As a charter member in the Eta Pi chapter of Gamma Phi Beta for only one semester before my departure, I was worried that going abroad would weaken the new connections I had made with my sisters. On top of battling homesickness and culture shock, I thought I would suffer a terrible case of FOMO (fear of missing out for all my readers who are lacking the hashtag lingo). Spring semester brings many exciting things for Greeks including formal, philanthropy events and prime weather for lounging around on the quad with your sisters. However, during my first week in Paris, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there were three other Gamma Phi Betas: two from the Epsilon Nu chapter at Chapman University and one from the Delta Upsilon chapter at the University of Georgia.
| Sister, Nicolette Moody (Epsilon Nu)
and I throwing what we know.
Although not on my home campus, studying abroad allowed me to meet sisters from chapters across the country -- from California to Georgia! It was comforting to know that I had one piece of home with me even 3,500 miles away. We traveled, enjoyed meals together, shared laughs and even all coincidentally enrolled in the same class. Studying abroad offered me a unique experience within my sorority that is irreplaceable.
| Some of my beautiful sisters who
sent care packages to fellow
But, I did still miss my Eta Pi girls, thank goodness for technology!
Here are my tips for staying in touch with your sisters while abroad:
1. Facetime whenever possible! Although you do not want to detract from your experience abroad, it is okay to set up a call once a week with your best friends. My twin and I Facetimed at least once a week to check in with each other and discuss the semester.
2. Start a group chat. Eta Pi has a GroupMe for all its members. While over 100 girls messaging all at once can get annoying, it’s nice to know you can talk to all of them with the tap of a finger.
3. Send care packages. My sorority sent a care package to every sister that was studying abroad. This was a reminder that while all of us were living it up abroad, they were still thinking of us and couldn’t wait until we came back. It works both ways, though!
4. Send postcards addressed to your chapter’s president full of stories from abroad with the instruction to read it aloud at chapter. That way, your sisters know you were thinking of them while you were eating a crêpe by the Seine or taking in the view from Parc Guëll in Barcelona.
| My twin, JIll, and I holding
our chapter’s charter!
Erin. F is a CEA alumna. She studied abroad in Paris, France in the Spring of 2016.
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