|CYA Class Agent Year/Program :
|University of Michigan
Favorite class you took at CYA
Modern Athens: Space, Art, and Urban Culture
Dear Rachael Bittick, how did your study abroad experience with CYA contribute to your personal, academics and professional development?
My study abroad experience with CYA greatly influenced and motivated my growth as an independent young adult in pursuit of academic passions. My time in Athens was both socially transformative and academically inspirational. I really learned how to find a balance between studying and exploring, not just within the confines of a study abroad experience, but in my everyday life.
The pace of life in Greece, the generosity of its people, and the boundless diverse niches throughout the city of Athens, all contributed to the environmental factors that encouraged me to take on new perspectives, try new things, and run toward the opportunities I feared most. This personal growth, as well as the connections and relationships I established during my time with CYA, have helped me to further refine my academic and professional skills such as communication, content development, and creative expression.
Overall, CYA was a significant contributor to my personal and professional growth both during and after studying abroad in Greece.
What is your favorite memory of the city of Athens?
My favorite memory of the city of Athens was waking up at 6am on a cool November morning, climbing up the residential access point to the top of Kallimarmaro, sitting on the highest stone ridge, and watching the sun rise while finishing a final paper for class.
Miss Rachael Bittick, would you like to share a special memory with us?
Another special memory I hold close is of a very long evening hike I took with three of my classmates in Metsovo on a class trip. One friend found a path and wanted to follow it down toward the monastery so we could get better photographs and hopefully see the monastery since our class would not be visiting it. We figured the path would take us maybe five or ten minutes down the hillside, but it actually took 45 minutes to hike down the mountain.
It was one of those situations that should have been annoying, but the mystery and adventure of it all made it truly enjoyable. The four of us stuck it out, got to see the monastery close-up, hiked all the way back up the mountain for another 45 minutes, and rewarded ourselves with an amazing feast of souvlakia, kokoretsi, and various breads and cheeses. We even drank fresh water straight from a spring stream.
A hike seems like a pretty simple activity -- something people do all the time. But this particular hike was the single-most bond-building journey I have yet to experience in my short lifetime.