Ellyn Louwagie

Major: Kinesiology and Health
Class: Junior
Timeframe: Summer 2023
Type of Experience: Summer

Overall Experience

My overall experience was fantastic! The people at both the Iowa State Study Abroad office as well as at the American College of Greece were very helpful with the transition and any questions that I had! The apartments were nice in Greece, and they had good opportunities for getting to know the other students and professors in orientation activities. The timeline of the trip was perfect, as it allowed for travel, but also was not too long that I got overly homesick!

Learning experience

The most valuable thing that I learned through this experience was, as stated before, gaining an appreciation for different cultures and ways of life. This experience did very well at introducing us to local Greeks, as our classes were with them. I got to know some of these people well, and learned a lot about their lifestyle and how it differed from ours! I know that I may not live in Iowa forever, so getting this experience was so valuable for my professional and personal life in the future!

Memorable experience

The most memorable experience that I have from this trip is traveling to the island Santorini on our 2nd weekend there, with people that I had just met a week ago! 14 of us went and all stayed together, and figuring out the travel and where to go together really helped us all to bond well right off the bat! This island was very surreal to see, and after this time together it cemented our friendships into something that continued the rest of our time there!

What did you not expect?

One of the things that I did not expect was the different ways that people interacted when they met you in public. Where I am used to, it is very common to wave and say hello. In Greece, this is not common, and most people do not even smile when they see you. One of my friends who was a local explained that this is not something that is done here, and it does not mean that these people do not like you. This can help me in my life by knowing that even if someone does not show it, I should not just assume that someone dislikes me without really getting to know them!

What advice would you give?

One piece of advice that I have is to really soak up every single moment! I miss my time studying abroad every day, and there are so many other things that I hope to do someday or wish that I could have done! Even though some of them were not possible during my time there, I am glad that I was able to take the trips I did and see as much as I did!

How has this experience impacted your life?

This trip has impacted me in multiple ways. First, I have developed relationships that will last a lifetime. I connected very well with my peers that also attended ACG, and keep in contact with them still. I also feel that I gained an appreciation for a different way of life! I grew up in Iowa and attend college in Iowa, so seeing this different culture was very special. I grew in my knowledge of diversity and world issues which will help me in both my adult life as well as my career.

How did you learn about this experience?

I found out about this opportunity by looking on the ISU Study Abroad website. I always knew I wanted to study abroad, and when I saw this opportunity I was excited about it immediately!

International Connections