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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Sara in Greece

Notes from Abroad is a new feature on the Off-Campus Programs website, in which we highlight small snippets of a student’s experience.  This week’s feature is from Sara Marsha ’18 a Psychology major and minor in African American Studies currently studying in Greece.

Hello from abroad!


I would like to begin by thanking the G. Dale Smith ’37 and Ruth Peterson Smith Endowed Scholarship for Study-Abroad. The scholarship has given me the chance to explore a whole new country and gain new life experiences! Since arriving in Athens, Greece, I have learned I enjoy hiking! As a native Chicagoan, I am used to flat terrain so the mountainous areas of Greece have been very adventurous. I have travelled to different parts of Greece, such as Delphi and Meteora, and they have similarly been full of adventure. In Delphi, I was able to explore ruins and in Meteora I was able to visit many monasteries that sat upon mountains. Of course, having no experience with any form of hiking prior to arriving in Athens, trying to go up an icy mountain led to many slips and bruises. These experiences were worth it because the history and the view were well earned from the journey.

Besides the experiences travelling Greece, the classrooms of the American College of Greece have been very interesting! Although the college is based on the American system of education, the teaching styles are very different. It is very relaxed in comparison to Lake Forest College. There are many of the same learning expectations, but the students are more responsible for their learning rather than the professors. Interestingly enough, it has been a great learning experience because I feel I have learned more from their lectures rather than completing assignments every night.

Greece has been an eye-opening experience in a culture different than my own. Living in the U.S. and Ethiopia, I have had a different experience with immersion. The fast-paced life in America and the community-based relationships held in Ethiopia compare to the relaxed-pace and familial atmosphere of Greece. This has been extremely meditative for me, as a Chicagoan used to living in a fast-paced city.

From these different learning experiences in Greece, I have learned to appreciate the knowledgeable moments that arrive when being in a new environment. I have learned many new skills from living in Greece, not as a study abroad student, but as a student of Greece.