Marianna Rollins
Student Ambassador

School: College of the Holy Cross
Cya Term: Spring 2021

Dear Marianna Rollins, based on your experience with CYA, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester or summer abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?

You really learn a lot about yourself, others, your environment, and the world when you leave your hometown, college campus, and even country. It sounds cheesy, but I learned a lot about myself, how I perceive others, how I interact with others, and how others interact with me studying abroad. Especially studying abroad during covid, I had more time in Athens and Pagrati and with my roommates. We spent a lot of quality time talking and getting to know each other more. You learn how to accept others’ differences and views, how to navigate conflict, how to step outside from yourself and your own personal and cultural bias to understand others. Staying in Pagrati with a mostly empty and closed Athens I got the experience of "living Greek experience" instead of just viewing it as a tourist. I went to the same small shops and cafes and built relationships. I got to learn about others and their experiences. Academically, I learned a lot in my classes, especially on field trips. Being able to visit sites that are closed off to the public is truly a privilege, especially when they are moderated by professors who are top professionals in their fields and can really answer your questions and make the experience so much more educational and meaningful than just reading a brochure. As for professional development, I realized just how much I love Greece and it has changed my plans for my future career-wise and academically. I realized I really enjoy European life, and am now looking into studying for my master’s in Europe and hopefully find a job in museums or archaeology/art/history in Greece after for a few years.

What advice do you have for prospective students who are interested in or planning to study abroad with CYA?

It is hard to get specific vitamins and supplements and like medical creams that you are used to having in the US, so bring your own medicine and supplements Greece is also more sunny and warm than I realized, so bring sun hats sunscreen, and more summer clothes than you think you would need. Be prepared to talk to strangers on the street, Greeks are very talkative and interact with you even if they don't know you, and they often have strong opinions (often positive, but not always) of Americans and their perspectives of America

How was the political climate in Greece different from what are you used to? If applicable, describe a time when you had to navigate a political conversation during your time abroad.

Politics and political participation, especially in terms of protests, is a common occurrence in Greece, but it is often very organized, quick, and does not turn violent or into riots. I was very interested in how involved Greek young adults are in the socio-political sphere

Please select any of the following that apply to you, and that you would be willing to share about your CYA experience with other students:

LGBTQ student, Accessibility services, Finances while abroad, Mental health while abroad

Favorite food in Greece?

oregano, potato chips and coffee

Favorite class you took at CYA?

Gender and Sexuality in Modern Greek Culture Athropology with Aimee Placas

Favorite quote from abroad?

"My feet have been everywhere but my brain has not" (a quote my friend said)

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