There are several little experiences and moments I have been listing in my journal and that I will miss when this trip is over. The way the sunset paints the mountains with a layer of orange pink. The crunch of gravel under our feet in the quiet as we walked through Delos. The soft light of the candles on the restaurant tables gleaming against the white painted buildings.
I have grown significantly as a person over the course of this trip. The combination of new experiences and living out of a suitcase for the past few weeks has made me realize how I want to live my life when I return home, and what I consider necessary for a fulfilling life. As my first ever study abroad experience draws to a close, I cannot believe all the things I have lived within the span of a few weeks. I have walked through ancient cities, tasted local cuisine, swam in some of the bluest water I’ve ever seen, and made friends with the locals.
When I first boarded the plane to take this trip, I wasn’t sure what would happen. I was afraid my social anxiety would get the better of me, or my ADHD would make it hard for me to be friends with the other students on the trip. I’m happy to say that neither of those things have held me back and that I have enjoyed nearly every minute of this experience. I have even been able to befriend a few of the locals.
I met a woman named Margo who works at a purse and shoe store. She also fosters cats, especially kittens who need to be bottle-fed. I have seen two of her foster kittens, Rat and Lucas, and her older cat, Kirki. They are all sweet and friendly cats. Now, I just stop by her shop to say hello and play with her kittens. Margo is the woman that I interviewed for my personal project. She is a kind and friendly woman who loves animals. I’m going to miss her and her cats when I return to America.
Overall, I have had the experience of a lifetime that I was looking forward to for two years. My experiences here have helped shape how I want to continue living my life when I return to the U.S. I want to be more mindful and relaxed, as well as get rid of things that are unnecessary. I also want to continue meeting new and interesting people, and hearing their stories.
Studying abroad in Paros, Greece was an extraordinary experience for me. I would not want to spend the first three weeks of my summer any other way. I have traveled out of the United States numerous times to countries all over Europe, but visiting the island of Paros has to be one of the greatest so far. There are so many interesting sights to see and the landscape and views are stunning. I have tried so many new things during this study abroad trip that I have never done before. The study abroad class with Thomas and Lewis was interesting as well. Even though there were a few moments where I was a bit nervous that I would not be able to complete the projects in time for the deadlines, I did finish everything and my completed assignments turned out great in the end.
Some of my favorite activities that we did while in Greece were the all-day kayaking trip, the early-morning hike I did with Thomas, and the archaeological tour with the guide Avgi Kalogianni. Even though not all of these topics were actually experiences where we learned about Paros (some were just for fun), I still learned so many new things about the history and folklore of Paros’ past during each and every activity.