Settling into School

It’s hard to believe that I have been living here in Greece for almost six weeks and that I’m almost done with my third week of classes. Time moves strangely here, fast and slow at the same time. I have a feeling it’ll be time to say goodbye before I even know it.

One thing that is easy to countdown here are my classes. Unlike the U.S., my classes only meet once a week for three hours (with the exception of my Greek language class which meets twice a week for 90 minutes). Additionally, the university I’m attending is on a quarter system which means our term is only 10 weeks long, instead of the typical 15. Ten class periods. That’s all you get before the quarter is done and the last class session is when you take your final. Time flies in the Greek higher education system.

It’s definitely taking some time to get used to, but it has its advantages. Because we’re not restrained to one hour, we can do a significant amount of lecturing and discussion in the same class period. My school also has an online intranet user, so that we can have discussions on discussion boards online outside of class. Even though we don’t see each other multiple times a week, which I’ve found can definitely affect the relationship I have with my fellow students and professor, there seems to be a certain sense of focus in class that I find can be lacking in classes back home sometimes.

Another thing that I’m getting used to is the fact that everyone is bilingual at a minimum. In my business class, it is not uncommon to be having a discussion in English one second and then switch to Greek the next (which poses some obvious problems for me). I envy them though; I wish I had a grip of two languages well enough to even attempt to switch back and forth between them.

Outside of classes, I’ve pretty much adjusted to living life on my own. Life is very different from life at Bethel. I live in an apartment with 5 other girls and cook my own meals (I’m really starting to miss the meal plan at Bethel). I walk to school whenever I have classes because I don’t like paying for the Athens metro, which is an entirely new experience—commuting to school. Similarly, there isn’t really a campus for my university. Because of its location smack-dab in the middle of downtown Athens, the university is actually only one building on a little street just west of Parliament. Life here is almost the complete opposite of life in Newton.

Everything is different but it’s really amazing. I definitely miss life in the States, but I’m really enjoying my time here. And just like my fellow students at Bethel, I’m counting down the weeks till classes end and it’s time for a relaxing Christmas break at home.