The first few weeks of my program have already exceeded my expectations. Starting out, I was little skeptical about the structure of my program because it was set up so we moved around to different locations and hotels and traveled by bus frequently. But now I think this design is much better than staying in one location. This way, we are able to experience many cities and boroughs in Greece like Tolo, Nafplio, Patras, Kaifas, and Athens. So far, our typical day varies and is a little spontaneous too, which I like. Most days we wake up in the morning eat breakfast at the hotel then take a bus trip to a tourist site or historical location. Afterwards, we might get lunch in a nearby cafe or town where we could explore, walk around, or shop. Later we would go back to the hotel, eat dinner, and maybe do a little bit of work then hang out or explore the nightlife in the area. But this is not how everyday went, sometimes we would have lectures instead of site visits but mainly had lectures on the bus and learned from experience.
There are 24 Pitt students on the trip, and each of us are paired with a roommate for each hotel we move to. Some hotels are nicer than others but they all generally offer the same amenities. The variable amenities are things such as pools, fitness areas, nearby marketplaces, nearby beaches, and comfortable beds. But all of the places were extremely nice and had great management. The hotels are usually filled with other tourist groups like us but from different countries like Germany and china.
Tourism is a huge industry in Greece and is very integral to their economy. Many locals work just for the tourist season and take off or do something else for the other parts of the year. But when they work the tourist season they really put in a lot of effort; I can not count the number of times people approach me asking to buy things from their shop or eat at their restaurant. But it’s apparent that this type of promotion is necessary because the industry is so competitive and they all mostly sell the same things. However, the food has been delicious and the art and culture is beautiful. I learned that the month of may is almost the perfect time to come to Greece because the weather is nice and this month is right before when the bulk of the tourist season hits allowing you to see the tourist sites before they get too crowded. The only downside is that the county is apparently a lot more lively a little later into the summer. So far I have been having a great time in Greece and look forward to experiencing and learning more about Greek culture