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It’s All Greek to Me

Yassas! Welcome to a snapshot of my past three months abroad in one of the most captivating Mediterranean countries. While we all dream of living the enthused Mamma Mia lifestyle, I soon found out that Greece really is so much more. Yes, the sparkling turquoise waters in Santorini and white-washed buildings with hints of blue are incredibly picturesque and aesthetically pleasing, but what is even more exciting is having one of the greatest monuments of all time just a short 15 minute walk away… The Parthenon!

  The study abroad program I have been a part of is called College Year in Athens (CYA). I will admit, it took a huge leap of faith to choose Athens because most of my friends decided to study elsewhere. That being said, I wouldn’t change a thing and am so happy to say that stepping outside of my comfort zone was 100% worth it. I have met some of the most amazing students from colleges all across America. Of course, I have to include a special shoutout to my new Notre Dame friends! You all are the best and thanks a million for making me a part of your ~fam~.

My courses at CYA have been enriching since day one. What I’ve loved most is having on-site classes and being able to learn outside of the classroom for a change. I am able to physically be in the presence of ancient Greek sculptures and Acropolis ruins, which makes learning a million times more interesting.

    Another advantage to studying in Greece has been the field trips CYA has taken everyone on. I’ve been to Delphi, the Peloponnese (Southern Greece), and just got back from Thessaloniki (Northern Greece) a few days ago. I’ve had the opportunity to see many different parts of the country and am able to see how each region is different from the other. Greece is so unique in this way!

One of my all-time favorite trips this semester has been visiting the gorgeous island of Santorini. I’ve dreamed of visiting for such a long time and it did not disappoint in the least. We stayed in the cute town of Fira and splurged a little to get those mesmerizing Aegean Sea views.  From riding donkeys all the way up the 588 steps of the old Karavolades stairs to our all-inclusive sunset cruise that I still pinch myself about, it was without a doubt one of my most memorable weekends of the semester!

  I’ll just come out and say it: I could live on gyros for the rest of my life! Signature Tzatziki, rotisserie cooked meat, tomatoes, and french fries all wrapped in a toasted flatbread pita is simply delicious. Oh, and don’t expect to find any lettuce when you order a salad while at a Taverna (Greek restaurant). The true Greek way involves cucumbers, lots of tomatoes, olive oil, and a generous block of feta cheese. It’s highly possible I’ll never go back to having lettuce in my salad again. The Greeks really do have a special touch with desserts as well. There’s a bakery just steps away from my apartment and I visit way too many times during a week. If I’m not savoring some of the best mini cakes, you can find me ordering sweet Portokalopita which are orange-scented custard cakes made with phyllo dough, oranges, and Greek yogurt. The island of Crete is thought to be the cake’s origin. Loukoumades are another traditional Greek delicacy. Essentially, they are the Greek version of donuts, deep fried to golden perfection, soaked in warm honey syrup, sprinkled with cinnamon, and garnished with chopped walnuts or toasted sesame seeds. There is even an option of ice cream filling. Heaven!

 I can’t believe how many adventures I’ve packed into just three months. I do have one last trip planned before my time in Greece comes to a close. I’m very excited to travel to perhaps one of the most popular Greek islands, Mykonos. I will be there for Cinco de Mayo weekend and am ready for lots of beachside fun!

Greece has been more than I could have ever imagined and really has transformed my life in more ways than I can count. I have learned to just enjoy the simple moments and embrace opportunities with an open mind and heart. Greece will forever be a part of me and the memories I have made here will continue to make me laugh and smile. I can’t wait to look back on this journey years from now and remember how it changed me for the better. Efharisto (Thank you) Greece, for giving some of the greatest moments of joy and pure happiness!  

          

             

    

    

 

Hi, my name is Emily and I’m a Communications Major with Minors in Art History and Sociology at Fairfield U. I have a passion for all things fashion, beauty, cooking, and fitness. I am a foodie at heart and am always looking for new recipes or restaurants to try. Editorial writing and social media managing are just a couple of my specialties! 
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