Thoughts, Packing Lists, & Memories of Going Abroad

veniceThere are only a handful of days (or weeks) before your trip abroad. It is an amazing feeling, but if you’re like me then there are also a million thoughts running through your head at this moment!
It is such an exciting time! I was nervous and I felt like I had so much to do, I felt like I was not ready to leave my house for over a month by just packing one suitcase and I had never been away for so long.
On that note, we will start with some packing tips!

packingAbout a week before my trip aboard, I started to organize and pack. A MAJOR tip from me, DO NOT pack the night before you want to go. Give yourself 24 hours to stare at your suitcase and think what do I need, or what can I take out.

It is not worth it to over pack! Bring outfits that you can mix and match and I promise that the shopping in Florence is amazing, so you leave space to fill your suitcase with all of the amazing things that you will buy! I wish I left room in my suitcase, I would have been able to bring back more food, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and gifts for other people.

Here are a few things that I wish that I DIDN’T pack:

• Wedges: cute in theory but not worth it at all! In Italy walking on the cobblestones for miles in heels? Not happening! Bring a cute pair of sandals instead or buy a pair when you get there! (Trust me you will want to buy more than one pair!)

• Jeans: You only need one or two pairs of jeans! It gets hot in the cities and you’ll wish you packed more dresses and skirts than jeans!

• Hair dryer: I didn’t bring a hair dryer, but I knew a few sisters that did!
The plugs in Italy are different and even with the plug adapters they not safe to use! Most hotels have them for you, and you will have access to them, so don’t worry!

• Too much makeup and products: I brought my whole makeup bag and that weight and space add up! Pick your daily favorites, and throw in a few things you put on as well. I also brought big bottles of hair products. Really you just need a small bottle (not value size) of shampoo, and miniature bottles of product, like texturizer, mouse, and gel.

And of course there are so many things I am SO GLAD I packed!

• Sneakers: I would walk up to 10 miles a day! Sneakers aren’t the cutest things to wear I know, but your feet will thank you later!

• Scarves: When you go into churches, you need to make sure that you can cover up. A scarf fits easily into your bag and also looks cuter than buying the cloaks the churches give you!

• Plug adapters: These are amazing! I brought two with me to plug in my laptop and my phone. They are a necessity when traveling abroad!

• Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Hats: Long days out and about will fry you if you don’t have sun protection! I brought a tiny sunscreen and it was perfect! And I bought the cutest hat in Florence that I still wear all the time!

• A good weekender bag for the weekend trips: I had a great over the shoulder bag that I would fill up for the weekend. It is not worth bringing a huge suitcase and walking blocks with it and lugging it up the stairs. I had plenty of room in my little bag!

unspecified-4• A big cross body bag!: A small purse will not be helpful when you are out all day! My purse carried my water, wallet, camera, scarf, and sometimes a snack! It wasn’t too big, and it is safer to have a cross body with a zipper!

• A nice camera: I invested in a camera and it was so great to have high quality pictures of everything. I think that our phones have great cameras until we try to print off all of the pictures! That is when you’ll wish you brought a real camera!

So after packing, there are still a million thoughts running through your mind about your flight over and getting settled in. My advice is to stay calm and prepare yourself.

• Check into your flight the day before and throw your ticket in your carry on the second you print it.

• Wallet, License, and Passport. You will think this a million times before getting on your flight and when you land, so put them in a spot that is safe but that you can check often!

• Take your time getting to the airport and get to the gate early! We got to our flights gate an hour before we boarded. It is good peace of mind.

unspecified-5There are so many memories that you will make on this trip. Don’t let yourself forget them! Bring a journal or write a blog like I did to keep track of the day-to-day things that happened. Always remember to take a picture of where you are and what you are up to! I forgot to in a few great spots and I regret it!

You are about to leave to go on an amazing adventure! Think of it that way and enjoy each day that you are on this trip. Time flies when you are having fun and this might be the best month of your life. I hope that everyone has so much fun!

So be safe, adventure, and eat a lot of gelato and pizza for me!

-Alexa Orban

Technorati Tags: , , , ,



Seriously, Go Abroad With Your Mom!

