Like my own Greek mother and sister.
My allergies and I made it to Greece, and thankfully as I mentioned, so did all of my remedies. Even before unpacking, one of my first orders of business when I arrived in Athens was to get in contact with the Greek allergist who agreed to administer my allergy shots for the semester. Speaking no Greek, I turned to an AIFS admissions advisor for guidance.
Within ten minutes, Alice had the allergist on the phone, giving introductions in Greek before handing the call over to me, taking notes, and offering to go with me to my first appointment. The next Monday, she showed me the ropes of getting a cab and finding the allergist office. Thanks to her, I am comfortable to go by myself every three weeks. Later on, she checked in with me to ensure my transition was going well, my allergies were under control, and to answer any program questions I had.
While these four months are meant to push me to new independence and maturity, I’m thankful for Alice’s help in introducing me to Athens and the process I’ll have to follow.
As for the classroom, my first class at DEREE featured me as the only non-Greek speaking student. Sitting in the classroom too early to be considered “cool,” I met Sophia. Without hesitation she suggests that I sit right next to her, while already picking up and moving my bookbag for me. It may have only been 15 minutes of conversation and a Facebook friend request exchange, but knowing at least one student in a classroom full of four-year DEREE students was comforting (and helpful to understand the Greek phrases, notable people, and jokes referenced during class).
So this blog is a shout to Alice and Sophia – the ultimate welcoming committee and ongoing Greek mentors – efcharistó (thank you).