I am less than four weeks away from departing on my study abroad trip to Greece and I can’t believe how rapidly it’s approaching. I applied for this back in September and was so ecstatic when I got accepted into the program. It felt as though March would never come. But now here I am, basically a month away, and my unpreparedness is starting to sink in. HARD. Besides my super brief stint in Mexico when I took a cruise, I have never actually been out of the country. My dream is to travel all over and see the world, so of course, I jumped at the opportunity.
As a newbie to being abroad, so many things are popping into my brain. What do I pack? How will the culture differ from what I’m used to? What do I need to know before I go? How will I make it through the longest flight I’ve ever been on? I actually just had our first pre-departure meeting with my group. This definitely brought me some peace of mind. One of our two instructors is an expert on Greece and Greek humanities. He has done this exact trip multiple times so he knows exactly what to expect. He actually wrote the textbook we are using for our humanities course! I’d say he knows his stuff.
We will be abroad for a total of eight days. Unfortunately, we actually lose a day due to travel and changes in time zone. For example, we depart from MCO at 8:30 pm on a Thursday and arrive in Athens around 4:00 pm the following day. Since this is a school trip with a good sized group, everything we do will be very structured. There won’t be a lot of downtimes but that’s fine with me. I want to see as much as I can possibly see, not hang around a hotel. Our days will include a LOT of museums and tours. We will be seeing most of the country except the islands. I was bummed at first, but then realized that’s just a reason to go back in the future! I’ll definitely be posting the finalized itinerary in my upcoming “Two Weeks to Greece Checklist”. Stay tuned!
Part of our grade for the Greek Humanities course is determined by us completing a “site report” in the country. All the students coming on this trip were assigned a topic to research that correlates to the locations we will be visiting. Then the student will essentially teach the rest of us about the site including history, significance, interesting facts, etc. I jumped at the chance to take the very first slot, so I can get my site report out of the way and enjoy the rest of my experience. I will be researching the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Roman Athens. So not only was it the first up, it was the one that interested me the most. I really love that we will be learning about Greece from not only the guides and professors but also our peers.
I can honestly say, I have no idea what to expect. I know it will be delightfully overwhelming to be so fully immersed in a different culture. What I am most looking forward to is definitely the sights and the food. Least looking forward to.. SIKE! I am going to Greece, what’s there to not look forward to? And I am getting college credit at the same time? Yea, I can’t wait. I just need to figure out exactly how to pack for 8 days in a different country with only a carry-on. I guess that’s what Pinterest and YouTube are for. Honestly, even if things go wrong, or not as planned, or I’m underprepared, it doesn’t matter. I will be thankful for this experience no matter what. But let’s hope it goes smoothly!