Expanding my Greek Knowledge

Hello!  I’m finishing up my first week in Greece and wanted to look back on some of my goals and share how I have already started to attain them.

First Day Goals:

Personally

I hope to have experiences to draw from when thinking critically about issues that are rapidly changing in many regions of the world.  The struggles that I will explore in Greece regarding national debt levels, unemployment, stressed infrastructure and social changes are being felt universally.  Studying what is going on in Greece and interacting with locals will help me understand the politics and social movements and make me a more informed voter and activist in my own country as the US faces similar problems. 

Academically

I want to grow intellectually in areas that I’m keenly interested in, such as history and international politics, which I haven’t been able to pursue.  Further, having an in-person view of what’s happening to the Greek economy will be a great context to draw from as I approach material in my future business and business economics courses.

Professionally

Studying abroad in Greece will give me experience in building international relationships and adapting.  I want to sharpen my skills at effectively connecting with people living in different countries since it will be interesting, good for my social growth and insight into how complex challenges are being experienced by people in other countries and an increase in confidence living and working outside of the United States.  I hope to discover how problems are being tackled abroad and be more innovative when I return.

How I Attained my Goals:

Course Learning and Local Conversations

            During our first course sessions, I learned about current political struggles in Greece that relate directly to Greece’s national debt, unemployment and social division.  Specifically, Greece’s prime minister is not investing in infrastructure or protecting its middle to poor classes, instead creating more privatization, stopping protests, taxing unequally and lying about efforts to prevent austerity and form a free Greece.  Further, we discussed the United States’ role in Greece’s civil war and the Turkish hold in Cyprus, changing the way I interacted with Greeks.  Knowing that Greece’s people hold poor feelings towards the United States’ intervention reminded me that our countries’ past decisions have a great impact on the relationships I can form abroad.  I had to be able to express my political ideals in my conversations and understand why there could be resentment.

Site Seeing

I had the opportunity to live out Greek history at historical sites. For example, we traveled to Mycenae, and I was able to stand where kings Agamemnon and Menelaus decided on the Trojan war.  Further, I saw the town where Perseus was supposedly born, where Hippocrates practiced medicine and where Olympic games were held.

What I Gained:

Through obtaining more knowledge on the political strife occurring in Greece, I saw why its economy is struggling and why so many Greeks are leaving.  This also shows me what many other European countries are facing under the EU’s control regarding debt, making me more informed for if I travel or work abroad in my future.  

My knowledge of history also grew through seeing the locations of significant Greek events.  After learning about so many stories during my life, it was amazing to see the spots in person and expand my curriculum outside of business.

I can’t wait to learn and develop more over these next few weeks!