Smarika Suwal
Student Ambassador

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

Miss Smarika Suwal, 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?

My semester abroad was easily the best one of my entire college experience. Even during the pandemic and lockdown, Greece still had so much to offer in the way of history, hospitality, and rich academic, social, and cultural experiences. As a Classics and History double major, I was expecting the thorough and engaging education on antiquity that I received at CYA, but I did not realize I would be confronting the intermingled threads of the past and present in everyday life.

History is very much alive in Greece, and through their emphasis on field study and encouragement of independent exploration, CYA allowed me to bridge the often present gap between my ancient and historical studies and their effects on the modern, "real" world and modern, real people. Going forward, I take with me not only the academic and skills and connections that I need to succeed, but also an understanding of my role as a global citizen and the interconnected ways my fields of study directly impact the present.

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

Don't be afraid to push past your comfort zone! I am very much an introvert and a homebody, but I found that growth only happens out of discomfort, and that some of my best experiences were in times and places that I was least expecting. It can already be daunting enough to move to another country, much less put yourself out there and talk to strangers in a language you barely understand, but the results are often incredibly rewarding. You get as much as you put in to the experience!

With that said, don't always feel like you need to be doing everything with everyone; it's completely understandable that you might need time to yourself or to unwind in the midst of so many changes. Overall, your time in Greece will fly by, and you won't want to leave by the end!

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
Student of color
Finances while abroad
Religion while abroad
Mental health while abroad
First generation student

Dear Smarika Suwal, briefly describe a cultural experience you had that was significant to you in any way.

The extent of Greek hospitality never failed to surprise me. Whether it was Dimitris and Katerina at Kekkos who pushed armloads of pastries and ice cream on us, the friendly restaurant owner in Crete who gave us a whole bottle of raki, or the jewelry saleswoman who attached an extra charm to my gift I bought for my mother, I truly felt welcomed by the people of Greece.

Favorite food in Greece?

Pork gyros in Thessaloniki

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