Ciao from Italy!


Ciao from Florence, Italy! Yes, you read that right, I’m in Florence at the moment studying abroad for the January semester. It’s crazy right? I’ve wanted to study abroad for awhile and now it’s actually happening. I’m currently within the first of three week that I’ll be spending here in Italy and already I’ve experienced so much!

First let me start off by explaining a little bit more about my program as a whole before I get into all of the amazing things I’ve done so far.

I’m in Italy through a program you may remember me mentioning in that past called CIS Abroad. If you’re considering studying abroad through a third party program rather than a program hosted by your school I highly suggest looking into them, they’re really great about working with you through each step and any questions you may have and then have tons of options.

While I’m here I’m taking one 3-credit course called Food and Culture in Italy at the Florence University of the Arts (FUA). My class involves learning about the culture of as well as how to make many classic Italian dishes and also how to appreciate wine like an Italian rather than as an American. So difficult right? But seriously though, as you may or may not have seen from my other blog I love to bak and cook and to have the chance to learn how to make some wonderful Italian dishes is something that I’m thoroughly enjoying during my time here. During my time here I’ve also had an opportunity to make some great friendships. Below are some photos of me with the wonderful ladies I’ve been spending the majority of my time with. The photo on the left is the group of us who share an apartment together and we’re a mix of Americans and Aussies and the photo on the right is a group of us who all ended up flying together from the states even though only three of the group actually knew each other before leaving.


On to all of the wonderful things that I’ve done during my time here so far and believe me there’s already been plenty!

The first day was definitely the toughest of them all because I left the States on a Friday night and arrived in Italy via Germany early on Saturday morning so I hit the ground running on about 2 hours of plane sleep. That being said though, it was still a great day what with exploring the city and getting to know my awesome roommates. The apartment we’re staying we’ve found to be lacking but we’ve all agreed that even so we wouldn’t give it up if it meant having different roommates.

The second day was the first day where I really took the time to explore the city with my friends and start to compile a list of museums and sites that we wanted to explore more during our time here. The day started off with our orientations and a walking tour of the city as well as the campus (which is spread around the city). Plus, we had the chance to go to a welcome dinner for our whole CIS group (by whole I mean all 13 of us) which was a great chance to get to know even more amazing people while I’m here as well as learn more about the Italian culture from our CIS Supervisor here, Alessandro.



That Monday was our first day of classes which was definitely an experience in itself. Even though there was a basic class description for me to look at when choosing which class to sign up for I hadn’t had a chance to get my syllabus until the morning of so I didn’t have much of an idea as to what I should expect to be doing in class. Monday might have been the most tiring day I’d had so far other than the Saturday I arrived. I also toured the Museo Galileo which had a lot of the scientific instruments used in old Florence. My class is an afternoon class and I spent my time before class hiking all around the city exploring and then hiking up this GIANT hill to the Piazza Michelangelo so that I could have this amazing view of the whole city. Even though it was quite the hike it was totally worth it.



Oddly enough, even though classes had just started the day before Tuesday was the Epiphany which is a holiday here in Italy that sort of ends the Christmas season. As a result we had the day off from classes and ended up taking a short day trip to Pisa to see the leaning tower. It was a ton of fun and an easy trip to take up about half of our day. We did find however that it’s a lot harder than it looks to pose just right for the classic shots of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. That night we had a chance to hang around with our whole CIS Abroad group and Alessandro when we went to Fiesole for a picnic dinner with a view. We hiked up two different hills (and I mean hiked) but the result was a view of the whole city of Florence lit up at night. Definitely worth the climb!


Wednesday was a bit less crazy as I toured the Santa Maria Novella Church and just enjoyed walking around and taking in the city at a slightly slower place. I also stumbled into another church and managed to witness a wedding (it seemed to be opened to the public). Wednesdays are wine days for class and since this was the first Wednesday we learned all about how to look, smell and taste wine to really learn about it and enjoy it.


Thursday I took the time to have a longer and casual lunch with some of my fellow classmates/CIS Abroad members. Class was loads of fun though! We made tiramisu three ways and also made amor polenta. So much yumminess but it was super filling! That night we took the time to go out as a whole group once again (minus one who was sick) and enjoy dinner together and really do some great group bonding.


Friday, the day I left to start this whole journey a week ago was spent going out to enjoy some delicious pizza around the corner. Class had a different take on it for the day as we travelled around the city sampling the different food shops…I even ate cow stomach! The night was finished off having dinner at Ganzo, the school restaurant with my two awesome Aussie roommates.

Tomorrow it’s on to Lucca!


Bri ♥



6 Jobs to Get in College

Rebecca Slawter

Editor’s note: this article first appeared on the Smart Girl’s Loop.

Smart Girls need a little green. There comes a time in every Smart Girls’ life where she needs to start earning her own income. I understand that situations differ dramatically; some girls start working part-time jobs in high school, while others are fortunate enough to go through most of college without one.

