Home is on the Horizon

Rachel Shaffer Arcadia in Greece


November 20, 2015

It seems like just yesterday I was landing, sleep deprived at the Athens airport and being whisked away for the semester of a lifetime. I can barely comprehend the fact that there is only a month left in this program. While this semester hasn’t been easy and I’ve often been filled with homesickness, I can honestly say that this has been a semester of immense academic and personal growth.

Upon arrival, I felt misplaced in a culture I knew very little about and I had absolutely no knowledge of the language. Now, nearly three months later, I feel much more comfortable in Athens, I can manage to have conversation with the person who works at the periptero (the ever-present Greek corner kiosks that basically function as miniature super markets), and I know I will be going back to the United States filled with information about Greece that I would have otherwise never known.

The courses I’ve taken while abroad are on a myriad of different topics and have provided me with a much more diverse knowledge base than I would have been able to receive while at my home university. Learning about things from archaeological locations around Athens via on-site tours to the Greek economic crisis and biodiversity throughout the European Union has truly made me feel like Arcadia lives up to the mantra of “Learn Everywhere.” Part of studying abroad had really made me open my eyes to taking lessons at any and all opportunities. It’s not always about the classroom and it is certainly not always about the grade, but it definitely about what you can take away from the lesson.

I think this leads into the immense amount of personal growth that study abroad had provided for me. My understanding of the world has exponentially grown, but my study abroad experience has also taught me a fair amount about humility and accepting mistakes. I will never be able to know everything about everything, but studying in Athens has definitely gotten me much further in that quest for knowledge.

I can’t say it’s been the best of times or the worst of times, but it’s certainly been one heck of time. I am excited to see where my final month takes me, as the refugee crisis continues in Europe and I want to provide assistance to those in need. I am excited to see where my final month takes me, as I attempt to wrap up my CLC project. And, finally, I am excited to see where my final month takes me, as I still have one last academic excursion to the island of Corfu and one more personal excursion to the island of Crete.


Greece Semester