IPO News

Sorrento’s Sant’Anna Institute: An Incredible Study Abroad Opportunity in Italy

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Author: Kimberly Stender, Executive Assistant to Dr. Kalpen Trivedi, Vice Provost for Global Affairs & Director

I recently travelled to the picturesque early-Medieval city of Sorrento on a site visit to the Sant‘Anna Institute, a program on Italy’s stunning Amalfi Coast. The purpose of a site visit is to vet the caliber of academic programs, condition of the campus facilities, and the community’s culture and safety.  More on the Sant’Anna Institute later - spoiler alert - this school is incredible!

Perched high upon jagged cliffs that plummet into the Bay of Naples with the celebrated yet notorious volcano Vesuvius (you recall the story of Pompeii) in the distance, the enchanting harbor town of Sorrento is a well-kept secret compared to its congested rival, Florence. Whether you arrive by ferry or train, you are greeted by the intoxicating scent of rosemary, lemons, and the sea. The comforting sound of church bells and the buzz of motor scooters awaken your senses. One can easily understand why Odysseus found it nearly impossible to ignore the cries of the mythological Sirens as he sailed just off the coast centuries ago.

Although considered a “city”, Sorrento is a small but bustling town that oozes Italian history, charm, and beauty. Picturesque town squares, classic architecture, great restaurants, luxury hotels and shops, museums, ancient churches, and the most breathtaking views make Sorrento one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Art, music, fashion, cuisine, and culture saturate Sorrento. I completely understand why the rich and famous flock to Sorrento each summer. In addition, the equally charming towns of Positano, Amalfi, and Salerno are easily accessible by bus, and the enchanted island of Capri is just off the coast.

Sorrento caters to pedestrians. There is a main street lined with shops and restaurants and a maze of narrow streets. At night, these areas bustle with tourists and locals. Everyone greets each other warmly! Sorrento is very clean and conveys a sense of safety.

And now, some info about the Sant’Anna Institute!

Surrounded by lush gardens, the Sant’Anna Institute was founded nearly 25 years ago and is in what was once a convent in a quiet residential corner overlooking the Bay of Naples. It is just steps from the heart of the town and all its offerings.  

Bright and modern classrooms are cooled by ocean breezes although a modern HVAC system runs throughout the ADA accessible building. Staff and faculty are always on site. The school has everything necessary for academic success – engaging faculty who conduct classes in English, labs with SMART boards; library and art and dance studios; tutoring sessions and weekly reflection meetings. A vast variety of classes is offered including Marine Biology, Art History, Archeology, Business Studies, and Volcanology (once again Vesuvius takes center stage). Gender and European Literature and the History of the Mafia are very popular courses! Academic and extracurricular activities provide a cultural deep dive. Independent study, honors research projects, and experiential learning opportunities abound. Internships are available in hotel & tourism management, marine conservation, and zoology, which speak to the strong partnerships with local businesses.

Sant’Anna offers a modern kitchen, laundromat, large terraces overlooking the sea (picture yourself participating in a study session or yoga class). Students can elect to stay in dorms, shared apartments or with host families. Students enjoy local food and gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian options are available. Counselors, emergency services and a hospital are nearby for students who find themselves in distress. Other critical program components include Sant’Anna’s approach to JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) and dedication to foster an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ students. In addition, the LEaD Program prides itself on promoting leadership, engagement, and professional development.

The students we met were making the most of their study abroad experience. The cohort was friendly and diverse in many ways. They praised staff and faculty for being supportive. Students noted the integrity of the academic and extracurricular programs and the availability of internships and individual research projects. They spoke candidly about the initial language barrier and some common mistakes they made when they first arrived, and how they overcame homesickness and the anxiety that comes with it.  The students were grateful for the close-knit group at Sant’Anna Institute and looked forward to more adventures throughout the semester.

So, if you are looking for a great study abroad experience in Italy, the Sant’Anna Institute just may be the place for you! Sant’Anna truly is a remarkable place to learn and live!

Learn more about Sant'Anna Institute!

classroom of the Sant'Anna Institute kitchen at Sant'Anna Institute
kitchen at Sant'Anna Institute