Whatever your situation is, occasionally we need to work less-than-glamorous jobs to get by. Here are just a few of your best options:

1. Retail

This was my torture of choice to get through school. After a year of working as a cashier in a local Hallmark, I was able to secure a sales job making wages plus commission. They worked around my school schedule and the commission was always a nice bonus.

I won’t lie: you will work your butt off in retail. Standing on…

View original post 496 more words

Life As a Student Commuter


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Hofstra University Commuters Tackle Parking

For commuters at Hofstra University, driving to school has its perks and downfalls. One of the main issues is parking.

Although driving to school takes less travel time compared to public transportation, very few parking lots are available for commuters and they fill up pretty fast.

Fifty-four percent of Hofstra students commute and have designated parking spaces. There is one large commuter parking lot located by Breslin Hall and the law school as well as the north side of campus.

Public Safety has been working continuously to improve parking conditions for students who do not live in dorms. Director of Public Safety, Karen O’Callaghan, talked about the concerns students had about parking.

“I think the biggest issue with the parking is that students want to be able to park as close as they possibly can,” said O’Callaghan. “We have enough parking, but it’s sometimes on the north campus and it’s a little bit of a walk for students to get to class.”

Although Public Safety claims that there are enough parking spaces available, the lots that are located across the campus are often far away from students classes.

Senior Djenane Beaulieu, who commutes from Albertson in Nassau County, has to walk 10 minutes from her parking space in order to get to her classes.

“I park on the other side of campus which is the Student Center parking lot and it’s a lot easier because there is always a guaranteed spot,” said Beaulieu. “But at the same time it’s still far from my other classes.I have to walk through the parking lot and through the actual Student Center to go to my class on the other side.”

Students are not the only ones who have trouble finding parks on campus, but faculty as well. Joe Peyronnin, associate journalism professor who commutes from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, leaves his house early to avoid the inconvenience of finding a park in the commuter’s parking lot.

“I leave my house before 7 am even though I don’t have class until 10,” said Peyronnin. “I make it my business to get there [Hofstra University] early that way I know that I am going to get parking. But it also allows me to do more prep work for class.”

O’Callaghan and Public Safety are looking for ways to organize parking on busy school days.

“We always have space even on the busiest days but some of the things we are looking at is the class schedules and balancing class schedules because Tuesdays and Thursdays are our worst days,” said O’Callaghan.


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The biggest problem that commuters as facing not only at Hofstra University but also across Long Island is the trouble with parking. On all campus there is a limited amount of parking space. Student’s continually complain about how much time and effort it takes to find a parking space, and after doing so they are late to class. Additionally, in respects to Hofstra University, traffic jams are another concern especially on Hempstead Turnpike since students from 2 universities and local community members are trying to get home. All commuter students believe that something needs to be done about it, possible creating bigger parking lots or creating more parking areas.

To view the full Storify post click the image above.

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To view the full slide roll click the above photo.
Commuting Infographic

The above infographic provides some info ration about Hofstra commuting. To see more of the infographic click the above link.

Studying Abroad 101


I’m going to start off by making a disclaimer that I have not myself been lucky enough to study abroad however I have been abroad before and I have done all the research for studying abroad programs.

With summer approaching rapidly (thank god) students are looking to make plans for how they’ll be spending their summers. Some students are heading home and looking for summer employment, some are staying on campus to take some summer course and others are looking to study abroad.

For those looking into studying abroad it can be a bit overwhelming. I can sometimes be a planning nut (alright, oftentimes) and as such I’ve looked into studying abroad heavily even though I haven’t had the opportunity to take advantage of the many programs out there. To help those who might be overwhelmed or just need some help to get started I’ve laid out a lot of information to help you get started.

Where Should You Start Looking for the Right Program?

I put this list in the info infographic below as well however I plan to expand on each one in more detail here.

