Studying Abroad IS POSSIBLE FOR YOU! IPSL Helped me Make it Happen. March 24, 2021

By (Roosevelt University) - abroad from 09/10/2019 to 12/10/2019 with

IPSL: Greece - Refugees, Migration and Resilience & Micro-Entrepreneurship

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained and grew so much on this trip to Greece. Besides the amazing relationships I built while there, this was the trip that segued into my international humanitarian career, which is what I'm doing now in Iraq. It was the experience of a lifetime, and I'll cherish it forever.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

This was the first course that taught me to "think differently" by literally making the world our classroom. My professor fused current events (in northern Greece at the time) with my interests to really cater this course to what would resonate with me most. The Community Organization and Social Activism (COSA) course I took during this program, along with writing my thesis, will stay with me as some of the most impactful educational information I've consumed.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I felt so supported by the program administration while in Greece; so much so, that they are now like family to me. They were well connected, advocated on my behalf to cater the program to my specific interests, and made me feel incredibly comfortable during my trip.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had my own one-bedroom apartment in the city center, a few blocks from the Mediterranean Sea! I could not imagine a more perfect housing situation for this experience.

* Food:

The food was incredible!! Greek/Mediterranean cuisine has become one of my favorites, and the IPSL staff went out of their way to introduce me to as much of it there as possible.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My program staff went to great lengths to help me integrate with the local culture and interact regularly with refugees in the region as well.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Thessaloniki was incredibly safe. Like anywhere else, you need to keep an eye on your things/ don't keep valuable things in pockets of your backpack. But overall, I felt very safe.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I cannot speak highly enough of my experience with IPSL Global Institute and the positive impact it has had on the trajectory of my life since participating in their study abroad program in the Fall of 2019. My circumstances were rather non-traditional, working full-time in Chicago with one semester left of my master's degree. Despite the many obstacles that presented themselves (one being that I was the very first graduate student at my university to study abroad, so we literally had to pave the way), IPSL was there every step of the way; to answer all of my questions and cater a program *perfect* for me! Finishing my master's degree in Greece with IPSL was the experience of a lifetime. My program director and professor there guided me throughout my trip and made me feel like family. I had opportunities to explore outside of the city including Mount Olympus and was connected with local organizations serving vulnerable populations. Through them, I coordinated and taught Trauma Recovery Yoga classes to children experiencing homelessness and refugees in a camp outside of the city. Besides being incredibly responsive, intuitive and knowledgeable, the staff at IPSL took the time to get to know me and what I truly hoped to get out of this experience. I've since learned the extent to which they connect with their community partners and genuinely care for invest in the communities their participants are serving. It was genuinely one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life, and it wouldn't have been possible without the staff at IPSL genuinely striving to "make my dreams come true," as they do for each student that joins their programs.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I had the fortune of working virtually during my program, so maintaining a budget was no problem. Anyways, a student could certainly get by living frugally in Thessaloniki.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $40


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • N/A
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • It was catered to my interests working with refugees and trauma-informed care
  • The staff at IPSL were so responsive and addressed any questions or concerns I had throughout the entire process
  • IPSL is grassroots, so I immediately felt part of the team, and now I feel like a part of their family; these are relationships you have for life.
* What could be improved?
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It is TOTALLY REALISTIC for average people to study abroad - even those of us working full time or crippled by this limiting belief that studying abroad isn't an option for you! I was a non-traditional student but I was determined, and IPSL helped me make this happen - better than I could've ever dreamed!

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Community Organizing & Social Activism (COSA)

Course Department:
Instructor: William Gianopulos
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was the last class of my master's degree, and by far my favorite class of all time! My professor made the world our classroom, taking me on field trips, introducing me to local figures that worked with refugees (my area of interest), and fusing current events with textbook understandings of my field of study.
Credit Transfer Issues: The credit transfer was incredibly smooth.