Last Updated on June 21, 2019 by Elizabeth Martin
Being abroad lets a person have a new perspective on life. Growing up in the States, I took several small and simple things for granted (driving, eating, toilet paper, and so on). However, living in Greece the past few months has taught me to appreciate every difference between our cultures. With the spirit of Thanksgiving abroad, here are a few things I am thankful for in Greece:
Back home, I drove everywhere. To get around here, I have two options: walk or public transportation. I enjoy both, but I have learned to love the silence and the scenery on my daily walks to school, to the grocery, to dinner, etc. There is something about slowing down and really taking in the sights that makes walking worth it every day.
P.S. I have also dropped a few pounds by walking, so there’s a bonus!
It can be challenging starting school somewhere new – especially if it’s in a different country with an entirely different system. Changing my studying habits and test taking skills to be able to excel here has granted me with a different mindset about education all together. All I’ve ever known was the American school system; now I feel more open-minded and all around a better student because I have experienced different ways in which to learn.
The Ability to Grow
Before I came abroad, I was very comfortable in my habits from back home. Living in another country is a humbling experience; I cannot say that either culture is wrong, just different. I have had to self-reflect and ask myself hard questions about my beliefs and actions. Am I doing this because it’s what we do back home? Have I tried doing things the Greek way before I totally dismiss the idea? I can tell that I have grown as a person in just a few short months.
A special bond is formed when you are placed within a group of independent strangers. Yes, while we all made the choice to travel abroad by ourselves, we attached ourselves to one another with the hope and comfort that they had no idea what to expect either. I have found my forever friends, people I am blessed to travel the world with, and pen pals from all over the globe. I am so lucky to have such a diverse group of friends, that I wouldn’t have without studying abroad.
This post was contributed by Elizabeth Martin, who is spending her semester studying abroad with AIFS in Athens, Greece.