After traveling over five thousand miles, I made it to Greece and started my semester!
Flying into Greece was beautiful. I arrived at seven in the morning and enjoyed seeing the sun rise over the country. One thing I remember is being initially surprised by the size of Athens. I never realized how big the city was until we were flying over it!
Once we landed, I met other CYA students who were on the flight from Chicago with me. We all met with CYA faculty at the airport who gave us our apartment keys and rides into the city. We are all located in the Athenian neighborhood called Pangrati (Παγκράτι), the same neighborhood where all the CYA buildings are. I find this very nice because it is ultimately a quick walk to each of my classes from my apartment. My housemates arrived later that day and we got to know one another before the semester began. None of them are from Hope, but from different colleges all around the United States. I think it is really nice to meet so many new people and make new friends!
The entirety of the week was dedicated to orientation. CYA helped us with understanding Greek culture and showing us how to get around the city. They also helped by having us take a couple of Greek courses called “Survival Greek” which gave us simple phrases to help us talk to people around the city. I really appreciated it because I am still struggling with the new language.
Weekend at Delphi
The week ended with a trip to Delphi (Δελφοί). I continued to meet people on the program and spend time with them, as well as see some amazing sights. We spent a portion of the trip between the Delphi ruins and the newer town of the same name. We ended the trip going down to Itea (Ιτέα), a smaller town on the Gulf of Krissa. It was a beautiful town where we were able to explore, go swimming, and hang out by the sea.
Looking back at the previous week, it makes me extremely excited for what is to come this semester. I met some amazing people from all over the country who I am spending the next four months with. The program has two other trips planned during the semester, one being a week’s excursion to Crete, which is right around the corner. Being able to learn here is a true gift, one that I couldn’t be happier to share with you!