The Sant’Anna Institute of was our homebase for the week spent down on the coast. It was a completely different experience than staying and studying in Florence. Where in Florence we lived in an apartment a few miles away from campus (a 20 minute walk to campus to be exact), in Sorrento our classrooms were on the 2nd floor of the Sant’Anna Institute and our dorm rooms were on the 3rd floor! It was a nice change that I think we all appreciated. 

While living independently in Florence had it perks, it also came with some complications. First, the kitchen wasn’t fully stocked so every time we tried to cook a meal it was a struggle dealing with missing kitchen necessities. We got by, and we ended up buying a few things for the kitchen, but it was a hassle. In Sorrento, the kitchen was full stocked and even included 6 complete cooking centers with two fridges and … low and behold… ice makers in the freezers!

In Florence, where we lived anyway, there were two grocery stores to shop at that were close enough to carry the items home. Both were good, but neither had everything. So you had to shop at both stores to cover all the things on your list. That made shopping for more than one or two days worth of meals completely annoying. (This is my own opinion of course, there were probably people in our group that enjoyed this – I didn’t.)

In Sorrento, there are markets of every kind on every corner it seemed. I didn’t have to walk far to find fresh produce, fresh bread, and/or fresh meat. That was a nice change. I still had to walk, carring groceries, which was annoying and hard to do, but at least it was all close enough that I didn’t have to spend an entire mornig “getting the shopping done.” 

Another aspect of the dorms vs. apartment life that I found interesting was experienced at the social level. When in Florence, I roomed with 4 other female students, and there was always someone to go do something with. But once we moved to the dorms, where there were just two in a room, the dynamics changed immediately and I ended up spending a LOT of time alone. I’m not one to impose myeslf on others so if I’m not a part of the planning, or specifically included, I won’t impose myself into an activity. I wish I was more socially assertive, but I’m just not. I remember one person in the group complaining about people who just invited themselves along to things and I didn’t want to be “that” person. 

But overall both experiences had their pros and cons and I can’t say if one was better or worse – they were just different.