Welcome to Athens
Leaving Cornell was really hard; it’s just so strange to think that I won’t see some of my closest friends for about eight months, and that I won’t see the graduating seniors again for who knows how long (not to mention, I won’t get to see them graduate). I walked through campus with my two best friends on my last night at Cornell this semester, and as I did, I realized how much I’d miss my second home–how much I’d miss walking half an hour from Collegetown to the Ag quad, how much I’d miss “Salad Fridays” at Terrace with Beebee (look Beebs, you got a shout-out), how much I’d miss being just minutes away from any study buddy when I needed one. But missing all of this, I guess, just means that Cornell is something very special to me, and I think leaving it for a semester will make it even more special.
Plus, who can complain about being in Europe for a semester. Uh, no one, I hope.
So I said my tearful goodbyes, went home for two weeks, and frantically got together my visa, traveling bank account, and everything else that you forget you need in another country. (A tip: if you’re planning to go abroad, think about all of this sooner rather than later. Think about how to get a phone when you’re abroad, about the visa requirements, textbooks, exchanging currency, everything. Be prepared! Or you will regret it. Dun dun dun.) Then I said my second set of tearful goodbyes, to the people I love back home, and I started my adventure.
I had no expectations as to what Athens would look like, which made everything really exciting. When I got here, I was greeted by a huge table of food (which was great after 16 hours of eating only airline food) and my awesome roommates. I share a room with a girl from San Antonio, Texas, and she’s really cool; in fact, all of the people I’ve met here so far are great. Sure, I’ve only been here for four days, but so far I really like the people in my program. It’s probably because it takes a certain type of person to leave home for 5+ months and go to a country like Greece, especially with the stigma associated with Greece because of its economy, but all of the people in this program seem to be very similar to me: adventurous, unafraid, open-minded, eager to learn. (Am I conceited?)
Everyone is so interesting and has very unique backgrounds, and as I walked through downtown Athens yesterday with the people in my program, I just tried to listen as much as I could. And I think I’ll pause now to give a word of advice to anyone going abroad: try to start off by listening as much as possible. Listen not only to the locals so that you don’t get lost or robbed or anything scary like that, but to the study abroad students in your program as well. I learned so much about different cultures in just the past few days, cultures from both in and out of the US, and I’ve been constantly asking questions to try to learn more about what brought people here to Athens and how their story is similar to or different from mine.
I’m going to try to keep learning, keep absorbing, and most of all, keep enjoying my time while I’m here in this ancient city. I’m excited to listen to more stories and run around this city with this great group of people, so I hope you’re excited to hear about my adventures! And…I think I’ll end with that today, because I have a pretty intense case of jet lag and I should get back to sleep. But, I’ll post a bunch of pictures below! Enjoy!