Kathleen GETS Select Study Abroad

We had the great pleasure of having Kathleen on both our Mother-Daughter Trip last year as well as our June Study Abroad Session. She brought an energy that was truly infectious, the kind that can infuse an entire group and bond them together around her positivity and genuine, non-stop laughter. When we read what she wrote about Select Study Abroad it all made even more sense. She showed us that she really gets it. She gets Italy, she gets study abroad, and she gets sisterhood. She gets us:

“To travel to Italy is not merely to enjoy gourmet meals, see beautiful sights, and soak up the Tuscan sun. To study abroad is not merely to take a class in a different country. To be a part of a sorority is not merely to have a nice group of girlfriends.

To travel to Italy is to experience a culture unlike anything you have ever known. You aren’t just eating; for the first time, you are trying pasta that was handmade only minutes before it enters your mouth. You aren’t just drinking; you are tasting wine from grapes that were grown, fermented, and bottled only miles away. You aren’t just sightseeing; you are standing in the shadows of hundred-year old towers and praying in the same churches where great Renaissance thinkers have been laid to rest. This is more than a vacation.

To study abroad is to immerse yourself so deeply in the Italian culture that it becomes a permanent part of your identity. You aren’t just learning a new language; you are struggling to understand the people around you as they speak elegant Italian. You aren’t just visiting; you’re living in here and trying to make sense of a way of life that is so incredibly different from everything you’ve ever known. You aren’t sitting in a classroom reading about Machiavelli, Galileo, and Dante; you are standing in front of Galileo’s tomb in Santa Croce, you are staring up at Dante’s home on via Santa Margherita. This is more than a class.

To be a part of a sorority is to fully commit yourself to a sisterhood. You aren’t a gaggle of girls; you are an assembly of women bound by ritual and rooted in history. You aren’t a part of this for the parties; you are a part of this for the joyous celebrations of friendship. You aren’t here to gossip and chat; you are here to empower, uplift, and support one another. You aren’t just friends; you are sisters. This is more than a group of girls.

When you combine travel, study, and sisterhood, don’t be surprised when you find yourself in the most powerful six weeks of your life. Don’t be surprised when you fall in love with a city so deeply that you feel you must have lived there in another life. Don’t be surprised when you wake up before your alarm because you are truly excited to go to class in the morning. Don’t be surprised at how quickly and deeply you form bonds with the women around you.

Don’t be surprised when, only weeks after you’ve left, you find yourself trying to think of ways to return to Italy with your sisters and recreate a perfect summer.”

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Our new program video is here!

We look forward to it every year. We get together (with lots of tissues) and we cull through the endless footage from the summer (and all the summers before). There’s laughter. There’s crying. There’s the ooh and the awww and then finally, there’s the perfect expression of how much the trip means to so many wonderful and amazing women. Its all the feels all the time. Enjoy.
 

 

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Select Study Abroad June 2015: Week 2 (cooking, gardening, jewelry-ing galore!)

Week two was jam-packed people. We started with a visit to the stunning and not-to-be-missed Medici Chapel, designed and sculpted by none other than Michelangelo. We explored, tested, and perhaps purchased some of the amazing products from one of the oldest pharmacies in the world, Farmacia Santa Maria Novella (in existence for almost 800 years and open to the public for over 400 years!). Then we had back-to-back cooking classes where our budding students made chicken cacciatore, spinach and ricotta gnudi, and olive oil cookies (all gluten free and heart healthy!). We spent the afternoon with one of our favorite artisans, the amazing jewelry maker Giuliano Ricchi. We had a fantastic tasting where we tried several different kinds of Tuscan olive oil and balsamic vinegar along with several traditional Tuscan meats. Finally, our fabulous Alpha Phi ladies spent their first afternoon at the awesome Orto Dipinti (a community run and managed garden in the center of Florence) where we watered and pruned and learned about the gardens amazing herbal salt combinations (packing a tasty punch so cooking requires much less salt) and paper seed coins. As if we haven’t done enough already, next up: Venice!
The Medici Chapel
Medici_Chapel_1 Continue reading…

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Top Ten Tips for Studying Abroad in Florence or Italy – Part III

top_ten_tips_study_abroadOK. It’s time.
It’s time for the final installment of Top Ten Tips for Studying Abroad in Florence and Italy. Seeing as a whole bunch of students have just arrived and are making their way through the streets of Florence and getting the hang of their new Italian life (covered extensively in Part I and Part II of this blog series), I would say it’s time to give them the next, and final installment, of Top Ten Tips for Studying Abroad in Florence or Italy. Wouldn’t you agree?
 
Besides, I was starting to feel bad that there were only really 7 amazing tips floating out there… Well, as promised, here are the final three tips in our study abroad tips series – a literal A to Z on studying abroad (and traveling and living) in Florence and Italy. From what to pack to arriving in style and from calling home to getting to a local doctor, we cover all the fundamental life needs in three easy-to-read blog posts.
 
As always, for those of you who are new to our Top Ten Tips blogs (welcome!), see below for a handy guide to the massive quantity of information into which you are about to dive. Use it to help manage the material. Want to know everything there is to know about international calling? Want to get to the heart of the grocery store issue? Jump to that section now by clicking on the links below! Or, should you so desire, start with Part I and make your way through everything, in order. We love to hear from you, so if we left anything out, just let us know in the comments at the bottom! Continue reading…

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Florence Fashion

Gucci_museumComing to Italy is a veritable fashion pilgrimage. While most people think of Milan as the fashion capitol of Italy, there are many important fashion houses that got their start right here in Florence. Guccio Gucci opened his fashion house in Florence in 1921, Salvatore Ferragamo in 1927, Roberto Cavalli was also a Florentine, as was Emilio Pucci. Understandably, we often have students who come to study fashion and textile design and we are always happy to oblige with various fashion-oriented activities. Clearly there is no shortage. Here are just a few that would satisfy any student of the art of moda and anyone looking for a slightly different angle in which to appreciate Florence as well as this countrywide passion.
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