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Athens, Greece: History, Culture, and Archaeology of Greece
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Abigail Mapel

Major: History
Minor: Sociology, Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I knew I was interested in studying abroad as soon as I started college so I visited the Penn State Global Programs website and found it myself! I did talk to my advisor to be sure it would be a good fit before applying.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience abroad was wonderful! I met some great friends in my program that helped make it all worth while. I explored a lot of Greece and even some nearby countries (on my own time). The best part was living in another culture, which turned everything into a big adventure. Even grocery shopping was exciting because the food was fresh and different than what I'm used to! I got to volunteer with refugees which helped me spend my time wisely and the classes were all even more interesting because we were living in a place we were learning about.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I am much better off academically now than I was before I went abroad. The classes reignited my love of learning because they were so fruitful and the professors were so passionate about what they taught. It was a shortened semester and we only had classes four days per week (so we had travel time for weekend trips) but that does not mean it was any easier than a normal semester. It may have even been harder. Still, my desire to experience the culture in which I was living while maintaining my GPA made me be much more diligent at doing my work in a timely manner. Also, I got to practice a couple foreign languages, which is really good for your brain and should help me in the future.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I have a couple of years left at Penn State. After this I hope to attend law school and then go one to practice law or maybe try to get into politics. I think this experience definitely helped me get better on track for that. I met people that were so driven and inspiring that they made me want to be better. Also, studying abroad makes you much more flexible as a person and I learned that I can really roll with the punches. I think the cultural intelligence that I gained from this experience can certainly not be overlooked. Of course, we all interact with people from other cultures every day, but it is not often that we actually get to live with them. This experience made me a more empathetic person that I know will help me no matter where I end up.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would 100% recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. This program is great because it is a whole semester so you get to actually live where you are studying and embrace a new way of life. Also, there are some core classes that everyone takes but there is still some give with your schedule that allows you to make sure you're taking classes that you want to take.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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