Top 7 Things I Miss About Greece
Kristen – GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Alumna Ambassador
By Kristen Casserilla – Kristen is a GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Alumna Ambassador who studied abroad at the American College of Thessaloniki. Kristen is from Middle Tennessee State University.
As a student who experienced 10 months abroad in Thessaloniki, Greece, I find myself day dreaming about it daily. These are a few of the things I find myself missing the most:
7. The food – My decision to go to Greece was based on 25% impulse and 75% food. I would suffer through a 10 hour flight if that meant I could get a gyro from Spata or a crepe from Twins. These Chicago styled gyros just are NOT cutting it. There was a fresh market twice a week just a block from my apartment where I could get two weeks’ worth of groceries for 15 American dollars. This fresh market would stretch over five blocks and be filled with fruit, vegetables, meat, and all the cheese you could ever dream of. Moreover, most of the restaurants in Thessaloniki would offer you a free dessert. After a year in Greece, I find myself a little spoiled when I have to pay for my crème brulee at the end of my meal in America.
6. The campus – As someone who attends a college of 30,000+ students, downsizing to a college of less than 350 was a bit of a shift. It was more than just students attending classes, but it was more of a community. The campus consisted of two buildings, one of which is a library, so you’re constantly surrounded by the students and staff. The café in the main building acted as the watering hole, where everyone filled their frappe addiction and sang karaoke. The professors knew everyone on a first name basis and were genuinely interested in having their students succeed. My best grades of my college career come from both of my semesters in Greece and that’s no coincidence. Thanks, ACT! My GPA is grateful.
5. The lifestyle – One of my favorite local Greek words is “Χαλαρά,” which can translate as “relax.” As a college student I often get caught up in the process of graduating and forget to sit back, relax, and enjoy life. Greeks are adamant about ignoring the hands on the clock and paying attention to the world surrounding you. Sitting at a coffee bar for 3 hours sipping on the same coffee you started with might sound absurd, but it is one of the biggest things I miss about my daily activities.
4. Did I mention the food? – Seriously, people. This food is GOOD.
3. The landscape – Thessaloniki has everything to offer when it comes to scenery. The city is placed along the Thermaic Gulf with the silhouette of Mount Olympus in the distance. One weekend I could swim in the hot springs under a waterfall, hike the legendary Mount Olympus, or sunbathe on one of the famous beaches of Halkidiki. ACT offered weekend excursions to explore the beauty with trips ranging from sailing around the Aegean to canyoning down Mount Olympus. Plus, the famous whitewashed walls of Santorini and Mykonos are just a day trip away. Greece is never boring and it’s ALWAYS beautiful. And that’s an understatement.
2. The people – There’s something about experiencing culture shock, learning a new language, and binging on gyros that makes people bond. I think my abs still ache from all the times I’ve laughed with friends over the time I pronounced the word “taverna” wrong. Despite the distance I still keep up with the closest friends I made while abroad and I’m counting down the days until our reunion.
1. The experience – I would use every cliché in the book to describe my experience abroad. There’s a list a mile long of all the things I miss; but, to miss them means I experienced them, and that’s what’s most important to me.