so i suppose i should give a bit of background info on me and this wonderful study abroad experience that i’m about to have, just so we’re all on the same page.

i originally was going to go to brussels, belgium for a business and culture program through CIEE; i had been planning for it all second semester of my sophomore year. but then summer came, and with it, a realization that the belgium program didn’t fit me at all. so, very last minute, i made the switch over to the paros program with athena abroad. i have never been happier or more relieved as i was when i was accepted to head to greece. athena abroad was amazing helping me get all my paperwork done and turned in on time (i only had like 2 weeks before it all had to be turned in since i changed my mind so late, oops!).

and so now, here i am about to embark on an amazing journey to paros: a small island of around 10,000 people in the middle of the aegean, smack dab between mainland greece and mainland turkey. i’ll fly into athens and from there take a 5 hour ferry ride to the island for school. i’ll be attending the hellenistic international studies in the arts (HISA) school and taking classes that will push me creatively in a way that i haven’t been able to experience at my home school of heidelberg university. i’ll be trying my hand at black and white film photography, learning about the forces that have shaped who i am today in a philosophy class, discussing the symbolic importance and influence of the goddess in a women and gender studies class, attempting to learn modern greek, and taking an in-depth course on cycladic art and culture. this art program at HISA also includes a 10-day fine arts trip in october to prague and paris, which is really just the icing on the cake for me. needless to say, i’m beyond pumped for this semester.

while i’m there i’ll be living in a beachside apartment with the other american students (there are 8 of us total, 6 girls and 2 guys) that’s a few minutes outside of town. i’ll have my own bedroom and small kitchenette and will share a full kitchen and rooftop terrace with the other people living in the house. it all sounds too good to be true!

i just can’t stop thinking about how good it will feel to be sitting out on the beach, relaxing with a bottle of wine doing my homework for philosophy and pondering deeply about my own life. i’m going into it not knowing anyone, so i’ll be rebuilding myself on my own in greece with nobody to lean on. i’m hoping that this, coupled with the relaxed island atmosphere, will be really conducive to finding out who i really am and what i’m made of. basically, this semester abroad is going to be exactly what i need at exactly the right time. i absolutely cannot wait!!