GoAbroad Interview

Serena Vacca - Assistant Program Coordinator

Serena Vacca - Assistant Program Coordinator for Sant'Anna Institute-Sorrento Lingue

Serena studied Modern Language and Literature at University of Naples "Federico II" and also studied a semester abroad in Bristol (UK) at the University of Bristol. Inspired by her own study abroad experience, she joined Sant’Anna Institute as Assistant Program Coordinator.

How did you get involved with the Sant’Anna Institute?

I had also studied abroad, which opened and broadened my mind and my view of the world. After graduating, I desired to work in a field that put into practice my language skills, and I was fortunate enough to come across Sant’Anna, which was the perfect match! I became the Assistant Program Coordinator where I help coordinate both the study abroad as well as the Italian language programs that Sant'Anna offers. 

SantAnna Institute Staff at a Study Abroad Fair Table

Serena with other staff at a fair.

Why do you think students should choose study abroad programs through the Sant'Anna Institute?

First of all, because we are the “authentic Italy”. Rarely have any programs offered the student an opportunity to experience the unique culture, customs, and climate of southern Italy. But more importantly, at Sant’Anna, we do our very best to fulfill the expectations of our students; from making them feel at ease when arriving to a new place to excellence in academics and cultural experiences. Our staff is like a family, and our mission to make each and every student feel apart of our family before, during, and after their abroad experience. 

What are the key things students take home with them from programs at Sant'Anna Institute?

Academic excellence and knowledge in their field of study, but also they will gain a better perspective on Italian culture and authenticity.

What program attracts the most students?

The summer program, because our location on the sea allows students to study, learn, and get credits while enjoying a summer in a sea resort town. 

What is one place you suggest students visit while studying in Sorrento?

The excavation site of Pompeii and the island of Capri. 

What is a typical day like for a Sant'Anna Institute student?

Class in the morning at Sant’Anna Institute. Field trip in the afternoon with the Archaeology professor, then watching the sunset on the beach while tasting a real pizza. 

What does Sant'Anna Institute do to help students further explore the culture and help them feel more at home?

We organize field trips to explore the surroundings, cooking classes, events at Sant’Anna, meeting with locals, and we let them stay with Italian families that become their second families. We make them feel at home and Sant’Anna as well becomes another family for them.

What are the biggest difficulties your students face? How do you help provide them with the support they need to overcome difficulties?

Adapting to a new culture is often difficult, but also money problems are always present. We help them with grants and scholarships. Also, they sometimes find it difficult to make friends with locals since they tend to stay with other international students, therefore we organize meetings and events here at Sant’Anna with locals and Italian students.

How does Sant'Anna Institute ensure the safety of all students?

Sorrento is a very safe and small town. All our apartments are at a walking distance and pretty close to the school so that they do not have to take subway or any other mean of transportation. Students have three emergency phone numbers of Sant’Anna Staff that they can contact anytime, 24 hours, and also the contact of English speaking doctors available even at night 

What can we expect from the institute in the next year?

Our goal is to always grow and improve. Our mission is to enhance our offerings but also to meet our students needs: we do our very best to fulfill their expectations and we want to give them the best study abroad experience possible. We are planning on enlarging the program offer with new courses and programs as well.