Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kirsten White - Sorrento, Italy - April 6-9

Sorrento is a small, beautiful coastal city on the Mediterranean Sea in southwest Italy. The city is situated on a cliff with narrow, windy roads traversing back and forth until reaching the teal water and smooth pebbles at the shore. A main street on the top of the cliff, lined with pharmacies, shops, restaurants, and hotels, remains busy throughout the day and long into the night. In fact, this is so much the case that the street is entirely shut down starting around five at night, so that families, teenagers, tourists, and even pets can wander through in order to stop for a drink or meal somewhere before continuing on their way. We have the opportunity to stay at a deluxe hostel, a bit farther away from the main street, but nearer to the ocean, which was great. The restaurants near the water serve an excellent variety of pastas, meat, and seafood, so we were able to dine as the Italians do: enjoy three courses over a couple hours while engaging in playful conversations and soaking up the pleasure of good company. Thanks to Linda, Tim, and Hofstra’s network in Sorrento, we were able to conduct classes at the nearby language center called Sorrento Lingue. This institution is designed to compliment traditional high school or university education by providing local Italian students with foreign language classes or providing international students with Italian classes. The teachers and administrators were personable and were pleased when we asked them questions regarding the school, Sorrento, and even the European Union. Moreover, we were able to speak to some of the students there; comparing tests, educational systems, and general lifestyles. I was so excited to discover they all drove motorbikes! Our experience in Sorrento revealed pieces of Italy which we had not yet seen outside of a big metropolitan city. Speaking for myself as well as others, I can attest to the importance of this variety.

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