Sisterhood is Life Changing

Hannah Fritschner joined the Select Study Abroad team two summers ago. She is now our Assistant Director and an integral part of our team. We knew she was Select material when we saw how much she cared about our students. Within the first few days she knew everyones’ names, hometowns, colleges, majors, chapters, favorite foods, and favorite colors. When we asked her how Select Study Abroad has been #lifechanging for her, well, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves:

My college didn’t have Greek life. I don’t have any sisters and I never went to camp. I’ve never done the girl bonding thing. I never really understood why anyone would join a sorority. After working for Select Study Abroad for one summer, I get it. These girls are a lot of things. They are strong and smart, adventurous, fun, and thoughtful. Most of all, they are supportive.

Going abroad with strangers can be daunting. Italian culture is foreign in more ways than one, and though we (your Select Study Abroad Staff) try to make it as seamless as possible, speedbumps are inevitable. From the get-go, though, the girls had each other’s backs – finding common ground, encouraging each other to try new things, playfully calling each other out, studying together, building each other up, getting frustrated at things they would later laugh about. It was like they all knew they were going to come out of this experience with an amazing bond, so they decided to skip the awkward period and embraced the bond immediately. That’s not easy, and I think it’s uniquely sorority.

Last summer we had a few students taking an event planning class, and for their final project they had to organize a community event. They put an enormous amount of time and energy into planning the event and coordinating it with the community. All of our other students set aside their own plans to surprise them at the event and help ensure its success. It may seem like a small gesture, but they all had individual plans for their last week in Florence, not to mention exams of their own to study for, and they all took a few hours to support their sisters. From the first day to the last they were always there for each other.

If you have any doubts about studying abroad with your sisters, don’t. Yes, there can be frustrations. You may get annoyed. That’s true of all relationships. But your sisters are there to help you through the homesickness and culture shock, and they’ll turn your good times into unforgettable memories. These girls made me understand what sisterhood is all about, and I count myself lucky to know them.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,


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.
 

 

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


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: , , , ,


Things we wish we had known about Studying Abroad

Study_Abroad_sistersThere are so many things that I wish I had known before I went to Italy with Select Study Abroad. What is it going to be like? Am I going to have fun? Make friends?
And of course, I wasn’t the only one of my sisters who felt like that!

We all wished that we had known how amazing this trip was going to be, and that there was no reason to be nervous before deciding to go!

Sisters_abroadHere is what some of our sisters that joined us this past summer wished they had known:

M.M ~ I wish I had known not to worry about not knowing anyone going in because I would meet such great people!

S.P. ~ I wish I had known how much fun I was going to have!

B.P. ~ I wish I had known that in just one short month you could meet people who had the ability to change your life in such amazingly positive ways, that would make saying “goodbye” that much harder.

G.D. ~ I wish I had known how exciting each day was going to be, even the little things.

M.B. ~ I wish I had known how quickly it flies by. Going abroad is something that everyone should at least try! You never know how much you’ll love it, until you’re there. And its better to wish you would’ve known, than wishing that you went! So indulge your wanderlust and your adventurous side and go explore!

Ciao sisters!

Sisters_abroad_italy

Technorati Tags: , , ,


5 reasons you NEED to study abroad with your sisters!

Duomo_florence
We are thrilled to share this blog from our newest team member, Alexa. Alexa is an Alpha Delta Pi sister at Quinnipiac University as well as a stellar Select Select Study Abroad alum. She is spreading her Study Abroad cheer everywhere she goes and in this blog, she details just 5 of the reasons why she feels everyone should study abroad with their sisters. Enjoy!

Going abroad is something that every college student should do. When else in your life are you going to have the chance to live in another country for a long period of time, explore, eat great food, and learn all the unique features of another culture? Probably not anytime soon, and lets be honest we don’t want to do it when we retire…
The same thing can be said about being in a sorority! After you join your chapter it becomes comfortable and you never really feel the need to branch out and meet new people. But you have sisters all over the country! You never know who you could meet.
So why not make the best of both situations and go abroad…with your sisters?

Need more convincing?
We have 5 reasons why you need to!

1. The sisters that you will meet abroad are more like you than you think.
Your chapter doesn’t define what your organization stands for, and while your sisters all share the same values as you do, the women who join you abroad have even more in common with you. Spending so much time with your sisters abroad makes you close in a short amount of time. You really start to feel like some of these women are becoming your best friends. And even when the trip ends, it’s amazing to think that you now have friends all over the country.IMG_9224BW
2. Being able to call another country home is easier with your sisters.
Going abroad can seem scary so it’s nice to be with people who make you feel comfortable. No matter what organization you call home, you will always feel at home when you are traveling with your sisters.IMG_9481
3. You always get to throw what you know.
What is the point of amazing Instagrams without a bunch of sisters around you? Your #TBT’s will look great, and all of your sisters back in the US will wish they decided to come with you!IMG_9616
4. You always have a group to go out with.
If you want to explore and don’t want to go alone, you have a group of women who probably all want to go with you! From seeing amazing museums, to grabbing a glass of wine, there will always be someone to go with you.DSC01389
5. Your memories will last a lifetime.
Being abroad is an experience that stays with you forever. When you’re back in the US wishing you were eating a gelato in Florence, you can always text your sisters to reminisce and we bet that they will feel the same way.IMG_8394C

Technorati Tags: , , , ,