After almost two weeks of classes here on the island of Paros, I can only imagine what it would have been like not to take on such an incredible journey. I picture myself sitting at home reading or out in my hometown searching for a summer job. How oblivious I would have been to such a fantastic place like Paros, Greece. Every single day I have found something exciting to do, something delicious to eat, and some people who have made my day. These new experiences have contributed to this experience and I, still have a week and a half to go (and then I’ll have eleven days to travel around Eastern Europe before I depart out of Budapest, Hungary).
Back at home I find myself taking a few minutes before I fall asleep at night, but here I find myself asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. For being a small island, there is an abundance of fun things to do here. So far, I’ve been hiking on small dirt trails along the coast and up mountains. I’ve eaten at new restaurants or helped classmates cook new meals every day. And I’ve met some amazing people, both in class and local to the island. The friendliness and kindness of the people that I have met is one of the main reasons I have already decided that I need to come back someday! The best way to meet these great people is to have a positive attitude. No one here wishes you harm or is trying to swindle you of your money. The people of Paros are good people. Some business owners are a little more…excited to have you in their shops than others, but whether a purchase has been made, the locals say farewell with a smile and a thank you.
So maybe I’ll go back to the United States, and I’ll start reading again, and I’ll look for a job to end the summer with, but the memories I am making here will last forever. Studying abroad has taught me so much about another culture and has been such an excellent tool to help myself and other students explore somewhere they might have never gone. Because no one knew about Colin and Stella, the owners of everyone’s favorite café, or Katerina and her husband whose villa is our accommodation. We would never have been told of Parikia’s great history by the tour guide Avgi Kalogianni. These great people and others like them are helping us students have an outstanding involvement here on Paros.
Written by Devin O’Connell