Virginia French (Bradley)
Student Ambassador

School: Washington and Lee University
Cya Term: Spring 2021

Dear Virginia French, 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?

As someone interested in a career in archaeology and Classical academia, I found my experience in Greece invaluable as a way to understand my fields of study in practice. Visiting the sites I'd only read and spoke about made it much easier to visualize ancient life. I also gained a better understanding of life outside of the US, which I had not experienced for more than a few weeks at a time before this.

Though the similarities were plenty, I found myself exceeding and changing the boundaries of my comfort zone in many and important ways. Being far from well-established friends and family but also among new friends within and outside of my program also helped me develop senses of both self-sufficiency and when to ask others for help, even more so than regular college.

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

PACK LESS than you think you should. Don't be afraid to talk to people, in English OR Greek; most people you meet will be welcoming and patient. Give your classes equal effort and attention but perhaps not as much priority as in the states—while they're obviously important, some experiences may not be replicable later.

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:

The Friday farmer's market was perhaps my favorite time of the week—simply browsing all the different stalls of (mostly) produce and picking some out felt familiar to similar ones back home but also distinct. The amazing deals, shopping etiquette, and short conversations with vendors were a great look into normal life in the unfortunately limited atmosphere of the pandemic.

Briefly describe a cultural experience you had that was significant to you in any way.

Favorite food in Greece?

Anything with honey in it.

Favorite class you took at CYA?

Advanced Latin (I'm a sucker for translating, and Plautus's comedic writing was perfect). My answer could change in five minutes, though; every class I had was amazing and well worth it.

Favorite quote from abroad?

"So, this is the Acropolis. Any questions?"

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