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Student Profiles

Dania visits Santorini, Greece

Overseas Study Program

Athens,  Greece

It is an opportunity that doesn’t come around after graduation, so take advantage of as much time abroad as possible!”

Dania Mourtada

Majors: Tourism, Hospitality, & Event Management

Term abroad: Summer 2014

Why did you choose this program? Greece always struck an interest to me and sounded like an amazing place to go, as well as the class studying the Mediterranean Diet and learning about their food sounded interesting to me as well. The idea of living in a huge city but every weekend having the option to take a ferry to a new island was what made Greece so appealing, it was like having the best of both worlds and going on mini vacations every weekend.

Describe your favorite class abroad. I only took the one class, the Study of the Mediterranean Diet: Food in Greece, and it was very interesting because I got to try all sorts of different Greek cuisines and see how they were made and the differences in how that culture eats and makes food from how we make food here in America.

What was the housing like on your study abroad program? Housing was in local apartments in a neighborhood in Athens, I lived with 4 other girls all from different universities which was awesome because I got to meet new people from all around the states. The apartments were side by side to local Greek families which was nice because I felt totally engulfed in the Greek life and got to see what it was truly like living in Greece, especially a big city like Athens. Everyone was really cool to live with and we all got along very well.

What advice would you like to give to future study abroad students? Enjoy every minute of it because it goes by so quick, and take lots of pictures! If someone has the choice to go for longer I would definitely suggest doing so because it is an opportunity that doesn't come around after graduation, so take advantage of as much time abroad as possible!

What’s your best memory from your time abroad? My best memory was our last week when our class stayed in Koroni, Greece which was on the coast of Greece. Everyone got to know each other way better because we all stayed in a hotel and weren't spread out by apartments, and the local people from Koroni were the most amazing, giving, and kind people people I had ever met!

What was your biggest surprise about the location, culture or other aspects of your program? My biggest surprise was how the Greek culture was so close and had so many different values that we don't think about in America as much. Everyone was so kind and excited to know that there were American students that were interested in their culture and wanted to learn as much as possible about the Greek culture.

Describe your experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock. The culture shock wasn't too bad for me, I had my expectations of how it would be living in a new big city, the hardest part was the language barrier because I had no idea how to speak any Greek at all. The reverse culture shock wasn't too bad for me either, it was just my eating patterns had changed and I had spent the summer doing much more walking and activities in Greece rather than here in Indiana. It was nice to come back to a place where everyone spoke good english though!

“If I could do it over, I would…” have stayed longer. I could have done the second session but chose not too, more time would have been amazing!

What do you know now that you didn’t know before you went abroad? How easy it is to meet new amazing people in a situation where I had no idea what to expect. The people I met made a huge difference in my experience and gave me a broader outlook on so many different things.

What do you wish someone had told you before you left? Stay longer and don't pack too much!

What was your greatest challenge? Staying in touch with people from back home was a big challenge because it was hard to keep in contact and get good service to talk to my family and friends.

Discuss: “Going abroad vs. staying on campus.” Going abroad is a life changing experience and will teach anyone so much more than they ever could imagine about how different cultures around the world live. Staying on campus is comfortable and safe but in the end isn't as exciting as being abroad.

What fact about your host country do you think people would be surprised to learn? Olive oil is like gold to Greeks, they use it for everything!

How did you find scholarships for study abroad? The only scholarships offered for my program was the Hutton International Experiences Program Grant which I unfortunately didn't take advantage of because I didn't think I could get one. Then I learned how easy it was to get one after the deadline.