Some Takeaways From Class

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By Maddi Brenner

There is one program of study in particular that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with, that is, my Crisis and Change in Greece and Europe course.

Would you look at that. I’ve officially survived two months in Europe, which definitely deserves a fist pump to the sky because holy crap, this is my first time alone abroad for this long of a time. Props to me. Actually no, props to every single student at CYA. We are currently in midterms week and we are getting through it- happily, successfully and chaotically. So here we are. Me writing this piece because I need a little break from all the studying and writing. Side note: yes, we do get work here.

While we’re on this discussion of classes, there is one program of study in particular that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. That is, my Crisis and Change in Greece and Europe course. It’s proven to be the most insightful, helpful and exciting influence on my time here abroad. Here’s why.

  • I knew absolutely nothing about Greece or its economic state when I came here in September and obviously that’s very sad because I should have read up on my current events… but who am I BUT a struggling college student that watches too much Netflix. Besides the point, I didn’t know much. So when I entered this class on the very first day, I was stoked because I was getting the chance to know hands-on information while living here. The cool and awful thing about studying such modern concepts is that I get to see what I’m learning on the streets while I walk, in the markets when I shop and around the neighborhood of Greece. I start noticing the problems and it eventually becomes real. In that awful sense, you can’t believe it’s happening. You see the suffering and the struggle from the Greeks that literally have to survive off very little money everyday. It’s a contradiction in of itself… and I struggle to admit, the coolest and worst thing I get to experience.
  • The Greece economy crisis is bad. The refugee crisis is even worse. Terrorism and extremism continues to rise. Europe is in ruins. When we discuss these topics in class, we see the parallels between why and how Greece remains stuck in a corner from the rest of Europe. They are the perfect transit country for incoming refugees and they are the least perfect country to actually accommodate for these growing rates. In truth, Greece can’t manage and the EU struggles to help after all that’s happened in the last 10 years. It’s in this sense, I begin to acknowledge Greece as a whole. I see the struggle and their want for help. I recognize the in-between uncertainties. I realize the mess of their situation because these ideas are reality and this reality causes problems for the youth, the elderly and for all Greeks. Learning these horrendous implications makes me care for all those involved.
  • It’s exciting. No, not the actual part where we discuss what’s legit happening, but the exposure to culture shocks, to successes, to a camaraderie among the Greeks. It’s seeing this country that I’m living in as home- and that means all its parts. It’s an excited sympathy and the beginning of a promising and caring relationship between Greece and I. It’s a place I can somehow, someway call home.

Taking this class has opened my eyes to reality, to a level of knowledge I didn’t know I had and of course, respect. Greece has its flaws (major ones), but it’s bigger than that, really. Greece thrives on humanity. They spend hours at the cafe. They are strong-minded and passionate about politics. They love a good conversation about opinionated topics. Whatever state of being Greece is in, the most important lesson I’ve learned from class and beyond is that the Greeks are proud of their country. And maybe that will be my takeaway when I go back to America. I will look back when I’m home and respect what I have, not focus on all the flaws and accept all things just as they are, in the end.

Maddi Brenner is pursuing a degree in Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in English and Profession Writing from DePaul University and is a official Fall 2016 CYA blogger!