Mixing and Mingling & Studying and Stinging

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September 20, 2021

Today marks the start of my second week of classes here at Deree. The first week was a lot less overwhelming than I had anticipated. A few main differences I’ve noticed between the American university system and the Greek university system are that there are fewer assignments, class policies are less punitive, and the work that we are assigned is more creative and self-driven in nature. Back home at Boston College, it’s typical for me to feel overwhelmed and like I’m always playing catch up. There are usually many assignments and 200+ pages of reading a week. But here, the work is a lot more manageable while still being academically rigorous and engaging. I feel much happier being able to go out and spend time with friends in and around Athens after class, as opposed to spending my days and nights tucked away in the library. I was able to go to the beach after class with my roommates and some new friends I met from Loyola University Maryland which is something I could never imagine having time for back in America.

Greece also has a rest period in the early afternoon during which no classes take place. I’ve been using that time to get lunch with friends or read outside in the beautiful weather. I didn’t realize how much I would appreciate the slowed down pace Greece and a lot of other European countries have. America, and American academic institutions especially, put a lot of pressure on productivity and merit-based achievement. While that isn’t necessarily bad, it can be draining especially considering the toll the pandemic has taken.

I enjoy the sense of community and collaboration that I’ve experienced thus far. My classes engage in more discussions and follow up directly with professors and I think that has helped me grasp concepts I’ve previously struggled with on my own back home. Our midterm and final exams/projects are independent projects that draw heavily on course material so I am looking forward to applying what I’ve learned in that way in the coming weeks.

Over the weekend, my roommates and I took a trip to Mykonos. Our friend Elle from the University of Florida also tagged along. We’re trying to maximize the amount of time we can enjoy the beach while the weather is still nice. The ferry rides are also really convenient and provide a beautiful opportunity to see different parts of the Greek coast.

Our first full day out, we decided to go to Ornos beach at the recommendation of our Airbnb host. As soon as I jumped into the water and began swimming, I was stung by a jellyfish! It was quite a shocking and painful experience. Luckily, my roommate Abby walked with me to a pharmacy where a kind pharmacist helped me treat the area with some ointment. I was in pretty intense pain for the rest of the day so after we went to dinner, I rested back at our Airbnb.

Despite the jellyfish dilemma, I still really enjoyed Mykonos as an island. There were so many great restaurants, kind locals, and beautiful sights to be taken in. I’m looking forward to exploring more of Greece and maybe even Europe as a whole. Until next week :)