Name: Meredith Guggenheim
Type of Project: Education Abroad
For my STEP Project, I traveled to the island of Corfu, Greece with an Ohio State Education Abroad Program in May 2018. I participated in a four-week history course through Ohio State at Ionian University, Introduction to the Western Tradition and Contemporary Issues: from Ancient Greece to Global Present. I was able to learn about Greek culture while connecting with local individuals as well as fellow Ohio State Students on my trip.
I believe I have a better understanding of myself and a better understanding of how I interact with the surrounding environment from the experiences that composed my Education Abroad trip. I have always enjoyed and appreciated traveling. On my trip, I learned how to manage to take a class and balance my time abroad. It was enriching to learn about Greek and World history while living in Greece. I adapted to the lifestyle of a traveling student. While learning and experiencing, I felt reminded of the importance of enjoying and living in the moment. The transformations that took place within me have made me more open-minded and accepting human being.
Directly from the course, I learned much about Greece’s development throughout history and its modern position in relation to the world. Our course coordinators were very helpful along our educational journey. Every two days or so, a different professor from Ionian University, or from another University in Greece or Europe, would travel to Corfu to teach us. It was wonderful to learn from individuals who are greatly passionate about their respective subjects. I felt so special as a student to not only learn about history and see it firsthand at different historical sites and museums. Cultures develop over time and with history. I loved being able to learn the history and see how Corfu and Greece have developed in response to it.
As a student abroad, I made it my purpose to take it all in. I pushed myself to do and see as much as possible. Living in one place on the island was a blessing. My Ohio State peers and I were able to get to know and connect with island locals, becoming especially familiar with the owners and employees of our favorite restaurant and gelato locations. Building relationships with the people of Corfu has excited me about the enrichment that comes from new relationships.
Although travel may appear glamorous, it is not always easy. Struggle and frustration are often nearby. Admittedly, it was challenging to live abroad for an entire month. I often missed my family and friends and desired the familiarities of Ohio. I had to learn to adjust and accept. My time in Corfu taught me patience. It taught me to be grateful for imperfections that each day brought and to be more flexible. In these life lessons, I grew. I gained an appreciation of the vulnerability of living in the moment, and to find happiness. As abstract as it may seem, my education abroad experiences taught me to be joyful.
My education abroad experience was timely after a difficult spring semester. I will cherish all that I learned while studying abroad. Regarding academics, I have grown to be more responsible relative to time management. I have developed lifelong friendships with the Ohio State students who I traveled with. I will use my new appreciation for everyday moments to motivate myself and remain humble. The world is a magical place, and there is always something to be learned.