Southern Italy: A Study-Abroad Alternative

It is ‘the road less traveled’ to experience the unique culture, customs and climate of southern Italy.  Many students fail to realize that choosing the city within the country that you want to study in is even more important than choosing the country.  Just like studying outside of Sydney, London, Paris, or New York City offers very diverse experiences to visitors of these countries, studying outside of Rome or Florence offers students special advantages to learning and living in Italy.

Mt. Vesuvius

Mt. Vesuvius View From The Town of Vico Equense

In addition, Italy is a young country made up of distinct regions.  This often means that driving only two hours from one place will bring you to a very different cultural atmosphere.  With these regional differences also comes significant differences in Italian cuisine.  For example, Italy’s north is more known for rice dishes as the south is more famous for pasta dishes.  The north is more influenced by globalization, including food processes, while the south remains true to Italy’s reputation of focusing on the quality of the ingredients. The cost of living and traveling is cheaper in southern Italy.

In the south, you will meet friendly, gracious people, and experience southern hospitality; Italian style.  The climate is consistently mild and warm.  The south is full of cliff hanging villages overlooking the crystal blue Mediterranean sea.  Since there are less programs in the south of Italy, it means less students and a more customized and attentive learning experience.  You will also find less American language and cultural influences. The pace of life is slower, the lifestyle is more laid back.  People will be more willing to communicate with you instead of brushing you off as a simple tourist.

Faraglioni di Capri

Faraglioni di Capri

The terrain and ancient history in southern Italy offers unique courses of study.  Perhaps you are studying marine biology, the unique environment on the Mediterranean sea will offer you a unique perspective in your course of study. In Sorrento, for example, it is better to study archaeology because you are close the Greek cities of Paesum and Cuma, the Roman cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Puteoli; the Renaissance and Baroque architecture of Naples and the traditional Mediterranean townscapes of the Amalfi Coast including Sorrento itself! Or maybe you are studying hospitality where the southern region allows students practical experience in the tourism industry but in small, family run establishments.

Summary of advantages of studying and living in southern Italy:

– Set yourself apart from your peers who are studying in big cities, without losing the opportunity to visit these places!

– Take advantage of the opportunity for genuine cultural immersion and greater language learning.

– Enjoy a milder climate, especially during winter months!

– Experience less tourism, smaller programs and classes more fitting to your academic and personal needs.

– Choose from a diverse range of studies.

Be unique and study in southern Italy!

This post was submitted by Dr. Cristiana Panicco, the Director of Sant’Anna Institute-Sorrento Lingue (SASL) in Sorrento, Italy.  She is from Turin, in northern Italy, but fell in love with Sorrento and started Sant'Anna Institute (SASL) in 1998. For more information about the school, contact Mattie Clark, the Communications Manager.

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