Here is some of what they said in recaps shared yesterday – their words speak more eloquently than mine. (and they capture the ways in which this trip fit into the overall course begun in January and to be completed when they hand in their final comparative --Salem and Thess -- digital humanities projects in a couple of weeks)
“Our last dinner was extremely bitter sweet. I cannot get over how truly kind everyone is, and how just being here for a week I feel like I could easily establish myself in the community around me. The discussions I had with the students from Aristotle were amazing. I feel like at home I am never able to have these political, cultural, conversations with my friends.... I feel that I am leaving this country with amazing connections, friends, and possible future opportunities in this country to come back...It has truly been a life learning experience to immerse myself in a whole new culture, and spend time with some people I have never talked to before. I am truly grateful that I was able to have this experience and will be able to share everything that I have learned back home. Thessaloniki somehow feels like a second home in a way, even though this is my first time being here.”
“This has been a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am so happy that I took a chance and signed up for this course/trip. I truly fell in love with this city. I will never forget all of the adventures we had or the people we met these past...days. I don’t know if I’ll ever be back, but I would really love to, so we will have to wait and see.”
“This trip has been an amazing experience andit was an amazing way to learn new things and I feel like this course along with your other class...made me open my eyes and pay more attention to the little details and the hidden histories”
“Taking this class has really given me a whole new perspective of the world around me and also made me realize that to a certain degree, I have been taking for granted other countries and how they influence American culture & people...Throughout this entire trip, it has always been the little things that have blown my mind.”
“Overall my time in Greece was AMAZING!!! and I would love to come back. I learned more about another culture, country, and myself. I feel like I was able to reflect more about how interculturally competent I was/am and now I realize I may have thought I was more competent than I actually was an that’s OK! I grew a lot and will continue to grow and learn and reflect. “
As I wrap up here, I want to thank you, our donors, for helping make this transformative experience possible for students who are working so hard for their education and who have so much to offer the world. Here is what I shared with them as we left Greece, I hope it helps you better understand why I am invested in this work, and deeply moved by your willingness to help support it. Any additional funds we receive at this point will be kept for next year’s opportunity.
All my best,
My message to the students at the end of our travels:
My greatest joy in life is helping others realize how much they have to offer to the world and how amazing they are. My greatest joy in my professional life is teaching students how to trust themselves enough to take risks (intellectually, personally...) so as to deepen and broaden their understanding of the world we share and see something new that has never been seen before. To create new possibilities. (And to work hard!)
This course and these last ten days have filled me with joy —witnessing each of you stretching and growing in ways you could not have imagined, opening yourselves up to what the world has to offer and offering your own ideas and selves to that world.
Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for taking a risk. Thank you for reminding me why I continue in the role of “professor”.
Keep being fabulous and remember to extend the same curiosity and generosity of spirit that you shared in Greece to those in your daily lives back home. Be the change. And, please let yourselves be ruined for life.