The Best Parts of Spending a Term Abroad in Greece


Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens

Will Grimwood, Contributing Writer

I was lucky enough to spend my 2022 fall semester in Greece. Through a study-abroad programme via Union, I was able to spend four months waking up in the Athenian suburb of Pangrati (Παγκρατι), taking classes on the Acropolis, experiencing a whole new language, culture, city and country. And while it wasn’t perfect, I look back at it with fond memories. The warm autumn nights, the refreshing Mediterranean, the valleys full of olive trees, it really is as idyllic as it may seem.

So why did I go to Greece? Well, the academic answer is to do a Classics minor, or at least it started that way. I wanted to round out my six courses in Classics, and by the end of my time I decided to go off and upgrade my minor to a second major. But, really, why did I go to Greece? I wanted to see some cool stuff. I wanted to go out and experience more of the world, I wanted to go and see a bunch of cool things.

So, if you are going to go to Greece, what is there to look forward to? If you go in the Fall, the start of semester is the big tourist season, and it’s great for some island hopping. Most people go over to Mykonos (Μύκονος) and Santorini (Σαντορίνη), but Crete (Κρετε), Corfu (Κέρκυρα) and Lesbos (Λεσβος) are also frequented. If, like me, you are an Athens-based classicist, the archeological sites are hard to beat, including the Agora, Hadrian’s Library and the Acropolis itself. 

For fine arts, I would suggest the National Archeological Museum has a large array of statues, coins, pottery and art. While laying its roots back to ancient times, Athens itself is moderately new, most of it being built within the last half a century. With this comes a lot of fun quirks, and by far, one of my favourite things to do was to go graffiti hunting; the sheer amount of street art you see is amazing.

Of course, as a college student, I can’t talk about studying abroad without talking about food, and Greece was no different. On the cheap end, and a regular “fine dining” experience was souvlaki, a pita filled with grilled meat, vegetables and fries, like a gyro. Although I don’t eat meat myself, I was told the lamb was to die for, especially in the moussaka. Around the holidays, melomakarona (μελομακαρονα) hit the café cookie counters, and when I say I could not get enough of these honey-soaked treats, I mean it. I almost tried to smuggle a suitcase full of them.

If you have the chance, I would absolutely recommend trying to study abroad if possible, and trust me, it is possible. I wasn’t sure before I left that I would be able to fit in all of my available classes at Union if I spent fall abroad, but there are ways to sort it. So absolutely sign up, speak to people and find yourself on the other side of the world. To find out more, go to this link for information on Union’s study abroad programs.

Acropolis of Athens
Philopappos Hill looking at the Acropolis of Athens