Rachel Niemira
Student Ambassador

Email:[email protected]
School:UNC Chapel Hill
Cya Term:Summer 2021

Miss Rachel Niemira, 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? 

Studying abroad has changed the way that I understand education. Visiting sites like the agora or Hadrian’s library are always meaningful-especially coming from such a comparatively young country-but having the guidance of an education and passionate professor made it that much more. Not only have I had the experience to dive deep into the regionality and identity of Greece through my summer session class, but I also felt myself developing as a person.

I’ve always been independent, but my confidence and maturity have grown tenfold in just this month of studying. I feel like CYA has helped me grow as both a student, an individual, and a world citizen.

What advice do you have for prospective students who are interested in or planning to study abroad with CYA? What do you wish you knew before starting your study abroad experience?

Pay attention to the details of your travel planning, but don’t stress yourself out about logistics-and ask questions! CYA will take care of you! This was my first time leaving the country, and I was definitely nervous about everything from the airport security to how I would find grocery stores in Athens. However, as soon as my journey began, I found support every time I asked for help.

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.

Politics were more prominent in Greek culture than I expected. From the graffiti on every street corner to the permanent exhibit in the contemporary art museum. One experience I had was at a taverna in Thasos. We had been chatting with the waiter when he asked us, a group of six Americans, whether we preferred Trump or Biden.

The tension in the room increased, as this is often a loaded question in America that might come with other conclusions. When we answered, however, the waiter simply shrugged. “It seems to be about 50/50 among the tourists here,” he said, before laughing and taking our order.

Dear Rachel Niemira, 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:

LGBTQ student, Finances while abroad, Mental health while abroad, COVID while abroad

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

Going out for dinner is always an interesting experience for me- I’ve definitely gotten used to spending 2 or 3 hours at a table chatting with friends, long after we’ve finished eating.

Favorite food in Greece?

Tzatziki!

Favorite class you took at CYA?

The strangeness of ancient Greece!

Favorite quote from abroad?

“There’s a word for everything that happened after Ancient Greece: irrelevant.” -Prof. Pitt

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