When people told me, “Enjoy study abroad, it goes by in the blink of an eye” I never imagined that blink would be this fast. In my month here I made new friendships with Pitt students, local Cypriots and people visiting from various EU nations. The landscapes, villages and sea were truly beautiful and I am very blessed to have been able to go on this trip with these amazing sights and experiences I will remember forever.
My month here lead me to become a global citizen, being respectful and accepting of many different cultures and people. I’ve always had an interest in the Greek culture and I’m so happy I was able to be a part of it for a whole month. As our professor told us, just walking around in a foreign country is educational. I picked up on both small and big differences between the Cypriot and American cultures and actively wondered what the reason was for. Some of the big differences include the use of the metric system, different nutrition labels and driving on the left side of the road. I was still not used to this even at the end of the trip- I always would naturally look to the left for traffic coming first. The food was amazing- fresh salads, olive oils, wine, cheese and meats such as lamb were plentiful and among the best food I’ve ever eaten. The atmosphere here is what I really enjoyed the most. Their culture is very laid back and places emphasis on enjoying and relaxing- something the American culture needs to adopt. I also developed the desire to learn the Greek language. I learned a few words like “thank you” and “good morning”, but it is a new goal of mine to try to learn enough of the language to be able to have conversations with the Cypriots when I return one day 🙂
The classes Wealth & Power and Peace Movements that I completed while here really
opened my eyes to many new global perspectives including disputes, politics and economics. I also became more aware of the concept of American exceptionalism. Being removed from America and learning about other ways of life makes you understand that there are different ways to do things and we, as Americans, aren’t always right. Learning about issues in the classroom and then discussing them with local people is one of the things that made study abroad so special.
Finally– to any students reading this who have the opportunity to go abroad—GO!!!! Do not hesitate. If you have even the slightest interest in either the Cyprus or Greece programs, I highly recommend you go to one of them. These programs under the direction of Dr. Epitropoulous are second to none. As a Greek himself, his knowledge of the countries and the friendships he has will lead you to have an amazing experience outside of the classroom and his exceptional teaching skills and personality make classes dynamic and enjoyable.