One of the most wonderful and unexpected things to happen to me was joining a Greek organization in college. I didn’t always know that I wanted to be in a sorority, but once I went through the recruitment process I realized just how deeply important the values of scholarship, leadership, encouragement, and service are to Greek organizations. Once I found my home in Greek life, I knew that this was something that I was passionate about.
In some ways, my discovery of international living as something that is incredibly important to me can be described the same way. I had always loved travel, but actually living in Europe while studying opened my eyes to how much I enjoyed living in another country. I studied abroad in the French Riviera during the spring of my sophomore year, and I enjoyed that experience because every day living in France felt like an exciting challenge to learn and grow. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I decided to study abroad again by participating in an internship program in Dublin, Ireland.
Whether I’m on my college campus or on the other side of the world, the friendships that I have found in my sorority are a solid foundation of support, love, and endless opportunities to be a leader. When I lived in France, I received so many text messages, phone calls, and old-fashioned letter from my sisters that were filled with kind messages and reminders of how proud they were of me for pursuing something that was so important to me. Their support from home helped motivate me to continue studying abroad, and I felt even more confident about my choice to study abroad a second time once I found out that one of my very own sorority sisters would also be joining my Ireland program with me. She and I were able to deepen our own friendship through that second semester abroad, and were able to comfort each other when we felt so far away from our community back home. That bond is deep because we were friends studying abroad together, but it is even more special because we are bonded in sisterhood.
Both being in a sorority and studying abroad have been endlessly rewarding in many aspects of my college life. The biggest positive impact, by far, was the genuine friendships I found in both experiences. Through Greek life, I met amazing women who have empowered me and fiercely supported me in all of my academic and personal pursuits. Through studying abroad with CEA, I met lifelong friends who share my sense of adventure, my enthusiasm for all that the world has to offer, and my desire to connect deeply with the people around me. College is a major jumping-off point for the rest of adult life, and because of the special relationships I’ve formed in both areas of life, I feel confident and prepared for anything the world may throw my way.
Zoey B. is a CEA Alumni Ambassador. She is a studnet at Belmont University, where she is studying Business. She studies abroad with CEA in French Riviera in the Spring of 2014 & in Dublin in the Spring of 2015.