In honor of our Mother & Daughter Trip this spring, we asked Alexa if she would tell us (and you!) what it meant for her to travel in Italy with her mom this past summer. Needless to say, I think she captured it. Now just imagine having your mom AND your sisters by your side. Yep. We know. (Interested? Learn more here.)
Alexa is an Alpha Delta Pi sister at Quinnipiac University and a Select Select Study Abroad alum.

mother_daughterWhen I went abroad for my first time this summer I was so exited to finally satisfy my wanderlust. I could not wait to let my inner foodie come out and adventure through Italy with sisters. Being abroad was amazing and I felt more independent than I’d ever felt. But there was something missing about the trip that I couldn’t figure it out. It wasn’t the lack of amazing food or great memories I made with new friends, but I felt like I wanted to share this time with my mom.
Mother_davidMy mom and I are very close and I felt like she deserved to be abroad with me! I kept texting her pictures of mouthwatering gelato, a plate of gnocchi, pictures in museums, and views of the city. But what I really wanted was her at the table sharing the gnocchi with me and standing beside me while looking at the breathtaking views.
The day that she arrived in Florence was so exciting. We were able to visit all of my favorite restaurants, see so many sites, and shop our hearts out! Traveling to Italy with my mom is something that I will always remember. I can’t imagine the trip without her. I was able to share an amazing week of memories with her. There is something about dining, exploring, and visiting all of the landmarks with your mom that makes the trip seem even more incredible than it already is. We truly lived the ‘dolce vita’ (good life).
Our week abroad flew by, but the memories I made will last forever.
I was so happy that I was able to share this trip with my mom, and I hope you will feel the same way!

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,



Guest Blogger: How to talk to your parents about studying abroad with Select Study Abroad

We are thrilled to share our latest guest blog from Rachael, a stellar Select Study Abroad alum and Alpha Delta Pi sister who will be graduating from Quinnipiac University this spring. This wise senior wanted to share her tips on how to approach your parents about studying abroad. It is a big decision, an important investment, and an experience that you will never forget. So, take note and follow her sisterly advice!
 
Your parents constantly worry about your safety and wellbeing so imagine when you are 3,000 miles away from home. Back packing through Europe isn’t something that thrills many parents, but what about studying abroad? If they’re still nervous here is a way to help you find a destination that gives you a home-away-from-home vibe without freaking your parents out. Continue reading…

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,



Guest Blogger: An Italian Scrapbook Masterpiece

We are accustomed to keeping business cards, tickets, napkins and every imaginable scrap from our travels. Some of our favorite finds we unearthed thanks to this extensive collection. But our efforts pale in comparison to those of our Guest Blogger, Jane’s. After spending the summer in Florence with Select Study Abroad, she put together what is nothing less than a work of art; a visual explosion of all the amazing memories from our summer together. Now, because we asked very very nicely, she has been so kind as to let us display this masterpiece. Below, see some of the amazing pages from her scrapbook with descriptions of the themes that inspired each one. Keep in mind that we are only seeing a small portion of what she made. It is a testament to an absolutely amazing summer that, thanks to her generosity, we can now enjoy as well! Thank you Jane!
Let the preview begin!
Continue reading…

Technorati Tags: , ,



Guest Blogger: Jane’s Ultimate Italian Watermelon Granita Recipe

A delicious Italian granita…read on to see how you can enjoy one at home!
Welcome our Guest Blogger, Jane!

Jane was a Select Study Abroad student this past summer and one of the most enthusiastic people we have every met. Before we arrived to a new city she had already picked three places she wanted to eat and had convinced several others to join her. No one was EVER disappointed with a Jane “selection.” She has excellent taste and is an avid researcher. At Select Study Abroad we feel similarly – NEVER waste a trip or a meal. There are too many amazing things and too little time to waste not doing (and eating!) the very best. So when her enthusiasm turned to a little something we call a granita well…she could not be stopped. Not even, apparently, when she returned home! Thanks to her unquenchable thirst for life and delicious icy watermelon she came up with this easily reproducible recipe you can use at home. Granita party anyone? I think we all owe her big time. Thank you Jane!!

As a kid, my dad would take me on gelato adventures before my ballet classes. I loved the delicate flavors and mouth-feel of the gelato – creamy, but not cloying. There was a little family run farm near my ballet studio in Natick, MA, and they made their own gelato from scratch. There were no glaring artificial colors, the labels were in Italian, and the stracciatella, or chocolate chip, had whole sheets of delectable chocolate tucked into the folds of vanilla. I collected the spoons, and a tower of plastic petaled dishes accumulated in the back of the pantry. When asked to choose between a true dedication to dance and my weekly habit, I promptly ended my dancing career. Continue reading…

Technorati Tags: , ,