Anesu Mukombiwa
Student Ambassador

Email: [email protected]
School: Skidmore College
Cya Term: Academic Year 2021-2022
Major: English
Anticipated Graduation: 5/24/2024

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?

My year abroad was nothing I expected it to be and so much more. I always tell people I didn’t really know what made me “me” until I found myself in a place that didn’t resemble any of the things I had learned to crutch on for the definition of my identity. I think it is in the act of trying to situate oneself in a culture and environment that doesn’t know or represent you at all, that a real sharpening of your understanding of yourself happens, which could be seen as an ‘extracurricular issue’ of our college years, but really who you are and how you understand yourself affects your academic career in every way. It is through being in Greece that I understood better what being Christian meant to me because I was immersed in a religious environment that was so different from mine, or how indispensable a commitment to community is, to my ability to find meaning and joy in life. There are things and joys and flavours and songs that Greece brightened for me, things that I now recognize as integral parts of my ‘person.’ This is a very verbose way of simply trying to say—at the risk of striking a disingenuous cliché—I found myself in Greece, a country that seemingly should have had nothing to do with people like me. And I think it is this ‘encountering of self’ that happens to and matters for anyone who chooses to study/live abroad for any season of life. It was an invaluable experience for me.

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

My advice would be to make as many Greek friends as you can and try to seize every opportunity to be involved with local communities! Going abroad is about getting out of your comfort zone and you will have to make a concerted effort to have a truly intercultural experience—it will not simply waltz itself over to you. So, enjoy your American friends but don’t cling to them! Go to festivals and pop-up shops and flea markets and community centers and talk to someone new. The powers that reward bravery will do the rest!

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, Finances while abroad, Religion while abroad, Mental health while abroad

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

Favorite food in Greece?

Soutzoukakia!

Favorite class you took at CYA?

Performing in Athens

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