Logan Biren '24
Program: Greece Semester
Major: Classical Languages and Ancient Mediterranean Studies
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad because I knew that it would be a great experience for me. I knew this because I had an older brother who studied abroad three years prior, and many other CSB+SJU students talk about how great it was for them to do so. In addition to this, majoring in Classical Languages and Ancient Mediterranean Studies did narrow my choices down to Rome and Athens. Ultimately, I decided on Athens because I heard how great the culture is, how much more relaxed it is, and how very nice the people are
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your program that made a lasting impression.
I think the biggest "cultural" experience I had over in Athens was meeting and talking with many many many random people. On weekends when I was bored, I would go walk around the city and just start a conversation with some Greek person. You would be amazed with how welcoming and open they are for meeting new people. I definitely have widened my view of the world because of this. I also want to urge anyone who would be studying abroad there to really try to pick up some Greek because it is just amazing what trying to speak a little bit of Greek with some waiter or barista does. It just brightens their day.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I would say that it only felt like a study abroad experience, as how one might think of study abroad, for the first half of the semester. After that, it felt like I was living in Athens. The school there does a really good job at introducing you to the culture and making sure you get a very well-rounded education, both in academics and culturally. The professors there are so amazing, and I am actually still in touch with a few of them. I have definitely grown as a person, as cliché as it sounds; I'm more relaxed and more sure of myself and who I want to be. I am much more comfortable with traveling and trying new things, and I wouldn't change a second of my experience.
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?
I think the largest benefit I've experienced is the professional development. The connections I made with professors there helped me get on an archeology dig over the summer and the theology professor there, Despina, is helping me get a paper of mine published! Though personally I have noticed, and so have others when I came back home, that I am much more relaxed and sure of myself. I'm much more comfortable in new and strange situations and feel much more ready to start the next part of my life once I graduate. Hopefully, that part will include me living in Greece for a few years!!
What advice can you offer for CSB+SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Do not just stick around with the Americans. It will be hard because you're at a school that is just for Americans, but you will be able to experience Greece and Athens so much more if you make some Greek friends. Also, don't forget to take pictures. For some reason, the first month and a half or so I took maybe 5 pictures and I regret it so much.