  1. Look into your college’s study abroad program. If you visit the study abroad office on your campus you’re likely to come across a lot of brochures as well as people who can help you with picking the right program, choosing courses to work for your major and planning out the financial payments. Even if you don’t find a program through you’re school they’re oftentimes more than willing to help you find an outside program to fit your wants and needs. Also, sometimes the study abroad offices will hold informational fairs where you can get all of the same information that you might find in the study abroad office.
  2. CIS Abroad. This is the company that I’ve extensively looked into myself. More specifically I’ve looked into their Scotland summer program but sadly due to money and staying on time for graduation I decided against it. CIS Abroad has done a great job, I think, of laying out all of their programs in an easy manner to look through and compare as well as find by your area of study.  For those looking for internship experience they also offer internships abroad which I think is a fantastic opportunity. They also, if you happen to run into a booth they have set up or fill out an online request form, have catalogs detailing all of their programs. If you need financial help, CIS also has different scholarships that you can apply for to help you out. The only problem that I do have with CIS Abroad is that they have an application fee when you apply to their programs that is to me, too high for college students. Of all the programs that are not associated with a school, I think CIS has a lot to offer and I wish that I had the chance to take advantage of one or more of their programs. To check out CIS Abroad you can click here.
  3. IES Abroad. This group has also done a great job of creating an easy way to research the right program for you based on your area of study and location however, I do think that their website does leave a bit to be desired aesthetically. I think that it could use more photos showcasing their programs and the experiences students had. IES also does a great job laying out all of the program information. Plus, they have a ton of information laid out for students who are looking to intern abroad. Personally I think that if you’re looking into a program not associated with your university that IES should definitely be one of the first programs that you try to look into.For more information about IES Abroad click here.
  4. Semester at Sea. This program is a lot different than any other study abroad program as you’re literally at sea. For this program you’ll study onboard a ship as you travel from port to port. Due to the nature of Semester at Sea the program choices are very limited, require the dedication of most of your summer rather than chunks at a time and is also considerably more expensive. However, if you’re looking for a unique experience, Semester at Sea is definitely a good option. To learn more about Semester at Sea click here.
  5. CIEE. This is another company that offers a variety of programs abroad. Of all of the programs mentioned so far this is the website that I think offers the information in the weakest layout. To me the information is just not formatted in a way where you can easily click on different tabs to find what you need to know. If you want to look into CIEE for more information click here.
  6. AIFS Abroad. AIFS has some great programs listed and is fairly well organized. My only grief with them is that it would be helpful if they provided the option to look for programs based on your area of study, an option I was unable to locate. I do really like all of the photos that they have, it makes the website more engaging and I know I personally get more excited when there’s photos for me to look at. To learn more about AIFS Abroad click here.

What Are Some Things You Should Keep in Mind When Looking for a Program?


  1. Academic Credit. This is the most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a study abroad program. You need to make sure that whatever program that you’ve chosen, unless it’s a program through your school, that you are going to get equal academic credit at your university so that you receive proper compensation for the time and money that you put into the program. Even though you may be using a non-school associated program the employees of the study abroad office on your campus will be able to help you figure out the best way to ensure you receive proper credit. This should be taken care of before you leave to complete your program, not after.
  2. Cost. Make sure you’re aware of what your “budget” is when picking out a program and whether or not you need to look into potential scholarships or aid from the program.
  3. Location. There are so many different pleas to choose form make sure that you find the one that excites you the most. Another things to keep in mind is if you want to be able to see other places while you’re abroad and if your choice will make that feasible.
  4. Time. Make sure that the time frame of the specific program you choose doesn’t conflict with other interests.
  5. Deadlines. Most if not all programs have deadlines for various stages of the application process. This is going to include application and application fees, payment fees and any academic or travel paperwork necessary to travel abroad. Make sure to keep up on these deadlines and even better complete each process as ahead of time as possible just in case a problem arises with some of the required paperwork.

What Are Some facts That You Might Want to Know About Studying Abroad?

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Whatever you choose to do I wish you the best of luck and hope that you have a great adventure.

If you have any stories to share or tips from experiences you have please share them with the comments!

How To Finish Out Your Internship


Leaving an internship can be tough, especially if you’ve never gone through the process before. There’s a question of what’s professional yet still representative of the relationships that you’ve made at your internship and is likely to vary by internship as the environments are likely to change.

It can be a stressor because you want to leave a good final impression, after all, these are your future industry peers and you want to start off with a positive reputation.

Though it will vary by situation, thank you cards are always a good start. You don’t have to write one for everyone you ever worked with or interacted with during your internship, just those that you had continuous contact with and worked with on a regular basis. Don’t just use a generic thank you message for them all either, try to cater each thank you to the individual you’re giving it to. Also try to stick to simple cards design-wise. It should look nice but should also look professional like this example.

Not sure what to write?

My roommate gave me some great advice when I was writing my thank you cards in the form of a “formula”.

  1. Say your thank you. You can just be straightforward or you can highlight specific things you want to thank them for.
  2. Highlight a memory. Draw attention to a memory you made there while working with that person or maybe an inside joke.
  3. Keep the connection open. Reiterate your thank you and then make a point to wish them well/success in the future and express your interest in staying contacts in the future.

Saying your goodbye’s at an internship isn’t necessarily cut and dry but thank you cards are a great place to start.

What’s Happening in the Cruise Industry?


The last few years have been rough for the cruise industry. Some of the mishaps that happened include the sinking of the Costa Concordia, the Carnival Triumph fire and most recently, the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas and Princess’ Crown Princess have been hit by waves of illnesses that have affected both passengers and crew.

The above infographic provides data about some of the worst cruise mishaps in history and some of the numbers regarding the frequency of different problems at sea. To see more of the infographic click on the above image.