Samantha Brooks ’16
To be honest, I am not sure there are enough adjectives in the English language to describe the experience I had in Greece. The hardest part I have found is having to readjust to reality. When I signed up for this trip, I was excited; when I left for this trip, I was nervous; and when I returned from this trip, I was changed. How could I not be?
I dipped my feet in springs on Mount Olympus, I climbed the steps to the Parthenon, and actually stood in front of the tomb of Phillip II (father of Alexander the Great). These are moments I will never forget.
If all that was not enough, as an elementary education major, I found it was a tremendous opportunity to not only visit and observe several schools, but also to actually integrate myself into their classrooms.
“Not many American teachers can say they traveled to Greece and taught in a classroom for a day. It will make me a better teacher.”
— Samantha Brooks ’16
The following observations were made during my short visit. The people of Greece are loud and vibrant. Every conversation, from child to adult, seems animated. The food is beyond fantastic, with my favorite being tzatziki, a sauce or dip used on gyros. Greek salads don’t actually contain lettuce, and fried cheese with honey is without a doubt the best dessert ever. I swear feta cheese and wine are necessary for it to be considered a real Greek dinner.
Everywhere you look, there is a piece of history. It seems as if every building, walkway, or ruin has an extravagant story behind it. Parking is insane. You will undoubtedly see many people double-parked everywhere. We were told that car owners will place their phone numbers on the windshield, and you need only call, and they will come and move their cars. If you receive a T-shirt for surviving a taxi ride in New York City, then you should receive a gold medal for surviving a taxi ride in Greece. Think Grand Theft Auto meets NASCAR.
I take away from this trip an overabundance of pictures, unforgettable memories, and lasting personal connections. I will never forget the people I met in Greece, nor the kindness and hospitality they showed to me and my fellow travelers.
I know that I am forever changed, not only by the culture but also by the friends with whom I have shared this once-in-a-lifetime journey. I will forever hold them dear.
For more images from Saint Leo’s international trips, visit spirit.saintleo.edu/travel.