonna with two bouncing babes on her lap, one of them St John. I wish I could express how richly sensuous and exquisite this painting was. For that experience alone we considered our entire trip worthwhile. And thank you Ally for dropping by. I know what you mean. It’s impossible not to dream of living in Italy once you’ve visited. Como, Tuscany, Sorrento I think it must be that Italians know how to live. They’re passionate about beauty and really care about doing things excellently, even simple things like baking bread.

    by Pur on June 17, 2012 at 11:57 pm

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SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.