|University of Massachusetts Amherst
|Anthropology and Sociology
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?
Being abroad has taught me more than I could've imagined. I know now that I can make plans and travel on my own surprisingly easily. I lived in a city and an apartment for the first time, both of which have changed the way I learned to live and what to expect in the future. I got to do an internship in a bioarchaeology lab, something that I wasn't sure what to expect from but learned that I actually found it super interesting and am planning to continue when I go home. My world experience has been significantly broadened and I have a stronger sense of exploration.
When I was looking for study abroad programs last spring, I had the idea in my head that I wanted to go as far out of my comfort zone as possible because I was afraid if I didn't, I'd never leave places like rural New Jersey and Massachusetts. So I chose somewhere that was hot, a city, had a language I had no experience understanding, and a program where I wouldn't be able to fall back onto my safety mechanism of blending in. And it worked, I feel so much more confident in every regard. I know I can make friends wherever I go and adapt to living in any environment that I embrace.
What advice do you have for prospective students who are interested in or planning to study abroad with CYA?
I wish I had signed up for any of the option field studies. I didn't because I was worried I wouldn't know anyone who would be going, but being here I found myself being friendly with almost everyone. So one thing I would recommend to prospective students is to take advantage of how small the CYA community is.
I've only ever been to huge schools, so an intimate program like this where there's a 90% chance I see someone I know when I walk down the street was a welcome culture shock in itself. I'd also recommend exploring all the touristy areas after most of the tourists have left. It's crazy how many places I've been to that were practically empty just because tourist season was over.
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.
I was surprised by how tense the political environment is here and how actively people were trying to improve things. There have been multiple times throughout the semester when I've had to rearrange my plans because of transportation strikes and potentially violent protests. Going on trips with my sociology class to observe graffiti was eye-opening to the current issues and people's opinions.
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, Finances, LGBTQIA+ student, Mental health
Briefly describe a cultural experience you had that was significant to you in any way.
I took a solo trip to Meteora (after getting jealous of pictures from the CYA trip) and it was the most significant learning experience I've had in Greece. It was my first time going on a trip like that alone and being able to wander and take in the culture by myself was so cool. I took two tours of the different monasteries and got to learn about the history and culture of the area from locals as well as their life stories.
Favorite food in Greece?
fried zucchini balls
Favorite class you took at CYA?
Greek Theater - I loved discussing plays I otherwise wouldn't have read