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Transylvania student creates family abroad

students skiing

They say that your friends from college become your friends for life. What about your friends from studying abroad? 

This past semester, I studied at Hellenic American College in Athens, Greece. 

Now, whenever anybody on Transy’s campus asks me about studying abroad in the future, I always say the same thing: No matter where you go, you’re going to have a family.

I got lucky with my makeshift family in Greece. We all came from different states, different schools and different backgrounds, but we all managed to survive in an unfamiliar and new environment together. For four months, we went on countless visits to the local beach together, ate numerous amounts of gyros with each other, hiked Mount Lycabettus almost too many times and visited the Acropolis not nearly enough. We even traveled outside of Athens a few times. Now, I can’t go a day without talking to all of them, and I’m constantly being reminded of all the good times we had and the memories we shared. 

The whole semester tends to linger in my mind as one long, singular, vivid experience, but when I think of the friends I made while abroad, two memories stick out to me more than others: a weekend trip to Bansko, Bulgaria, and another weekend trip to the Greek island of Zakynthos. 

The trip to Bulgaria was organized by the college as a way to spend the long weekend. In a charter bus, we left Athens on Thursday at 12 a.m., and we arrived in Bansko the next day around 1:30 p.m. In all honesty, the long (near 14-hour) bus ride seemed longer than the weekend itself. We packed what little time it seemed like we had full of activities, from relaxing in the hotel’s spa on Friday, skiing on Saturday and going on a day trip to Sofia on Sunday. When we got back to Athens late Monday night, I was happy for two reasons — one, that I got to sleep in my own bed again, and two, that I got to know my new friends Madison and Emma better.    

The trip to Zakynthos, albeit a bit more relaxing than the other trip, was just as fun. We all left Athens on Friday at 6 a.m. for the airport, and four hours later we were experiencing what people really think of when they think of Greece, an island. Friday, we spent the evening exploring the local town before we ventured out for dinner, and on Saturday we took a van tour around the island, learning its history and then jumping into a boat to see one of its most famous sights up close, a shipwreck. On Sunday, we spent the day at the beach, soaking up the famous Grecian blue skies and splashing around in the famous Grecian blue water. It was a simple weekend, but a weekend full of great memories with Madison, Morgan, Alexis, Emma, and Liz that I’ll cherish forever. 

Like I said, I got lucky with my makeshift family in Greece, and I’m still lucky to be in contact with everybody today. So, it may be my personal opinion that no matter where you go, you’ll end up with a family, but I stick by it and I’ll continue to do so in the future, because the family that I made and the friendships I have today ended up being my favorite part of studying abroad.

To Broadway and Beyond is a student-managed blog from the Transylvania study abroad program. This article was written by Annebelle Klein, a senior double majoring in writing, rhetoric, and communication and French.