Alumni Spotlight: Dillan Shouppe

Dillan is a University of Oregon alumni who spent her time as an undergraduate studying abroad in Greece and again in Japan. She jumps at the opportunity to travel and experience the world in any capacity.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I personally knew the staff member leading the trip, the shorter program would be a great first taste abroad, and who doesn’t want to earn college credit by eating food and learning about Greece’s historical culture?!

GEO Study Abroad is also very informative and helpful with any and every possible question I asked.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The only thing I organized on my own was booking my flight and getting to the group’s meeting point. Everything else they assisted with, and they even referred me to some great websites for affordable flights!

There were a couple of pre departure meetings to meet the other students in the program, what to expect, and how to prepare.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Let loose, be social, and have fun! This trip was all about meeting people and learning about their take on food culture. There isn’t much time to feel alone because you aren’t! You have a group you grow to know well who are with you most of the time as well as people in Greece who are very entertaining and easy to talk to, so be in the moment now so you don’t look back on the experience with any regrets.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

I hear it’s a little different now, but I’m sure it’s still a busy program. From early mornings to very late dinners in the evenings, the days are filled with private tours, farms, wineries, traveling to various cities, and more! There was so much to do every day it was hard to catch up on sleep. It was still so much fun, though!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was traveling on my own away from friends and family. I know it’s a common fear, but as long as you ensure to meet people and make some of those connections on your own, you’ll be fine. Also, programs like this one already form groups ahead of time so there is already some familiarity before exploring another country, which was very helpful.

People can worry about the aspect of safety. Did you feel safe while studying abroad?

Safety measures were already brought up and explained. Past programs had students who had their phone and belongings stolen when out and about, so it’s crucial to keep an eye on your belongings at all times and bring the minimum with you. Already going in knowing that helped a lot and I never experienced any issues.