After spending four months in beautiful Sorrento, unfortunately my semester of school has come to an end.
Studying in Italy while in college has been a dream of mine ever since I can remember.
I have spent years dreaming of traveling around Europe and experiencing all of the wonderful things the world has to offer.
I am so grateful to say I have accomplished those dreams, but nobody tells you of how fulfilling, yet saddening it sometimes is to achieve them.
I went into this experience with the expectation of exploring the local area, as well as around Italy and abroad;
I thought about all of the things I would see and do. What I didn’t realize was how deep of relationships I would make within the local community.
Not only am I leaving behind a town that I love, but some people that I have really connected with.
There were sad goodbyes with these two women who own a phenomenal sandwich shop that I would go to all of the time, a local bar owner who looked after me and my friends, as well as countless other people who I was fortunate enough to meet during my time in Sorrento.
Sorrento is more than just a beautiful town to live or vacation in, it is made so special by the amazingly kindhearted and generous people who call it home.
My last two days in Sorrento could not have been more perfect.
Not only did Napoli win their third Serie A title after 33 years (resulting in a celebratory night in Sorrento), but I took the time to visit all of my favorite places and have some other final experiences.
Over the past few months I have been able to see Sorrento during its many different times.
I arrived when it was still decorated for Christmas, I experienced the excitement of Sant’Antonino Day and Easter, and I have now seen Sorrento as it prepares for the busy summer tourism season.
During each of these times, my favorite place to go has been the Chiostro di San Francesco.
I would go here very often to write, talk with my family back home, or to just sit and enjoy the calm and serene atmosphere.
It is the place that embodies, for me, all that Sorrento is.
The first thing you notice is its beauty.
Depending on the time of day that you visit, the reflection of the sun against the columns creates beautiful shadows and reflections against the walls.
There are fragrant flowers planted around the middle of the cloister and a large tree surrounded by lush greenery.
The next thing you notice is its faith and history.
The cloister is built on the ruins of a 7th-century monastery and is located next to the beautiful church of the same name.
The last thing you notice is the people who come to visit the cloister. Everyone who enters the cloister walks in with big smiles, taking in the beauty of their surroundings.
This place encompasses the charm of Sorrento, how faith permeates everyday life, and how welcoming and happy the people of Sorrento are.
My last day I spent some time here, thinking about all of the amazing experiences I have had and how the three things I mentioned above, the beautiful places, displays of faith and religion, and the people, have truly affected me.
Though I now have to leave, I hope to not leave all of this behind forever.
Sorrento has become a part of my life that I could never have imagined four months ago, and the things I have experienced and learned have become a very special part of me.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to write these blog posts for About Sorrento about my experience as an American student studying in Sorrento.
Not only did this allow me to share with others my adventures, but it has allowed me to personally reflect upon all of the things I have experienced while living in Sorrento.
Thank you as well to the About Sorrento team, and especially to Pasquale, for being so welcoming and supportive, and for acting as mentors to me throughout this semester.
I sit here writing with tears in my eyes.
Tears of happiness of having the most amazing four months, but also of sadness of having to leave it behind for now.
One day I will return to Sorrento, but for now I will dream of a time when I will sit on the shores of Sorrento once again, staring at Mt. Vesuvius in the distance as the calm waves lap onto shore.
Ti voglio bene, Sorrento. Until I return again.