R’riyon Draine
Student Ambassador
Email: [email protected]
School:Cornell University
Cya Term:Spring 2024
Anticipated Graduation:5/3/2025

During my semester abroad, I had the opportunity to explore and learn more about myself. Being far from home allowed me to make choices for myself without the influence of others' expectations. I got to experience new things, visit incredible places, and meet people from all around the world. Traveling abroad exposed me to different perspectives, beliefs, experiences, and cultures that I hadn't encountered before. This experience has greatly broadened my global perspective and helped me grow as a person. As a student, I was able to learn about topics and take classes that weren't available at my home institution, exposing me to new concepts and ideas. Moreover, my professors supported my professional development by introducing me to potential career paths and connecting me with valuable contacts. Studying abroad has been a transformative experience that I am truly grateful for.

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

Keep in mind the goals you have for studying abroad. The semester will pass by quicker than you ever anticipated, and it will not be a good feeling to look back and think about all the things you wish you had done. It's easy to feel like you're not doing enough compared to others, especially when some people travel frequently on weekends. But, if your goal is to explore Athens and build a home for yourself in the city, do not feel ashamed. Comparison is truly the thief of joy, and you should not be robbed of a beautiful experience that is catered to you, because you feel like you have to 'keep up' with others. This is something that took me a while to learn, but it is a daily reminder to think about the experience that you want to create for yourself, not the one you feel like you should be having based on others.

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.

Greece is very politically active, especially in terms of demonstrations. I did not know what to expect as far as protests here, but they happen more frequently than I presumed they would. But, the staff always kept us aware of anything that was happening in the city, which I found extremely helpful.

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:

Accessibility, Finances, Mental health, Student of color

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

Seeing the kites fly on Clean Monday felt so surreal, and it will be something I never forget.

Favorite food in Greece?

Baked feta with honey and sesame

Favorite class you took at CYA?

Who Wants to Live Forever? Intro to Transhumanism

Favorite quote from abroad?

Τι να κάνουμε

What extracurricular activities were you involved with in Greece?

I went to the majority of Niki's events from movie nights, to neighborhood walks, and traditional Greek events like festivals and dancing. I went to the first marble carving workshop, the scrapbooking workshop, and participated in plenty of Wellness Week activities.

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