Location: Paros, Greece
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Major: Media Arts & Science
Program Name: Greece: Documenting Historical Cultural Artifacts & Traditions
Career Plans: Web Developer and Designer
We have to have a certain number of 400-level Media Arts & Science classes, and the Greece program fulfilled one of those requirements.
Initial Thoughts on Arrival
When I first got out of my taxi to go into our living arrangements, there was a beautiful white archway with flowers all over it, and a grey cobblestone path. Across the way, people were hanging their laundry out to dry. It felt very homey.
We stayed at the Villa Katerina, which was a small hotel in the port of Parikia. Everyone shared a room with one other person. I loved it! There was a pool across the street with a full kitchen so that we could make our meals if we wanted to.
The students were broken up into three teams where we all worked on a different documentary about an archaeological site on the island. I also flew my drone and got aerial footage for everyone’s documentaries as well as some other projects for island residents.
On this trip in particular, we had access to a full kitchen, as well as were within walking distant to a couple markets and grocery stores, so my advice would be to eat out for dinner, but eat breakfast and lunch at home. I could still get a lot of good Greek food at the grocery store, but was able to cook it myself. This kept me hundreds of dollars under budget.
Leisure & Travel
Part of the program is that we have one long weekend to do whatever we would like. Since the Greek islands are so
connected via ferries, it was very easy trip for us to travel to Santorini for a couple of days. We stayed in this small, lovely beachside bed and breakfast with a very cozy, small environment, and then ate out three meals a day at various roof top restaurants and bars overlooking Oia, Santorini. We also went on a four-hour catamaran tour from the southern to northern tip of the island where we swam and visited red, white, and black sand beaches.
Paros has a fair number of tourists’ seasons later in the summer. Most of the people on the island speak very good English and were all incredibly welcoming to us on their island. In particular, Katerina, the owner of the hotel where we stayed, would regularly ask us how we were doing and was always willing to give us advice on how to approach and experience Greek culture.
In Greece, the locals eat dinner very late (9 or 10 pm) and it typically lasts 2-3 hours. This is because they have a very
social nightlife; everyone goes out, including the children. It took a few days to adjust, as in America, everyone eats at 5
or 6pm and we rush through meals and turn tables. As a result of the culture, the restaurants don’t want you to eat and
leave; Greek culture is all about hospitality and their main objective in restaurants is to take care of you and show you a
What’s your best memory from your time abroad?
I went on this trip with my girlfriend at the time, and we got engaged on the second night on Paros.
Effect on Career Goals
Did this trip reaffirm your career goals? Did it change them? What skills did you learn on this trip that will help you?
Before this trip I had never really travelled, and I had definitely not traveled for extended periods abroad. For me, this was an excellent learning experience, and it actually shaped my career aspirations. I learned about my love for travel and spending time in other countries and cultures. I realized that rather than working a traditional 9-5 in an office, I really would like to work remotely as a web designer and developer, and live around the world for a few years after graduation.
My advice would be to be really money conscious where it matters, and then go all out where you can. Because I ate
simple breakfasts and lunches at the Villa, I had plenty of money to engage in more important, once in a lifetime
opportunities. While some people stayed on the island for our long weekend, I had saved money aside to be able to travel to Santorini. This, to me, was all possible because of my simple, cheap breakfast and lunches at the Villa.
If you are worried about traveling, or you haven’t done it before, don’t let that keep you from going. College, for most
people, is the last point in your life when you can genuinely give up a month of your life to go live in another country.
Getting there takes one long day, and it is stressful if you haven’t done it before, I won’t lie. But the reward is immense
and it is so worth it.