Sadie Brownlee
Student Ambassador

School: Pacific Lutheran University
Major: Economics and Transnationalism

Miss Sadie Brownlee, 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?

Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to be at your most vulnerable and open yourself up to growth. Leaving campus and everything within it strips you from the familiarity you have established at school and forces you to adjust to a new space. Personally, my month in Greece so far has taught me how to take care of myself. I've learned what I need to buy at the grocery store to have enough to eat for the week and what I need to do to best orient myself within my new environment.

I am learning how to hold myself accountable for doing homework, cleaning my apartment, and buying groceries on a regular basis. My study abroad experience has been the first time in my life that I feel truly independent. Volunteering at an NGO has taught me patience and persistence. It is because of these qualities that I am able to teach unaccompanied minors English, a spectacular opportunity to connect with the various communities in Athens. Most importantly though, studying abroad has taught me the importance of building relationships with the people around you.

When you are thrown into the middle of the water you have to find your buoys. I have done this by frequenting the local business in my neighborhood of Pangrati. The convenience store clerks, cooks at the kebab restaurant below my apartment, and owner of my favorite coffee shop all know me by name, and I see them every day. The familiar faces you begin to acquire make your new home feel like home, and you don't feel so foreign anymore.

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

While studying abroad is already stimulating enough, volunteering is definitely worthwhile. There are tons of opportunities to work with people in a field you are interested in and resources to help you get connected. The more people you can meet and get to know, the more meaningful your experience is going to be and the faster Greece will feel like home.

In the same vein, put yourself out there and explore! Athens is home to numerous museums, historical sites, unique neighborhoods, arts venues, and lovely businesses. Identify the places you feel comfortable at and make a habit to go there often. Personally, I love to visit the art museums around the city and I try a new one each week. I like being able to learn about Greek culture from ancient times all the way up to the present and it is fun to recommend the exhibits I like to others.

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.

Greeks are very active in politics and participate in demonstrations often. I was surprised by how aware everyone in Greece is about the politics of their country and their role on the global stage. Talk of politics is highly encouraged and very common practice.

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:

Religion while abroad

Favorite food in Greece?

Cretan Meatballs with Tzatziki

Favorite class you took at CYA?

The European Governance of Migration

Favorite quote from abroad?

"I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free." Nikos Kazantzakis

What extracurricular activities were you involved with in Greece?

Volunteering at Faros

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