About My Study Abroad Program
Program: College Year in Athens
Location: Athens, Greece
Term: Summer 2021
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
As a first generation college student, I came into Carolina with the goal of studying abroad. I desired to have a global experience that would change my life, broaden my perspective, and increase my self- and cultural awareness. I also chose to study abroad because I really wanted to see life outside of the United States and visit the cities and landmarks that I read about in class. In terms of selecting my program, I had a few requirements that helped narrow down my search. I knew that I needed a low-cost summer program in order to graduate on time and College Year in Athens (CYA) was perfect!
What did you learn about yourself?
Normally I would describe myself as introverted, however, this experience showed me that I am more adventurous than I thought. I would find myself walking around the city of Athens by myself, taking in the architecture, culture, people, etc. Also, I am not much of a nature lover or hiker but I hiked to the Temple of Poseidon atop Mount Kalavria on the island of Poros. It was extremely hot and very tiring but reaching the top further exemplified a new, adventurous side of me.
What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
One of my favorite memories from my summer with CYA was visiting the Temple of Apollo on the island of Naxos. I was surrounded by vibrant, cerulean blue water and the wind provided a cool breeze that contrasted the 90 degree weather. I remember looking out towards the vast Aegean Sea and feeling so much peace and excitement to be in Greece!
What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Don't be afraid to reach out to people, whether it be peers or advisors in your program, to ask questions. Try to plan ahead as much as possible to be prepared for uncertain situations (i.e., "plan for the best but prepare for the worst"). Prioritize your mental health during or after you face uncertain situations.
How do you identify?
Student of color, First Generation College Student, Covenant Scholars, Scholarship Recipient, Rural County Resident
Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
My advice to students of color would be to bring your own hair care products or get your hair styled in a low manipulation protective style because they don't have hair products specifically for black people hair. For Covenant Scholars, Rural county residents, and Scholarship recipients my advice would be to budget your money wisely. Try to find low-cost or no-cost enjoyable activities. Don't buy coffee and eat out everyday because it does add up but you should treat yourself every once in a while. For first generation college students this is more than likely your first time out of your home country. Lean on your program advisors, ask as many questions as you can, do research on your prospective study abroad country, always stick with your group, and make sure to engage in activities that support your mental health.
If you faced any challenges abroad, where could you turn to get the support you needed?
While I didn't face any identity-related challenges, CYA had designated staff members to counsel us if we faced any challenges, whether it be identity related, financial challenges, etc. Therefore, if I ever faced any challenges I knew directly who to go to in the CYA office.