Dayonni Phillips Athens
Study Abroad: Athens
Living in Athens
I am currently studying abroad in Athens, Greece for the Fall Semester of 2018. I have been in Athens for a few days shy of a month, and I have absolutely love my time thus far. Each student is placed in an apartment with other students, but the number of roommates in each apartment varies. I have four roommates, but I love each roommate. Our apartment is large enough for it not to feel crowded with five girls, but it is small enough in which we have been able to become really close. My roommates and I travel, cook, and workout together. Before my arrival, I was reluctant about having four roommates, because I did not know if we would get along. However, the first night we stayed up all night talking and laughing.
The experience of having an apartment is a liberating one. I immediately felt a new sense of independence and responsibility. Our apartment is one of the largest ones, but it is also one of the furthest ones from our school (approximately seven minute walk). Nevertheless, our location is amazing, because we are surrounded by stores, restaurants, and parks.
Surprisingly, I did not have trouble with adjusting to the time change. The first night I slept amazing and did not feel jet lagged. The hardest thing to adjust to is balancing my schoolwork with my exploration of Greek culture. Studying abroad feels you with excitement to want to do everything and do it everyday, and it can become easy to put your schoolwork to the backburner. For example, we do not have classes on Friday, so we are able to travel the weekend. If I was studying on campus, I would never in a million years think about spending my weekend to travel, because I would have anxiety about not having enough time to finish my assignments. However, I have this desire every week while I am abroad, because there is so much to see and I do not know when I would have the opportunity again.
One of the weekends, my roommates and I traveled to the Greek island, Aegina. This trip was amazing! During our time on Aegina, it was their Pistachio Festival (famous for pistachio), and there were so many samples of various pistachio dishes and ingredients such as pistachio butter, pistachio honey, pistachio chocolate, and pistachio bars. My mother loves pistachio, so I was able to get her some pistachio butter as a gift. Also, the beaches of Aegina were beautiful. There were not a lot of tourists around and the water was so clear (image to the left). We would spend hours in the ocean and relaxing on the beaches. I personally love the water and swimming, so it is times like these on the beaches that I most enjoy.
As mentioned before, we have class Monday through Thursday. I have four classes on Monday and Wednesday in which I start my day at 8:45 AM and end at 6:50 PM. However, on Tuesday and Thursday, I have one class at 11 AM. I love my classes, because I am able to take interesting Anthropology courses that are not offered at Notre Dame such as Introduction to Digital Archaeology. My Topography of Athens course is on-site which means we always meet at a different location in Athens for class. I am on the edge about this class right now. As much as I love not being in a classroom setting, it becomes frustrating trying to find the meeting point in which I sometimes walk for 40 minutes.
The Greek Experience
Greece is a beautiful country full of culture and history. The CYA program provided every student with an ICOMOS card allowing free access to museums and sites anywhere in Europe. This makes it easier to visit the various museums that Athens has to offer which I enjoy doing often.
One of the first weeks, I went to a concert at the Herodus Atticus Theater in which three well known composers and singers performed together (second image to left. It was amazing, especially since since the Acropolis was in the background.
Also, the CYA has implemented trips to different islands throughout the semester in which students are required to attend. We have traveled to Crete and Delphi so far. Both were so beautiful and had its own unique cultural background which was cool to witness and identify while traveling. During each trip, they take is to important archaeological sites, museums, and other tourist attractions such as relaxing beaches. The food in Greece is delicious in which you can order a very large donut or gyro for just one euro! I am foodie, so I enjoy trying new Greek dishes for a cheap price.