By Mаdeleine Nаkаmura
Study abroad internships offer students the opportunity to develop their skills and gain invaluable experience, but the impact of these internships extends far beyond the professional sphere. As Izzy Suchoff ’24 learned this summer during her life-changing social media and marketing internship in Sorrento, Italy, a study abroad trip can also lead to deeply meaningful, lasting connections with others.
While the COVID-19 pandemic led Suchoff to decide against spending a semester abroad during her first year at Scripps, she returned to the idea in early 2023. “I found myself still longing for an experience abroad. I started researching opportunities and eventually found my internship at Masseria Sorrentino.” Upon finding the program through CIS Abroad, an educational institution that offers study abroad and international internships, Suchoff applied; after a successful round of interviews, she had found her calling for the summer.
Masseria Sorrentino is a family-run event-planning business in Sorrento, Italy that provides a venue for weddings and other events and runs a bed and breakfast, Casa Lucia. “On my first day, I remember my boss telling me how desperately they needed help with their social media; for example, the Casa Lucia Instagram account had not posted anything in almost a year,” Suchoff says.
Over the course of her internship, she transformed Masseria Sorrentino’s social media presence. She managed two Instagram accounts for the business, creating a plan to keep them relevant and engaging with posts that often included her own photography and videography. She also created a Facebook page and photography portfolio for Masseria Sorrentino.
While honing her professional abilities, Suchoff deepened other valuable skills such as adaptability and effective communication. “I had to adapt to a whole new country, language, culture, and work setting in a very short amount of time. Communication in any job has its challenges, but communicating with a language barrier was new to me,” she explains. “Although this language barrier was difficult, I was able to overcome it, and now I have that new skill to help me in the future. The adaptability I learned will help me handle any change that comes my way in my postgraduate career and throughout the rest of my life.”
Above all, Suchoff’s internship was made so impactful by the connections she formed with her coworkers at Masseria Sorrentino. “My coworkers are truly some of the kindest people I’ve ever met, and they welcomed me from the very beginning,” she says. “I will never forget the kindness from my coworker Guiseppe. He didn’t speak any English, but he made me a coffee every single morning while my coworker Roberta helped us have a conversation by translating for us. The fact that these people genuinely cared to get to know me meant absolutely everything to me.”
Suchoff expects that the friendships she gained at Masseria Sorrentino will be lifelong. “This experience was absolutely life changing, and I have grown so much as a person. My parents just went to Italy, and they got to visit Masseria Sorrentino and meet all my coworkers. They couldn’t get over how kind, welcoming, and inviting everyone was to them. My coworkers spent the entire day talking to my parents, showing them around the business, and sharing stories of our summer together. I’m going to stay in touch with everyone at Masseria Sorrentino and Casa Lucia for the rest of my life. These are people and memories that I will remember and look back fondly on forever.”