About My Study Abroad Program
Major/Minor: Biology and Global studies double major, writing minor
Program: College Year Athens summer and spring semester
Location: Athens, Greece
Term: Spring 2021
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
To be completely honest, taking classes online from Athens sounded a lot better than taking them online from my parents' living room. I had already caught the travel bug, and was planning on studying abroad my whole junior year. When COVID happened, countries of destination were limited. I chose Greece because I had never lived abroad in Europe before, and welcomed the new destination and difficult language as a challenge to get to know the people and culture.
What did you learn about yourself?
While in Athens, I tried my hardest to build a little community of people. I introduced myself to the neighbors, the local bakery and cafe owner, the faculty and staff of CYA, as well as regulars I saw all over the city. I interned with Athens Insider Magazine, giving me a chance to start a "Humans of Athens" feature in the magazine. I learned a lot about myself through talking with strangers on the street - doctors, musicians, local shop owners, street artists, and other students.
What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
I really enjoyed the field study trip that we took as a group at the end of the semester. Usually the program hosts over a hundred students, but there were only 30 of us. We had our own little CYA family. We spent a week traveling around northern Greece on charter buses, seeing museums and cities that we had studied during the semester. When people travel to Greece, they don't usually think of the vineyards, farmlands, and ancient ruins buried North. We spent our fair share of time in the islands as well, but that bus trip was a unique experience that CYA always does with students!
What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
My best advice is to jump. Fully immerse yourself wherever you are. Walk the streets of your new home until your feet ache. Knowing the area and being known by the people that live there makes it that much more comfortable. Eat when they eat, cook what they cook, make friends who you can barely communicate with at first. It is a short experience relative to the rest of your college life, so take advantage while it lasts!