Caroline Murray ’24

Program: Greece Semester

Major: Global Business Leadership

Minor: Communications

Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?

I decided to pick the Greece program because it was not a very common program throughout people I knew or had even heard of. My faculty member had told my public speaking class about it and my friends turned around and said we should do it together, so I agreed.  Being a business major, everyone goes to London, where I did not want to go, and I knew Greece would fit my personality better.

Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your program that made a lasting impression.

I had many different long lasting cultural experiences as I studied in Greece. One thing that stood out was the introduction to the Greek Orthodox church in our upper theology class. The Greek community really comes together, and it was cool to experience that and really get embraced into the culture and community. The Greek culture is so friendly and so welcoming. One specific example of it being welcoming was our first day we went to get a coffee downstairs underneath our apartment, and the barista was so excited to meet us and asked all about us and taught us some Greek! He also even asked us how to say some things in English and one of them was “straw”. We all felt so welcomed and knew all of the good coffee to get in Greece. This made a lasting impression because it knew everyone was going to be so welcoming and want to know more about us every day and even though there was a language barrier, we overcame it and taught each other things from both cultures.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

My overall experience studying abroad was a very large roller coaster but for the better reasons. I felt pretty lonely at times and especially in the beginning when it was so new, and I was not sure what I was getting into. I had an amazing time in Greece and everywhere that I traveled. I feel I made amazing connections while I was abroad, including the CSB+SJU students, and also the other students we met there. Those are friendships that will never be broken.

Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?

There are many benefits to studying abroad! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that not many people have the option of doing. You meet people from all over the world as you happen to be in the same place as them at that exact time. It allows you to live on your own, especially at our school it is a step up because we have every resource you can think of available to us when we need it, food, water, teachers, transportation. While in Greece we needed to figure that out by ourselves every single day, along with 100 others who are learning as well. You learn how to make decisions by yourself that benefit you and others around you. You make mistakes, but you learn so much from them, that help you grow as a person. Those contributed to me personally and I feel that I am a better human and more understanding person now that I am back on campus. Academically, I learned that you don’t just learn in the classroom and that you can learn all around you! It is different in St. Joe to learn outside the classroom because there is not much to see, but in Greece the history and religion and everything about Athens was interesting and there was so much to see you never ran out of learning to do, whether you are in class or not! Professionally, I feel as I can relate to people more and that it is easier to be empathetic towards people and I have grown as a person in many ways. Through communication, socially and on-the-spot thinking have stood out to me, as I rework myself into my life at St. Joseph.

What advice can you offer for CSB+SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?

I really appreciate this question being asked because throughout my 3 months in Greece, I was writing a large list of recommendations for students going next year! This list includes things for plane rides, apps to use for traveling, tips and a detailed packing list during traveling, food recommendations in many countries, tips on Greece and some heads-up tips about the culture and how people can interact there, tips of specific days in Greece, apartment details, spending tips and tricks, and much more! If anyone wants a more detailed and more specific list, I would love to share it!