“Hopping on a plane and flying 20 hours away from home was nerve racking to say the least, but since arriving in Cape Town, South Africa I have been blown away by its beauty. Between hiking the most beautiful mountains, surfing, swimming with penguins, chasing sunsets, or cooking local cape Malay food, I cannot possibly pick my favorite thing I’ve done so far.
However, despite all of this natural beauty, the most beautiful thing I’ve witnessed since arriving in Cape Town is how connected and loving the surrounding communities are. Through my work with non-profits such as Khoisan Women on the Move and Philisa Abafazi Bethu, I’ve seen so many people battling against their difficult circumstances to better their communities. This sense of camaraderie and selflessness is not something I’ve ever seen in the states. Alongside other UF students I’ve helped create a social media campaign for a nonprofit, paint a mural for young children, and draft grant proposals that can be used to gain donations.
I’m incredibly grateful and honored to be in this space, and I’m soaking up every last thing I can. I’ve learned a lot about myself and a lot about our world outside of the states and I’m so fortunate to be able to help these organizations however I can.
My favorite quote I’ve heard on this trip, and one that I feel embodies the kindness and spirit that fills Cape Town is “I do not give because I have. I give because I know what it is not to have.” Ultimately, I’ve learned the importance of finding your community and pouring all the love you have into it. Our world is a scary place, but with our community we can breakdown every barrier. It’s times like these when I become even more grateful for my phi mu and Panhellenic community.”
- Emma Bissell
“I’ve been in Thessaloniki for 4 weeks now and I am so glad that I chose to study abroad this year. Thessaloniki has so much history and culture that it allows you to experience the lifestyle of the people who live here. It’s also been an amazing experience because of all the people in our study abroad group. Many girls are also part of the Panhellenic community and I am so grateful for this opportunity because it brought me closer to girls from other chapters. Traveling around Greece with these girls has made it feel more like home, and now we will always have these memories to cherish together.”
- Alejandra Iglesias
“My internship is under the Court of Jackson County, where I rotate under several judges and officers of the court, learning the inner workings of Criminal and Civil Law. The experience of this internship has greatly expanded my understanding of the legal system and guided me further in my journey and pursuit of attending law school. The opportunities I have received in observing the infinite facets of the law, from small claims and property settlements, to family law disputes and felony trials, this internship has only further confirmed how deeply I want to be a lawyer. Something that has made this experience even more amazing is the support and love I have received from my chapter and The Panhellenic Community at large. The sisters in my chapter from the very first day of informing them of my acceptance to the internship was so encouraging and overwhelming. And the PanHellenic Community has also been so incredible, as I am actually interning with a judge who attended the University of Florida for her undergraduate and law degrees, where during this time, she was involved in a Panhellenic chapter! She has taken the time to help answer my questions, provide me advice, and encourage my goal of law school as a Panhellenic sister. I feel the love in our bond, and the encouragement in these sisterhoods every day, aiding me becoming my best possible self.
- Ashtin Williams