When it comes to picking a study abroad program, many people have different wants and needs. Food, language, landscape, and nightlife all can be factors when making a choice. The most important factors for me was that I was in a smaller, more intimate city, that I was able to learn a new language and I could meet and interact with the locals. With an open mind and open heart, I chose Sorrento, Italy and couldn’t have been happier. Upon my return to the University of South Carolina I had an urge to get out and keep exploring like when I was abroad. So, I created a list of tips and suggestions of things to do to fill the wanderlust void.
Visiting Friends: Though smaller than most, my program consisted of people from all over the country. We all carried with us different social norms and different college experiences, but we all related through our excitement to travel and experience the world, and of course, our appetite. Once I returned home, I could not wait to go visit my friends in the cities that they call home! This leads me to my next tip, no matter how far, try and visit your friends! I recently went to visit a friend in Wisconsin and it was an awesome weekend filled with a lot of reminiscing.
Keep traveling: As a senior in college, I am incredibly busy, but I still make sure that I find time to travel. Without having a weekend away every now and then, I go a bit insane. I need to have that time for new discoveries! Even if this means just going a few miles away, it’s exciting to keep busy with going to new places.
Discovering your own city: I learned fast and hard once I returned home, that jumping into my mundane routine was no longer going to be possible. I craved adventuring out of the normal places I would go to eat dinner or grab drinks with my friends. Possibly going to that museum in city you live in that you haven’t the opportunity to do before, or visiting the park a little off the beaten path, anything can help make your everyday life in your home city a little more exciting.
Eating/Cooking the foods: Being a huge coffee fiend before study abroad, I wasn’t really sure how I was going to make the transition to Espresso and Cappuccino. Though it was a struggle at first, I would say by about the 3rd week I had transitioned seamlessly. Now every now and then I find myself craving it over coffee and I recently found a place that reminds me of a European cafe and has the best cappuccino and pastries I have had since returning from Italy.
Keeping up with the language: This one is the hardest, but the most rewarding. Personally, I am not someone that has the mind to learn languages easily. I have a southern accent, I am lazy with my words, and between school and work I am usually not eager to work on keeping up with a language I am no longer using. BUT, it is worth it! Knowing that if (and when) I return to Italy I could hold a conversation with someone is incredibly rewarding. Helpful hint: use apps remind you to practice every day. Duolingo is a great one!
Planning new adventures for the future: i.e. saving: Experience over tangible things has always been the way that I save my money. I’m not saying you have to go out and sell all your clothes, but saving some extra money to go to a concert, visit that city you have always dreamed about, or planning a trip to return to your Study Abroad city is definitely worth its while. The summer before my junior year of college I completely funded my own trip to San Francisco and trust me, it is incredibly rewarding to be able to pay for these experiences yourself.
University of South Carolina
My name is Brooke Horton and I studied abroad in Sorrento, Italy in the Spring Semester of 2015. The time I spent abroad was the most influential time in my life thus far and sparked my thirst to travel. I loved the opportunity to experience many different cultures around the world and to really be able to get to know my home town located Southern Italy. Sorrento truly sparked my interest for all things Italian: the language, the pizza, and of course the wine.