Aleena Fayaz
Student Ambassador
Email: [email protected]
School:The George Washington University
Cya Term:Spring 2023
Major:Political Communication, Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies
Anticipated Graduation:5/1/2024

Based on your experience with CYA, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester or summer abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?

The benefits of spending a semester abroad are endless but what you gain really comes down to the individual. Just as with any experience, you get what you put in. The time, effort, and investments you choose to make on field studies, in classes, during internships and with friends go a long way to enhance your experience and truly give you more than you could've imagined. By studying abroad, I've grown more confident in my independence and ability to navigate new opportunities. I learned how to take care of myself and find a sense of home when I was so far away. I leaned into new courses and subjects such as Archeology and History, which allowed me to expand my academic curiosity and learn to learn, not just to be tested or graded. I made friendships that transformed my experience and have stayed with me long after our time abroad. I can't imagine my life without it now!

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

Do it!!!! If you even have the slightest interest or desire to study abroad with CYA, act on that curiosity. Oftentimes the biggest risks provide the biggest rewards and studying abroad with CYA is no exception. Before you depart, make a list of goals and hopes you wish to get out of studying abroad. For some, that may be learning a new language or trying local cuisine. For me, I wanted to immerse myself in Greek culture and form meaningful friendships. I think creating a list of goals helps center yourself during the experience and allows you to maximize your time abroad. Ahead of abroad, I had quite possibly every fear imaginable. I was so nervous to leave what I knew -- friends, family, school -- but the CYA staff answered all of my questions so thoughtfully and were supporters of me throughout the entire process. Whether it's a medical emergency or you're in need of a dinner recommendation, there is no shortage of advice and help. Oh also -- don't put too much pressure on yourself to pack. Just bring the clothes, toiletries, and items that make you feel like you. Anything you forget you can buy once you get there!

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:

Student of color, Religion while abroad

Favorite food in Greece?

Kebab Souvlaki with EXTRA Tzatziki

Favorite class you took at CYA?

Gender and Sexuality in Modern Greece w/Aimee Placas

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