I chose to study abroad because of my love for traveling and experiencing new cultures. I also wanted to learn what it would be like to live in another country while in college and be able to explore surrounding places because of the ease of travel in Europe. At my home institution, I am involved in Greek life and enjoy spending time with my chapter and meeting new sisters. It is a special experience to be able to have an immediate group of supportive women who embody similar passions and values such as sisterhood, philanthropy, leadership, and scholarship. These genuine friendships and amazing people have shown endless support for those wanting to try new experiences like studying abroad, and I would not have grown to be the independent person that I am without them.
Even though none of my sorority sisters could study abroad with me during this fall semester, I look forward to them visiting me and deepening our strong relationships even while across an ocean. One benefit of this pandemic and the move to more online flexibility is that I should be able to still attend chapter meetings to easily keep in touch with my sorority in Oklahoma and the activities they are participating in even while I am in Spain. I am also looking forward to meeting other Greek life students through CEA while in Spain, and cannot wait to build connections with other chapters from across the United States. I think this is a very unique experience that not many other young adults get – where you are given the opportunity to expand your network and meet other students with similar college stories while studying abroad.
I would highly encourage any Greek life students to look into studying abroad with their sisters, or with an open mind to make new friendships with other fraternity or sorority students coming from different parts of the United States. If choosing to travel alone, I would recommend deciding beforehand how to most efficiently stay in touch with your chapter, whether that is by phone, video calls, emails, or postcards. Having a plan in place will help keep the support system strong even while away from home and ensure a smooth transition to make for the best possible study abroad experience.
Maddie Varga is the Fall 2021 CEA MOJO Blogger in Barcelona, Spain, and is currently studying at University of Oklahoma.