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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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

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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!

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Select Study Abroad June 2015: Final Week (carousel rides, marriage proposals, & beautiful sunsets)

It’s time for our least favorite post: the Final Week Post. It’s time for our adventure to come to an end, at least until the reunion. This year we added in some fun with a very special scavenger hunt which had the ladies posing on carousels, introducing themselves to random Italians, and yes, in some cases, proposing to strangers. We think it was the perfect ending. Which was only topped by a little sunset action up on Piazza Michelangelo and a mouth watering meal under the stars. We will miss you ladies! Come back. Right now.
carousel_2carousel_1carousel_3carousel_4carousel_5marriage-proposal_1marriage-proposal_2IMG_9561piazza_michelangelo_2IMG_9562BWpiazza_michelangelo_1IMG_9616IMG_9623BWIMG_9625

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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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