Becoming Part of an Italian Family

There are a couple different living options you can choose when spending a semester abroad at Sant’Anna. Arguably, one of the most authentic ways to live while you’re here is by living with an Italian family!

Host Families 5
Photo courtesy of: Stephanie Mele

“Living with a host family has to be the best decision I have ever made while studying abroad. I remember the first day we met, I did not know what to expect. My family welcomed my roommate, Steph, and I with open arms. [They] feed us until our stomachs are full and help us understand and learn about the Italian culture in a different light. Over the past month we have bonded and truly grown to be family. It’s so nice to go home to smiles and an Italian home. They look out for us and take us places around Sorrento, as well! I couldn’t be more blessed for the family I am living with!”

—Stephanie Mele


At first, living with a host family can be overwhelming. After wandering around all day in a city full of local people that don’t speak the same language as you, going home to a house that also speaks Italian can feel like culture overload. However, all this exposure to authentic culture only allows you to be more immersed in the Sorrentine life. Not to mention, the food! You cannot get more authentic than an Italian’s home cooking. Delizioso!

Besides the food, the best part about living with local hosts is getting that “home away from home” feeling. The host families go out of their way to make their guests feel welcomed and embraced not only by their homes, but by the larger community of Sorrento, as well.

“I don’t think I would want to have it any other way. Mamma Italiano cooks amazing meals and never ceases to surprise me with something tasty and new. More importantly, I really feel like I have a home away from home. My Mama and Papa Italiano are very special to me. They get so excited to hear about my day and different adventures I get myself into! [My host sisters] Dona and Katia have shown me so many neat places and introduced me to many of their crazy friends! My italian host family has truly made my experience here special and I wouldn’t trade them for anything! I cannot wait until my Californian family meets them.”

—Katie Hibbard


No matter how long you’re traveling for, everyone gets a little homesick at one point or another. A friendly face and a warm welcome at the end of the day can be the perfect remedy. Living with a host family gives you the opportunity to become fully immersed in the Italian culture because you will become a part of a real family within the community. Plus, the insider knowledge that members of your host family can tell you about the Sorrento area will definitely make your life easier in many ways. Choosing to live with a host family may seem like a challenge, but if you step out of your comfort zone, you may jut leave Italy as a true Sorrentine!


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