This news has sort of trickled out in dribs and drabs, but for my last coop I’m going to Greece with NUin. There’s a bit of info on the Greece page under the “Where I’ve Been” tab, as well as on my original announcement of employment.
Reasons I’m excited about Greece:
- It’s another Mediterranean country
- I get to go to Parker and Lauren’s wedding. The locations have different departure dates, and only Ireland or Greece would accommodate their August wedding. I know it sounds silly, but they’re my cousins and I would hate to miss a family wedding. I can’t think of a way to feel more homesick than to miss a big, fun event that my whole family goes to without me.
- I love foreign language settings (the other options were all English-speaking or Costa Rica). I’m sure I’ll have plenty of adventures to write about stumbling through Greek.
- To that end, this will be my first time to go abroad with no experience at all in the language
- That being said, i got a phrasebook and some language software (NOT Rosetta Stone. I’m not a fan.)
- I can go to Istanbul easily–it’s an 8 hour ride from Thess, and ACT runs a cheap weekend trip there every semester.
- I love the whole Greece/Cypres/Turkey dynamic
- I’m BEYOND pumped to submit an article to the NU Political Review about the Eurozone and Greece’s current economic situation. As my dad said, “Greece used to be fine, and then it wasn’t, so Delia decided to go!”
At this point, I have met my Site Director(SD), Chis, who is a retired history teacher and has tons of abroad experience. Plus, he speaks Japanese and has run 4 marathons–how cool is that?! There are three Assistant Site Directors (ASDs), Jennifer, Staci and Kelly. Jennifer was an intense corporate consultant before teaching English in Korea for a year. Staci just moved back from Baha, Mexico, and has also spent a lot of time in Australia. Kelly just had her birthday during our second orientation (yes, we sang and made the participants sing a bunch of times, too), and just finished her masters. All of them have masters degrees, actually. I’m really psyched to work with such a fun, smart group of people. We’ve all been getting along very well, and I’m excited to meet the other International Student Advisers (ISAs). There are 7 ISAs plus me. I’ve already met them all, and the general consensus is that Team Greece=Rock Star Team.
We’ve already had all three pre-departure orientations, or PDOs as the Boston staff insists on calling them. During orientations I’ve been able to get to know some of our Greece participants, watch the SDs and ASDs of other locations run their programs, and get the hang of how NUin runs their pred-departure. I’ve done pre-departure for study abroad, but it’s different when people stay overnight, their parents come, and they’re paying $30k for a semester. Plus, for NUin participants, this isn’t just a semester abroad–it’s their first semester of college, and for some it’s their first time out of the country or even their first time away from their parents for more than a week.
This job in general is pretty amazing, because it is really getting into the niche of using study abroad as a way to motivate people toward social responsibility. There will be a service-learning aspect, with a 30 hour volunteering commitment as well as a 1-credit course for reflection and discussion. I’m hoping I get to TA one of the sections, since so much of what I enjoy is examining travel, foreign cultures and volunteerism, so we can make the biggest, most effective impact possible. I’m also looking forward to some of the programming, from going to the movies in Greece (I always go to the movies abroad if I can help it) to climbing and camping on Mt. Olympus.
Let me know if you have any tips/advice on Greece, or on leading 145 college freshmen in a foreign country. I’ll need it!