Why did you decide to study abroad with Athena Study Abroad in Greece?
Alexandra: I decided on Athena Study Abroad in Greece for many reasons. It was the one program that I walked away at my first study abroad fair thinking, "I have to do this!" Because it is a small art school, the curriculum is very unique and hands on. I didn't want to take a class that would cover a gen ed. I wanted to take classes that I would truly take something away from it. I am not an art major. I am an international studies major. I also loved the program because of it's unique location. A Greek island out in the middle of Mediterrianean Sea and living in a small town where you could really get a feel for the culture.
I will always be extremely grateful for Athena Study Abroad. I choose them originally for the program, and they offered a semester long trip. All of Athena's programs are unique. They also offered financial aid options. But, what I didn't expect was how much of a part they ended up playing in the success of my experience.
What made this experience unique and special?
Alexandra: Athena was extremely helpful from the first day I started applying. They are very personal, but professional all at the same time. If you have a question, or a concern, they go above and beyond to give you the best information they can. I never hesitated to shoot them an email, or phone call. You are treated extremely well, and walk away knowing that you choose the right provider.
The program itself was unique and special because the amount of personal attention and eventual growth you experience. These professors want to see you succeed every day. Because of the size of the school, the professors are able to get to know each student. They love their jobs, and love sharing their knowledge with the students. Lastly, because of the way the curriculum is taught, I feel that I learned so much about each subject. Some days you are sitting in a class, while others you are walking up a mountain, and the next you are on another island, learning the history and significance of it. There is also the great thing about the people you study abroad with. I studied with only 8 other people from across the United States. These 8 individuals, and the professors very quickly became my family for those 3 months.
How has this experience impacted your future? (Personally, professionally, academically, etc.)
Alexandra: This experience truly made me grow as an individual. It has made me view the world in a different perspective. It has also made me become a much more driven individual, and a better understanding with what I want to do in life. Professionally, it has pushed me to shoot for the stars, and accomplish things I wouldn't have had the confidence to do before. I also transferred colleges, and moved to a completely different state. Lastly, I hope to study abroad again before I graduate college. In fact, I hope to live abroad eventually. Once you study abroad, you want to do it over and over again.
What is the one piece of advice you would offer someone studying abroad in Greece?
Alexandra: I would tell them to take advantage of everything HISA, Athena, and the island of Paros has to offer. Athena is there at every step of the process, from beginning to end. Do not be shy to ask for help. I called them on a weekly basis at the beginning. HISA is nothing I have ever experienced, and probably will never experience again! Paros, and Greece in general, is a magical place. It will change your life, I guarantee it!