Time Abroad: Fall 2007
Major: Biological Sciences
The decision to study abroad was one I made long before Junior year; from the moment I learned about Cherrington Global Scholars during orientation, I knew I would be heading to England. As you can see from my profile, I wound up worlds away from the destination I had intended to be.
Choosing to study in Greece after my advisor (and roommate!) suggested I pick a country which I wasn’t dreading to go to turned into the greatest decision I have ever made – you’ll hear many students declare that they discovered life while abroad, but I discovered myself. Living in a country full of history, and to quite literally walk on history is an experience that is still indescribable. I woke up to run each morning as the sun rose over the Aegean Sea, and as the light danced through the pillars of the Acropolis it was easy, if not natural, to understand how the Greeks believed in the many ancient gods.
Each day I was abroad brought with it the opportunity to embrace Greek culture – in some ways Greeks live up to their stereotypes, yet in others, they miss the mark completely. My favorite memory, if I have to pick just one, was the day I returned home from the Temple of Sounion (or the Temple of Poseidon) – an incredible temple at the southernmost tip of Athens where Lord Byron composed his greatest poems and after, inscribed his name on a particular pillar – and attempted to open my apartment door. To some, this feat may seem small; however, in Greece, the locks are wondrously complicated. Having created a mass amount of noise in the marble floored hallway during siesta hours in a failed attempt to enter my home, our next door neighbor exited her apartment, walked the length of the hallway, and with her gentle touch took my keys, and opened my door. Trying to thank her in broken Greek must have been humorous for any native speaker, but from that day on, she became my honorary “Yaya” – the Greek term for grandmother. On multiple occasions afterwards I would arrive home only to be greeted with fresh baked treats on the welcome mat and a small note signed, “to yaya” – “your grandmother”. She is one of the sole reasons I fell in love with this incredible country; I cannot wait for the opportunity to go back, and once again kiss her cheek in the spirit of Greek tradition that will ever be a part of me.