I learned more than I ever imagined, not only about Greece and the Island of Lesvos, but also about the Syrian refugees and myself. Never did I dream I would wake up to the cool breezes of the Aegean Sea coming in through my bedroom window, but this became a normal occurrence everywhere I went on this program.
A unique event that I did that highlights why studying abroad is better than study on campus was volunteering at a refugee camp. As you may know Greece is not only in a crisis financially which was really interesting to learn about and observe the hardships, but they also have an abundance of refugees coming from places such as Syria.
I walked further along, looking out over the Dardanelles and its aqua-blue waters, going past hillside orchards and a clump of well-tended beehives before turning back.
At the bottom, a boat was waiting to take us on an adventure of volcano-sized proportions.
While we learned about the differing political parties in Turkey and the political history of the Turkish Republic, I was also able to experience the tension and vitality of the political atmosphere when talking to Turkish citizens, students, politicians, shop owners, etc.
For me the best experience from this study abroad was when the group went and cleaned a campsite that was being used by a NGO to house refugees that were escaping from war torn countries into Greece.
Ross in Turkey: Needless to say, any expectations that I may have had were exceeded. The people were some of the most friendly I have ever met, the places we visited were breathtaking, and the food was excellent.
Michael in Turkey: That’s what was so great about the summer program in Turkey: I was having a great time, but I was also learning and through this I realized the importance of learning.
If I wanted to make the most of this experience, I had to make the effort, leave my ideals, and hope for the best. It is about taking a risk. This study abroad has taught me if I want to truly become the best person I can be, I must be open minded. I must take a risk and hope for the best.
I packed certain aspects of this culture and the lessons it taught me to take home and keep with me forever.