Katy Nave - 2015 Program Participant
Why did you decide to study abroad?
I chose to study abroad because I wanted to experience my studies in a drastically different setting from the small liberal arts school near my home that I had attended for three years. I felt this experience would allow for some perspective and growth.
Why did you choose College Year in Athens (CYA)?
CYA first caught my attention because it offers an archaeological drawing course. I am an art major and have always been deeply interested in classics, so this was perfect; the class also happens to be taught by the top figure in the field. As I continued to read the course offerings, everything just sounded perfect, like it would allow me to study my favorite things with the awesome resources of Athens.
What was your favorite part about Athens?
Athens is a great city to study in, especially in a liberal arts perspective, because you have fantastic resources that relate to pretty much every field, since Athens is the birthplace of many fields. Plus, you have the added cosmopolitan and contemporary layers on top of the ancient. I may be biased in thinking that classics relates to everything, but it does! For example, another pre-med student who I studied with wrote a paper on Asklepios, the Greek god of healing and medicine for our Greek sculpture class. Athens is also a great gateway to the rest of Greece's natural beauty, islands, and mountains; Greece is insanely beautiful.
At the Palace of Knossos in Crete
What makes studying abroad with College Year in Athens unique?
CYA is different from a lot of study abroad programs in that instead of being one of multiple locations in multiple cities with a U.S. base, it is one location in Greece that has been there for 40 years. The faculty and staff really seem tied to the program (in a good way) and there is definitely a community feel to it. We had small class sizes, students lived very nearby in a small friendly neighborhood near the center, and over our group field trips we got to spend a lot of time with the staff and faculty, so I really felt comfortable there.
How did local staff support you throughout your program?
The staff and faculty were amazing about answering any and all practical questions about living in Greece. Even more though, they really did seem to want us to experience Greece like a Greek. They talked to us about the customs and then helped us practice them. Quite a few times students were invited to dinner with professors and staff where they talked to us about the local foods and then ate them with us. I think this really speaks to the very engaging and personable culture of Greece and is really one of the most beautiful things about the country that I saw.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
I do wish I had taken another course, maybe a philosophy or political science course, because those seemed really interesting. I took two art history courses, Greek language, and archaeological drawing. I loved Greek sculpture with Anne Stuart so much, and archaeological drawing was a dream come true. I definitely could have made more efforts in Greek, but I would have liked another more challenging course.
Describe a day in your life as an international student in Greece.
I volunteered at the Blegen library in the American School of Classical Studies while I was there, so two days a week I'd wake up, make breakfast in our small, lovely kitchen, eat on the balcony over Eratosthenous street, grab some coffee at the bakery Kekkos across the street, then walk 20 minutes to the library. After that I’d have lunch in the academic center and then late class. Other days I’d meet my Greek sculpture class, either in the Acropolis Museum or the National Archaeological Museum, for lectures; we had views of the Acropolis pretty much the whole time!
Spring break trip to Istanbul
What did you enjoy doing in your free time?
The neighborhood Pagrati that students live in has some really great cafes. I loved just walking around and finding one and, as I was taught to do, sitting for hours with coffee. I also loved walking through the National Gardens nearby.
What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?
We had small apartments, usually four to five in each and two to three students’ apartments per building of normal residents. It was really great how we were all in close proximity. My friend had the apartment opposite me on the second floor and we'd sit out on our facing balconies talking across the street! The apartments were basic, but super functional. CYA provides a great stock of basic kitchen supplies and I loved being able to cook for myself most of the time.
Now that you're home, how has studying abroad impacted your life?
CYA taught me to be more independent. It definitely encouraged experiencing new things and learning from the people you're with. I’ve definitely tried to retain the beautiful openness and engaging personalities of Greek people.