Abigail Manak
Student Ambassador
Email: [email protected]
School:Valparaiso University
Cya Term:Fall 2023
Major:Social Work
Anticipated Graduation:5/16/2025

A main benefit of studying abroad is learning cultural diversity hands-on and discovering a sense of self. When one goes abroad, especially to a non-English speaking country, it is extremely important to learn the diverse culture(s). This is something as simple as going to a coffee shop, taverna, sports game, etc. It is interacting with locals, going to museums, visiting churches and monasteries. Besides the cultural experience, this is an experience where you can learn who you are outside of the States. This means no labels of schools, extracurriculars, families, (depending on how many students come from your school) friends, and jobs. In my CYA experience, I was the only student from Valparaiso University. I knew no one coming into the program and learned who I was without the labels that surrounded me. I got to explore and try new things. I wandered around neighborhoods, went to the islands, scuba dived, and tried new food. I got to learn who I am and who I want to become.

What advice do you have for prospective students who are interested in or planning to study abroad with CYA?

I have a couple pieces of advice for prospective CYA students. For one, this program is one that provides so many resources for you to explore Greece. The ICOMOS cards and CYA trips create amazing experiences for you to (one day) call Greece your home. Another piece of advice for those who wish to study with CYA is to go places around Greece. Sign up for the activities with Nikki (or another CYA representative). Make plans to wander around Plaka or go to museums (take advantage of ICOMOS). Go in the shops and talk to the owners. Try new coffee shops or the taverna down the road! Be open to new experiences and invite people to tag along! Such as roommates or classmates. While traveling outside of Greece is great and exciting, it is so rewarding being able to know Greece and call it your home.

please select any of the following that apply to you, and that you would be willing to share about your CYA experience with other students:

Dietary restrictions, First-time international traveler, Mental health, Religion

Briefly describe a cultural experience you had that was significant to you in any way.

A cultural experience I had in Greece regarded the Greek Orthodox Church. Throughout my time in Greece and in the Greek Orthodox Religion course, I had the opportunity to visit many Orthodox churches and discuss (very openly) religion with strangers. I got to see icons, ex-votos, hear the priests, etc. It was quite different from my own faith journey but it showed me a great cultural aspect of Greece - and the faith that overtook paganism in antiquity.

Favorite food in Greece?

Gigantes beans and rice in tomato sauce

Favorite class you took at CYA?

The Orthodox Church

Your name: *
Your phone: *
Your e-mail: *
Contact Preference:
Title of Message: *
Text: *
Our company collects this data to be able to provide services to you. We process this data according to our Privacy Policy. If you consent to our usage of your data, click this checkbox.