Jessica Wu
Student Ambassador
Email: [email protected]
School:Mount Holyoke College
Cya Term:Spring 2024
Anticipated Graduation:5/10/2025

I am a Classics major. Firstly, I’ve never met so many peers in the classics, ancient history, and archaeology before. I’ve never had so many opportunities to attend lectures and learn extra major-relevant things in workshops. This semester I truly gained a sense of community, with a large variety of focuses, within my field. Secondly, I am lucky enough to have a professor (Prof Despina Iossif) who is well-connected. Through her, I got my first “academic” “publication,” even though it was nothing more than an essay on a website, it’s still a big deal for me. At the same time, working for the CYA Media Lab gave me more opportunities to write about my experience in a non-academic way. Those writings will look good on my resume. Third, very personally, it just happened that after the holy week, I found myself on the way to converting to Christianity. And it just happened that I started a romantic relationship with a fellow CYAer who is my classmate.

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

You might have, and it’s legitimate to have, a less intensive semester here than at your home university. Meeting people and gaining opportunities might outweigh systematic academic learning. Support and resources for actual research seem less handy than at home. But platforms for turning a work into an achievement are much more available. On-site courses do yield better experiences, so take as many as possible.

How was the political climate in Greece different from what are you used to? If applicable, describe a time when you had to navigate a political conversation during your time abroad.

Nationalist sentiment is more visible and less challenged in Athens than in West MA, USA. I come from China, I found more parallels than differences with the environment I’m used to (i.e. my home country). I’ve never regarded myself as entitled to express whatever I like since I am a foreigner. Besides, applying judgment is the most useless thing. I remember talking to a professor after a talk and I asked about the absence of the Ottoman period in the War Museum’s exhibition. She reminded me of the trauma in collective memory. My history professor reminded me of the potential instability of this part of the world. I’ve learned to understand where sentiments come from and how they can remain strong.

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:

Classical Studies major, Mental health, Religion, Student of color, (At least I count as a student of color in America. But since I am a citizen of another country, my experience is quite different)

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

The night before Easter. Running from one church to the other to see two vigils

Favorite food in Greece?

Pork Gyro

Favorite class you took at CYA?

the Topography and Monuments of Athens

Favorite quote from abroad?

You will have many more publications in the future, and you will share with us, don't forget us. (Something like this, said Prof Fassa, my Latin teacher.)

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