Georgia with fellow students in kavala study in greece cyathens cyablog
28 Jun 2017

CYA Impressions Spring 17′

At the end of the Spring  Semester 17′ Media Lab intern, Georgie Hempstead interviewed 3 of her classmates to gather their impressions of their semester abroad in Greece. Read as Jessica Gibson (University of Notre Dame), Emilia Ravn-Boess (Brandeis University) and Tiaira Muhammad (University of Southern California) share their experiences.

What inspired you to choose Athens for your study abroad experience?

I was walking through the study abroad fair looking for a different program in Rio when I saw a CYA brochure with students standing outside the Parthenon. I loved that the program included class excursions to archeological sites and museums instead of sitting in the classroom all day, so I applied to the program. I was super excited to see what I read about and imagined in a textbook in real life! Tiaira Muhammad (USC)

What will you miss the most about Athens/Greece?

The people. Greek hospitality is so real. Most people you meet on the street or at a cafe are so excited that you chose to live in their country and learn their language and they want to help you and welcome you any way they can. (I’ll also miss all the CYA staff and students, of course)  Jessica Gibson (UND)

What was your favorite part of the Greek culture (e.g., holidays, food, language, etc.)?

I will miss the little interactions on the street with the locals where you try to use as much Greek as you know and they encourage you and try to supply you with the words you are missing.  Jessica Gibson (UND)

“I never felt like an “other” because of my race here, which was important to me when I was choosing a study abroad location.”

I love how hospitable Greeks are, and how family is not exclusive to bloodline.  I never felt like an “other” because of my race here, which was important to me when I was choosing a study abroad location. There have been multiple times when I’ve gone to a cafe alone and a waiter will strike up a conversation with me and be genuinely interested in what I have to say. I usually end up getting a free treat out of it too! Tiaira Muhammad (USC)

What’s one thing you would do differently (if anything)?

I would have prepared weekend activities in Athens better. I would have loved to go to a soccer game or other cultural performances, but time moved too quickly. I think if I planned a little better in advance, I could have done more. But I’m more than happy with what I did get to experience in the short amount of time spent here. Emilia Ravn-Boess (BU)

Who were you before study abroad and who are you now?

I usually like to have a set plan in place and kind of know what I’m doing before I do it. When I got to Greece, the best memories I had were the ones that weren’t planned. Tiaira Muhammad (USC)

I think I can call myself a true adult now, not just one with training wheels as my dad likes to say, because I have now planned countless trips, taken some of those trips by myself, cooked for myself every week, and found a home in a city that I was a stranger to four months ago. Jessica Gibson (UND)

Bonus: Tell one of your funniest moments or favorite memories!

One of my favorite memories was actually really early in the semester! I loved the first taverna night. I went with a really cool group of people and it was my first time eating Greek food. I had tzatziki for the first time, which I learned to make so I can have it now in the States. The taverna that we went to also had a really dope atmosphere. My group stayed in there for hours, drinking wine and just having great conversation. It was the pinnacle of Greek leisure in my opinion. I highly recommend people take advantage of the first taverna night. It’s well worth the 9 euros! Tiaira Muhammad (USC)

“I had tzatziki for the first time, which I learned to make so I can have it now in the States.”

My fondest memory was when my mother came to visit. We went to a taverna dinner in Aegina and were one of the first ones in the taverna. There was live music playing, and we got to talk to the singer as he played different songs for us. More and more Greek families began arriving and by the end of the night, everyone was buying my mom and I wine and dancing to traditional Greek music together. We left at midnight, saying goodbye to the Greeks with cheek kisses, hugs, full bellies, and a lot of wine! Emilia Ravn-Boess (BU)