Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Diving into Greece

After months of planning, three plane rides, and over two days of traveling, arriving in Crete was the most amazing feeling in the world. Driving up the mountains and toward the Institute was a very scenic and beautiful ride, although it was night time I could already tell that this place was going to capture my heart and mind. Being my first time ever coming to Europe, I had plenty of reservations about studying abroad that scared me probably much more than the average 21 year old student. What would the people be like and where was I going to sleep? What would happen if I didn't understand anything that anyone was saying and how could I possibly take in so much at one time?
The answer was simple. And pulling into the driveway to a glowing patio full of laughter and feeling the warm breeze of Xania was like a reassuring wave that immediately put all my worries aside. Its extremely hard to describe the people I have met thus far. Beginning on the first night, tired and weary from multiple hours of travel, we were greeted at almost midnight with a full three course dinner and treated like family that had come to visit after a long time away. I think that the people are the biggest part of Crete, and although i haven't traveled to many countries, I cannot express how much this experience has brought to light the fact that no matter where you come from, or who you are, there are human connections that intertwine all of us in ways I didn't truly see before this experience. Sure, going to college 2 hours away from home and starting off with a completely new group of people was certainly eye opening, but being thousands of miles away from home in a completely different culture than mine, while still feeling that comfort of home influenced me in ways I don't think Ill ever truly be able to convey in words. The people that I have met thus far in Xania have shown me ethics and morals similar to that of my own family at home. Hard work, a smile, and extra compassion can bring you the greatest joy in life, and the happiness in the eyes of the women and men that work hard everyday to make our experience what it is only ensures me that cultural barriers are only a state of mind.


  1. Hello Tamara!

    We are excited to "be with you" on this adventure and are looking forward to reading more of your blog posts! You already sound as if you are having an amazing time and learning so much. Take as many pictures as you can! This seems like a terrific program and we are so glad you are placed in a wonderful home much like that back here. Enjoy every single little thing you do - Much love, Danielle & Matt <3