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

RachaelWe 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…

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Tips for Taking the Train in Italy

Taking_trains_italy

I


t happened again. For the hundredth time.
On a train ride to Livorno a gaggle of Americans jumped on and I overheard some of them say they hadn’t had time to stamp their tickets before boarding. They didn’t seem too worried, I hoped against hope they would get off safe and sound. Sadly, the conductor arrived within 5 minutes and 40-euro-a-head-later, these kids had learned a hard lesson. I felt so bad and was once again surprised at how few people know the ins and outs of train travel in Italy. I have written about it before in our Top Ten Tips for Studying Abroad Part I blog (some of which I will repost below where pertinent), but today I wanted to really get down to the nitty-gritty. Every detail. For those of you who get nervous about traveling, don’t be. Just read below and then enjoy the luxury of train travel in Italy! It doesn’t have to be painful or stressful! It can actually be fun!
Continue reading…

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Top Ten Tips for Americans Traveling in Italy

Florence_italyThere is nothing worse than a cultural misunderstanding, especially if it has the potential to ruin a trip. I find these incidents especially painful in Italy simply because they can so easily be avoided if you’re properly prepared. Every time I happen to overhear an American traveler recounting some miscommunication, I make a mental note. There are, of course, your classic repeat offenders, but there are also some that stand out because they represent the points at which these two cultures differ. Hence, they are the same things that Italians misconstrue when they’re on American soil. So instead of letting another potential mix-up ruin even just one afternoon of someone’s long awaited adventure, I thought I’d jot down ten of the most common cultural disparities specifically for Americans traveling in Italy. Knowing these before you leave will save you headache and heartache, I promise!
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What is in Season: Zucchini Flowers (Fiori di Zucca)

This month I tackle: Zucchini Flowers.
Before moving to Italy I had never even heard of zucchini flowers (aka fiori di zucca), let alone seen one. Perhaps I missed them at the grocery store. Perhaps they were in a special aisle. Perhaps they were too implausible for me to comprehend. Or, more likely, I thought they were simply decorative and not edible and conveniently designed for stuffing with cheese. Had I known this, I assure you, I would have made every effort to find them. Luckily, once I moved to Italy, these decorative AND delicious treats became a reality and one that I looked forward to every late spring and summer.
These yellow and green flowers grow out of the side of the zucchini like enormous claws. When they’re in season, you can either buy the zucchinis with their flowers still intact or, at certain stores and markets, just the flowers. Since I cannot imagine getting through the quantity of zucchini required to yield the quantity of flowers I desire on a daily basis, I usually go for the pre-separated flowers. Quality-wise they are roughly the same and cost less without all the extra zucchini attached. Once you’ve found them, purchased them, and brought them home, the question is, of course, how to make these beautiful blossoms into a delicious dinner.
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Travel Tips by Carrie: What to Pack

travel_tips_by_CarrieWhat to pack…
This question seems to plague many even when taking a trip as short as two days. Imagine a month or even a semester in Italy! I, on the other hand, love to pack. If you don’t believe me, see my Top Ten Tips for Packing Luggage or my Favorite Things series. At the end of my last vacation, I spent the evening with a friend packing her suitcases.
 
One of my very favorite things is the PACK THIS Packing List (see image below). It really is the ultimate travel and packing list, leaving nothing out. Well, okay, I think it leaves a few important things out. There are some items that are rarely included on standard packing lists and that I believe can make all of the difference. The good news is that you likely have all of these items at home already and they are all also light as a feather (AKA won’t contribute to that critical weight limit).
Continue reading…

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