Where did you go? When?
American College of Thessaloniki, Fall 2009
Why did you pick the program and location?
Originally I wanted to study somewhere tropical or down under, but found I wanted to travel around Europe and the American college of Thessaloniki provided that, along with the warm weather. I also found ACT is one of the few schools abroad, situated in a non-English speaking country where English is spoken in every classroom, so I was eligible for pretty much any course.
Would you recommend this location to another student and why?
Yes, studying in Thessaloniki has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my college career. ACT is a small school so you get to know everyone quick, and the teachers are very student oriented. Our apartments were great, just a quick walk to the city center, White Tower and waterfront boardwalk. Greece has a rich history and culture; it’s not every day you have the opportunity to walk around town--pass by ancient ruins, buildings, and sculptures surrounded by modern buildings.
What was your most memorable experience/day/moment?
Eight American students and I traveled with our friend Igor to Belgrade, Serbia on a 17 hour train ride. Once in, we spent the entire day touring the city. I had never seen a bombed building before, the after-effects of war became a reality for me. For a week we hung out in Igor’s home town, talked to high school students, visited the countryside and even got to meet the mayor. I had heard some negative stereotypes and didn’t know what to expect before hand. However, my stereotypes were eliminated while seeing and learning about Serbia for myself.
What was the worst experience/day?
My Monday of culture shock in full throttle! I woke up late and missed the morning bus to class. Next, all I could get for cash out of an ATM were 50 euro bills and the school cafe didn’t have change at the time, so I couldn’t eat lunch. Finally, on the way home my roommate and I had our cab stolen from two freshman. It was only one day, and looking back I laugh because it was just a bad “case of the Monday’s.”
What are the benefits of studying abroad? (Personal/ academic)
One of my favorite quotes I found abroad, “The more you look at the world, the more you recognize what really matters to people.” Prior to studying abroad I thought with more of an “American” view on everything, and now feel I can observe things with a broader perspective. You will grow as an individual from the people you meet to experiences you have together, and the best part is you earn credit while on a once in a lifetime vacation.
What advice would you give to somebody considering studying abroad?
I never thought I would walk into the International Center, sit in on an info session, let alone study abroad for a semester making friends from around the world. I finally realized I would be graduating soon and with all the loans I owe back, there wouldn’t be a chance to see the world for a long time. I would recommend to any student who wants to make the most of their college experience to study abroad. Everyday is a unique learning experience, don’t forget to bring the camera along and share your adventure!