This summer I embarked on a study abroad program to southern Italy for three weeks where I, along with other students from IU Bloomington, was hosted by residents in Sorrento, Italy. I had the best host family a student could ask for! I resided with a host mom and dad and two of their daughters who were 19 and 21. The mother was so sweet and considerate, she always made sure we liked the food and had everything we needed. The father and I connected while talking about his art and photography; he also gave me some tips that I find myself using today. It was nice to have their two daughters in the house, one, because they could translate English and Italian, and two, they were very nice and fun to hang out with. During my stay, I spoke English, Spanish and Italian with the family and I’m glad my three years of Spanish was put to use during this trip! Living with my assigned host family and exploring Italy with them has made me want to study abroad again and for a longer term than three weeks.
In Italy, we toured primarily around Sorrento, Piano di Sorrento and Naples but we also got to explore the island of Ischia, Pompeii and Amalfi. Italy was so beautiful and rich with history. What astonished me the most was how young America was compared to Italy which was centuries old. That was made evident in its architectural composition in that buildings in Italy have layers from the Greek era, the Roman era, etc. going on to modern times. The class and I also saw first-hand how family businesses were evolving due to tourism and the need to provide contemporary attractions for younger generations.
My three favorite parts of the trip were snorkeling, swimming at Regina Giovanna, and discovering pistachio-coffee gelato. This was my first time snorkeling and I already can’t wait to do it again! I loved seeing the schools of fish swim around and looking at all the sea life. On the last day, a few classmates and I went to Regina Giovanna which was a beautiful cove surrounded by Roman ruins. You could swim through a stony arch and reach the Mediterranean Sea on the other side. The hike was beautiful and spending time at Regina Giovanna was the cherry on top to a wonderful trip.
Experiencing southern Italy’s culture hands on, seeing the effects of tourism on small businesses, and seeing Italy’s history unfold with every adventure we took, made the overall trip overall very enlightening. If anything, this experience has made me hungry for more adventures. I want to go back to Italy and explore more; I want to study abroad for a semester or even a year! I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity and to have had the financial and moral support to proceed.