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Study Abroad Pre-departure: Hospitality in Athens!

My Expectations

On this trip I expect to fully embrace myself in the customs, food, and history of the Greeks. This will be my first time in Europe, so I am really excited for this journey and all the experiences it has to offer. After reading some of the predeparture materials, I have been made aware of how much history lies within Greece, along with its impact on the world and our history. Of all the plans we have made for this trip, I think my favorite is going to be the Acropolis and it’s accompanied museum- which I will explain more of below.

 I’m equally excited about immersing myself in Greek cuisine. Greek food is renowned for its rich flavors and fresh ingredients. As someone with a sweet tooth, I am particularly looking forward to sampling Greek pastries like baklava, galaktoboureko, and melomakarona. These culinary delights promise to be a treat for the senses and a delicious window into Greek culture. On top of all this, I know that we are going to visit a hotel for tours and teachings of Greek hospitality, along with several wine tasting classes. I am extremely excited to learn more about the hospitality industry with this interactive experience.

Packing

For this trip, I used packing cubes for around twelve different outfits (yes, I’m an over packer). With this, I brought three pairs of shoes, tons of snacks (chips, cookies, candy, etc.), and all of my toiletries. This includes the essentials such as my medications, sunscreen, lotion, hairbrushes, makeup, and lots of skincare. With this, I also packed chargers, cameras, and all the chords necessary for my trip. Of course, a laptop is necessary, along with a fanny pack, and a portable fan. I tried to pack for all kinds of outfits, whether it be athleisure, dressy, formal, or just casual- I wanted to make sure I covered all my bases.

                  To be completely honest, there is one thing I forgot to pack. On the way the airport I realized I didn’t bring a sweater for the plane ride. Luckily, my sister was wearing a sweatshirt when my family dropped me off so I was able to borrow it from her for the week. Besides the sweater, my airport shopping list is short: a bottle of water and, possibly, a neck pillow. Given the high prices at airport shops, I might skip the neck pillow and make do with what I have.

Plans Before and After this Journey

Today, June 19, 2024, is my first travel day before the study abroad program. My plans before driving to the airport consisted of some last-minute packing and heading over to First Watch to meet Nicole (my travel buddy) and her family for some breakfast. The day we land in Miami is actually the day before my birthday, June 29, 2024. Because of this I plan on having some family over, I want to make succulent arrangements with some friends and have a pool day as well. This will be the cherry on top for June, after experiencing an amazing trip in Greece for a week prior.

Exploring Greece

                  Of all the attractions in Athens, I’d have to say I’m most excited for the Acropolis, which I’d assume is going to be the highlight of the trip. With this, The Acropolis Museum, located nearby, holds a vast collection of artifacts found on the Acropolis. From sculptures and pottery to everyday objects, the museum provides an all-inclusive look at life in ancient Athens. The modern design of the museum, with its glass floors offering views of archaeological excavations below, creates a fascinating comparison between the ancient and the contemporary.

I’m also very excited to experience Athens as a city: strolling through the city’s parks and gardens, visiting local markets, and enjoying the lively cafe culture are all part of the Athens experience. The city’s blend of ancient history and modern vibrancy creates a dynamic and engaging atmosphere- of which I intend to soak every bit of up for memories-and knowledge! As I embark on this study abroad journey in Athens, I am filled with anticipation and excitement. The opportunity to immerse myself in Greek history, culture, and cuisine is a dream come true. From exploring the ancient wonders of the Acropolis to savoring the flavors of Greek cuisine, every aspect of this trip promises to be an adventure.

Beyond the Acropolis, Athens offers diverse neighborhoods, each with its unique character. Plaka, the neighborhood nearing the hotel, has narrow streets, neoclassical architecture, and a vibrant atmosphere, making it a favorite among visitors. Monastiraki, known for its flea market and eclectic shops, offers a chance to find unique souvenirs and local crafts. With this, the National Archaeological Museum, one of the most important museums in the world, houses an extensive collection of artifacts from across Greece. From the treasures of Mycenae to the statues of classical Greece, the museum provides a comprehensive look at the country’s rich history. The Erechtheion, another significant structure, is known for its Porch of the Caryatids, where six draped female figures serve as supporting columns. The Temple of Athena Nike, a smaller but equally impressive temple, celebrates the goddess of victory. Each of these structures tells a story of religious devotion, artistic innovation, and civic pride that defined ancient Athens.

In addition to these experiences, I am particularly excited about learning more about the hospitality industry in Greece. Renowned for their exceptional hospitality, the Greeks offer a unique perspective on customer service and guest experience. I plan to observe and engage with local businesses, from boutique hotels to charming family-run tavernas. Understanding their practices, from the warmth of their welcomes to the intricacies of their service standards, will provide valuable insights into this vital sector. I also hope to visit hospitality schools and speak with industry professionals to gain a deeper understanding of how Greece maintains its esteemed reputation in hospitality.

With that being said, this experience is not just about visiting new places; it is about embracing new perspectives, learning from a different culture, and creating lasting memories. I look forward to sharing my experiences, reflections, and discoveries as I journey through Athens and beyond.

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