I have to say the only “American” part of The American College of Greece (ACG) are the American students. Everyday, I am greeted by security guards and I have to scan my ID every time I enter campus. The gate is also far from the campus and by the time I make it to class, I am out of breath.
At AGC, there is no such thing as “buildings”. The typical American college campus is usually composed of several buildings. At ACG, the classrooms seem to be merged, but everything is in proximity. The campus is on a hill and the classes are on different levels even when they are on the same floor. I’ve gotten lost every time. The campus is like a maze to me. Regardless of how confusing it is to me, ACG is a beautiful campus.
The classrooms are lined up next to each other and then they are facing a court yard. The classrooms are not in a building and when you leave the classroom you are outside. During the break, the students gather around for a smoke break. The biggest surprise to me is that almost everyone smokes and it is considered very normal in Greece. Back in the states, smoking is prohibited on campus and students are asked to go off campus to smoke. The classrooms are composed of small desks that are lined up in rows and the technology is not as advanced compared to the states. But I admire how this does not discourage students from learning. The professors are utilizing the resources they are provided. This is different from what I am us to back home, where technology is more advanced in the classroom.
I have just completed my first week of classes and I have to say that the curriculum is very different from back home. Many Greek students say that there is a heavy emphasis on memorization at the high school level. They also mentioned that they are not really prepared for college because in college it depends on critical thinking skills.
At ACG, the course outline depends on critical thinking skills and the transition is sometimes difficult. The grade also depends heavily on the midterm and the final, which is much different in America. Back home, homework, classwork, and participation impact a person’s grade as well.
The fact that there are many differences between ACG and my home university allows me to see and experience how education is practiced in different ways. My peers and I were shocked that there was nothing really “American” about the campus. I believe that curriculum at ACG is up the standards of the American Educational system. Regardless of that, I love that the school has adapted its own curriculum and style.I would say I experienced a little little bit of a culture shock. I am looking forward to the upcoming weeks at The American College of Greece.