My first three weeks of studying abroad have truly been a life-changing experience. It was my first time leaving the country and traveling alone, and despite a few bumps along the way, it has been a fantastic journey. I arrived in Montreal, Canada, where I had a layover before reaching my final destination. Getting lost in the airport was an expected hiccup, but I was surprised to find that almost everyone spoke French. After a little while, I managed to find someone who spoke English and could guide me in the right direction.
During this short time, I have learned a lot, not only about the culture of Greece but also about myself and how I handle unexpected situations. Greece has proven to be quite different from my home state of Minnesota. While many people here do speak English, there are also quite a few who don’t. This language barrier has made some interactions a bit challenging, particularly when making purchases. However, I am determined to learn some Greek, and being in Greece provides the perfect opportunity to practice and learn.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Greek culture that I’ve noticed is their approach to dining. It’s common to see people spending hours at restaurants, leisurely sipping coffee, chatting, smoking, and catching up with friends. It’s a cultural norm here, and I find it quite interesting. A Greek friend even jokingly told me that if a Greek person invites you for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you should expect to be there for a couple of hours because that’s what they expect. I thought it was amusing and quite different from my experiences back home.
In terms of what I’ve learned, this experience has taught me to be more adaptable and resourceful when faced with challenges. It’s also given me a deeper appreciation for cultural differences and the importance of effective communication in a diverse world. I’ve gained a newfound perspective on the value of slowing down, savoring the moment, and truly enjoying the company of others.
Overall, these first three weeks have been a whirlwind of new experiences, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my time abroad will bring. I’m excited to continue learning about Greece, its people, and its culture while also discovering more about myself and my capabilities. This journey has already left a lasting impression on me, and I look forward to the personal growth and enrichment it will undoubtedly bring in the coming months.