This past May I had the chance to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity. My school, Muhlenberg College, has a program in which students take a course with a focus on a foreign country, and get to travel as a class to that country at the end of the semester. As I registered for the course Homeric Epic and Greek History last semester, I had no idea what kind of a journey I was beginning. Through analyzing ancient Greek poems written by Homer, examining artifacts such as famous pots, and exploring an individual topic on Mycenaean architecture and palaces, I learned a wide variety of information that I will always treasure.
What made the course particularly special for me was the abroad portion of the course, which allowed me to apply what I learned in the classroom to the physical land and museums of Greece. I had the opportunity to appreciate in person, the artifacts and frescos that I had only been able to see as replicated pictures in class. I also got to see the palace remains of the blueprints I studied. In addition, I got to personally experience the culture and history of Greece.
By visiting Greece I was able to embrace the culture not just through museums, but also through meeting the friendly locals and eating delicious foods. Some of my favorite meals included souvlaki, moussaka, soutzoukakia, and, of course, the Greek yogurt! One of my favorite experiences on my trip was a day in Santorini when we did not attend a museum or site, and were told to relax and take it easy. Knowing myself, I felt the need to explore more of Greece, and chose to walk all the way down the sloping cliff to take a boat ride to the volcano of Nea Kameni. There I hiked the volcano and swam in the hot springs nearby. Diving off the edge of the colorful boat into the crisp, sparkling, aquamarine water was a moment in time I will never forget. (As was the donkey ride that took me back up the steep cliffs!)
Having my friends and the Athens Center staff with me as I experienced these incredible adventures made the trip all the more worthwhile. I created lifelong friendships with the members of my trip, and I will never forget the people, emotions, and views I experienced while in the beautiful country of Greece.