Justin Smith - 2012 Program Participant

Study abroad students in Sorrento, Italy

Justin during his study abroad trip with other students.

What led to your decision to study abroad? 

I had always wanted to study abroad during university, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it work for a whole semester. My major required that I study abroad, but it could be for as short as ten days. Some things changed and the opportunity became available to study for a whole semester, so I jumped on it. 

Why did you choose Sant’Anna specifically?

I chose to study with Sant’Anna because I knew I wanted to be in the south of Italy and I also knew that I wanted to be in a smaller town where I could use Italian. Being located in Sorrento, Sant’Anna fit my two constituents perfectly.

What makes the program you participated in special?

The people and the location. The people at Sant’Anna are some of the best people and make going to school completely worth it because it is so interesting. Then there are the local people that you meet doing everyday activities in Sorrento that bring the whole experience together. On top of that, Sorrento itself is paradise on earth. I have never known anyone who hasn’t fallen immediately in love with the town and the people.

What is something that future participants should know about the Sant’Anna program?

They need to know that they are experiencing something extremely special. Not many people get the opportunity to study in a place like Sorrento, where they have the opportunity to truly immerse themselves and learn another culture in such detail. This is something that should not be looked past or taken for granted. Also, that they will have the time of their lives and will not regret the decision.

What was your favorite part about the experience?

I loved meeting people and being immersed in the local culture. I did as many traditional things as I could while I was there. The ability to travel, all through Italy and the rest of Europe, is also not a bad addition. 

Looking back, is there anything you would have changed about the experience?

Not to be cliché, but I honestly wouldn’t have changed a thing about my experience. Loved absolutely every minute of it. 

Describe a normal day in your program.

My normal day was pretty simple, but became very lovely. I would wake up and have coffee/breakfast with my host mother. I would then meet up with friends to walk into school together. I would be in the school building for a bit in the morning and then I would go to the market for lunch and either eat in the park or take my lunch back to school. I would have class after lunch and then I would go home for a little nap. After the nap I would usually do a little work at home or in a cafe. I would then have dinner with my host mother and after dinner I would either meet up with friends in town or stay at home with my host mother.

Did you experience culture shock living in Sorrento?

I don’t remember experiencing culture shock because I had spent some time in Italy before and I was so excited to be there that I tried to just accept everything and sponge it up.

What impact has your experience in Sorrento left on your life? 

I have the travel bug and realize that there are so many places that I want to visit and so many cultures that I want to experience. I also have so many good friends that I made in Sorrento, both local and from the study abroad program. I will always have a home in Sorrento.