Your finest chicken gyro for the American, please
I learned to say about 10 things in Greek when I visited Greece. Most of them had to do ordering food. The others included exotic phrases, such as “yes”, “no”, and “thank you”. Despite my concentration on food words, I once accidentally ordered an entire chicken. It was still alive. Regardless of my misfortune, I think the mix-up is symbolic of Greece as a country. The culture is very much focused on giving. When you go into a Greek home, you are immediately offered a meal, coffee, tea, or anything else that they have. If all they have left in their kitchen is a single piece of bread, they will give it to you if it means that they will later go hungry. Or they will give you an entire chicken. You just never know. It’s thrilling, really. Although Greece gets a bad reputation for their current economic crisis and corrupt
government and police forces, the people of Greece are arguably the kindest people you’ll ever encounter. If you go to Athens, I recommend straying from the beaten path (with a guide—trust me on this) and meeting people who are original to the area. They will be quick to befriend you, and you’ll truly experience the culture in a way that you wouldn’t if you just went to the Colosseum and took touristy pictures that a million other people have put on their Instagram.
A service opportunity, you say?
Lookout volunteer experience portion of your resume, because here comes a whammy. Because of the current state of Greece, relief organizations are always looking for help. I recommend looking into websites like GoAbroad.com, gooverseas.com, or globalvolunteers.org. There are all kinds of programs tailored to whatever you might be interested in. There’s even one to bring aid to sea turtles—just gonna throw this out there: http://www.gviusa.com/programs/volunteer-turtles-greece/
. If you’re in engineering or anthropology, there also a study abroad program here at A&M in Greece: https://engineering.tamu.edu/global/studyabroad/locations/greece
. If you’re worried about finances, Texas A&M Study Abroad has scholarships, as well as financial aid and grants specifically for study abroad programs: http://studyabroad.tamu.edu/Funding/Scholarships
. Even if Greece isn’t quite your thing, I highly encourage you to just go anywhere. Traveling during school is a possibility, and you can go talk to an adviser on campus in the Study Abroad Program Office on the first floor of The Pavilion—right by Evans and the central parking garage.
Go forth and see the world.
by Megan Lafleur, College of Public Health