I Wish I Was Still There! December 06, 2020

By (Goucher College) - abroad from 01/11/2020 to 03/15/2020 with

Webster University: Athens - Odyssey in Athens

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I cannot emphasize enough how much this experience changed my life. I learned so much about Greek culture, got to learn some of the language, and met so many incredible people who I still keep in touch with. My boyfriend went on the same program a few years before me and we're seriously considering trying to get work and live in Greece permanently once I graduate.

Review Photos

Webster University: Athens - Odyssey in Athens Photo

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.

Some classes were less rigorous than I'm used to at my home institution but I LOVED my Greek language class and instructor. I highly recommend taking the class.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Dina is absolutely incredible, she made us feel at home in Athens right away. She made sure that we always had everything that we needed and went above and beyond to find opportunities for us that matched our interests. Once my roommate couldn't go on a day trip because she was a little bit sick and afterward Dina came to our apartment personally to drop off some soup and make sure she was okay. I can't stress enough how incredible Dina is.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Our apartment was amazing!!!! The building was right in the center of Athens and only a two-minute walk to the university. It also had incredible access to public transportation, amazing restaurants, shopping, cultural and historical landmarks, and the National Garden.

* Food:

The food was absolutely amazing and so so cheap. My favorite places are: Ama Lachei has a gorgeous, sunny patio with vine-covered terraces overhead, and everything I've ever tried there was incredible. Τυφλόμυγα Καφενείο is a tiny kafeneio with traditional Greek dishes. Their grilled halloumi is definitely the best I've ever had, it's a must-try. Birdman is a Japanese grill and restaurant only a block away from the university. My roommate and I went on a regular basis to have their Iberico Pork Katsu Sando and a glass of wine. I still have dreams about that sandwich almost a year later. The Pie Shop is right down the street from the university on Voulis and Ermou st. The shop is owned by the sweetest French-Greek women. They always sent us home with one or two free pies and made us feel like family.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Athens offers so many amazing opportunities to explore your interests and meet locals, you just have to know where to look for them. I suggest looking for local events and groups on Facebook that match your interests as most Greeks use Facebook to organize events. While I was there I took an amazing tango class which is where I met most of my Greek friends. I also found some cool yoga classes and music/arts events in the city by looking on Facebook. Making Greek friends is definitely the key to finding out about the best bars, restaurants, and events.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Dina was so great at making sure that we were all healthy and had everything that we needed to stay that way. If you're ever sick at Webster in Athens, just tell Dina and she'll either have a doctor come for a home visit or arrange for you to be taken to the hospital. I always felt so safe while I was there knowing that I had Dina.

* Safety:

Athens is definitely a very safe city. The biggest thing you need to worry about is being pickpocketed, and Dina and Tom make sure to give you all the tips and tricks for avoiding that as soon as you arrive. None of us on my trip that I know of ever had anything stolen while we were there. I would also suggest, especially for women, that since you're living in a new city and don't have a firm understanding of which areas are more unsafe than others, always go in pairs if you're out after dark until you get to know the area. That being said, I spent a lot of time in Exarchia (it was where my Tango class was) which is considered one of the more dangerous neighborhoods in Athens, and I never felt unsafe or had a bad experience.

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

I am highly considering coming back for a graduate program. I wish I could have stayed longer to see more of the country and spend time with my friends.

Finances

* 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 about $230/week while I was abroad which was far more than I needed to get by. I'm sure if I had budgeted, ate at home more, and used public transportation more often, and gone on fewer international trips I could have gotten by on less than $80/week.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Definitely buy most of your groceries at the farmers' market instead of going to Bazaar or AB. The food is fresher and far less expensive. Dina will take you there in your first week to show you where it is and how it works. I would also get yourself a bus/train pass and learn how to get around on public transportation rather than by taxi. Also, look for free events around the city, there are so many! Facebook is a great place to look and Dina is also an awesome resource.

Language

* 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

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • 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?
  • The excursions
  • New friendships
  • Staff and faculty
* What could be improved?
  • More class options
  • Seminar style classes
  • Longer semesters!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known that COVID would cut our time short. I would have spent less time traveling to other countries and spent more time exploring Greece and finding more fun activities to get involved with in Athens. I traveled to London and Rome and they couldn't even begin to compare. Athens is truly an amazing city.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'