Athens 2023 Athens, Greece MSMU Travels

Hello from Athens

My name is Rosie Ballmann and I am currently a freshman studying communications at Mount St. Mary’s. I will be the blogging point of contact between Emmitsburg and Athens, Greece.

I have always had a great appreciation for the wideness of the world. While I grew up in a small town in Maryland, I have family in France that often traded visits across the ocean. 

I have been eager for opportunities to see more of the world.  Studying abroad seemed like a perfect opportunity for me.  As the school sent emails about study abroad opportunities, I would look through them to see which ones would be interesting. On a whim, I attended the information meeting about the semester-long program in Greece.  By the end of the meeting, I was hooked.  I figured out how to make the credits and classes work for my academic plan, and then I was ready to sign up.

I’m one of 13 students on this trip on this trip, led by Dr. Elaini Tsoukatos, assistant professor in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at the Mount. We are all in apartments spread across the Pangrati neighborhood of Athens. We are living on our own, which makes our immersion into Greek life even more exciting as we explore and learn for ourselves. That is not to say that we don’t have great resources and advice from our Mount professor as well as the staff at College Year in Athens (CYA). CYA is a school here in Athens that the Mount partnered with to provide courses that further immerse us in the history and culture of Greece.

We are being taught by two professors from CYA as well as our professor from the Mount. From CYA we are taking “Aegean Art and Archeology” and “Greek Life & Culture.” So far we have covered a wide array of topics and time periods as well as gone on walking tours of important buildings and museums in Athens. Dr. Tsoukatos is teaching “Beginning Modern Greek” and an elective “Greek Food and Cuisine.” In addition to these classes, I am also writing this blog and taking Japanese 102 asynchronously with Dr. Marco Roman of the Mount. I am really enjoying all the classes so far, and I’m excited to see what we will do next!

Since I arrived in Athens, I have already learned so much about myself in addition to the experiential learning about Greek culture. The people in Greece are very kind and willing to help me communicate. Many people have also been eager to teach me and my classmates new words or phrases.

We are here in Athens for 12 weeks.  I will check in weekly to let you know about our Greek experience. My focus for this blog will be food and cultural differences. I also hope to show people a new side of Greece and Athens that they might not have known about before. When people think of Greece they often talk about the islands in summer.  It snowed the day we walked to the Parthenon.  Athens gets winter too. In fact, Greece has more greenery in the winter than it does in the summertime when all the tourists come to visit.

I have included some of my favorite pictures from the last two weeks. I hope that you will continue reading!

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