When I received an email from the study abroad office informing me that I had the opportunity to take a trip to Greece I could barely contain my excitement. That initial excitement was short-lived. At 44 I was older than everyone else in my class, including the instructor. My oldest son is older than all of my classmates. How could I take a trip to Europe with a group that was so much younger than myself? I decided that if I could go back to college at my age I could do anything, which included going on this trip. I remember my husband asking me how I was going to enjoy myself on a trip surrounded by kids. I remember my response was that I would just ignore them and just enjoy the trip for the historical education that I would be gaining. I didn’t know or have anything in common with any of my classmates, but that changed the moment we landed in Greece. Traveling to a land where so many of the things I had spent my life studying and learning about happened was a surreal experience. Being able to see these places with my own eyes was something that I still can’t believe that I had the opportunity to experience. My classmates were there and although they were over two decades younger than me they were experiencing all these things too. This created an incredible bond that I was not expecting. These people that had been strangers to me and whom I had once thought that I would just ignore quickly became like family.
So how do you sum up one of the most amazing experiences of your life…. You simply can’t. The fact that you can be shopping in Athens and walk out onto the sidewalk and just look up and see the Parthenon still boggles my mind, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. I stood atop the Areopagus where Paul the Apostle preached to Athenian philosophers defending his faith, I touched the center of the universe, I swam in the Aegean Sea, I explored fortresses, I hiked mountains, I came face to face with more ancient relics than I could ever recount, I walked into the Olympic Stadium, I even stood on the spot where the runner from the story of the marathon died. By the end of my journey, I visited over 11 cities including three islands. These are just snippets of the things I did in my almost three weeks of an education that I am forever grateful for and will never forget.
Long story short, do it. You are never too old to take the trip of a lifetime. Take the risk. Go out on a limb. If you wait for the right time to do something you will never do it. I am so grateful that I opened that email, enrolled in the class, and decided to take full advantage of an opportunity that has changed my life. Until next time Greece. γειά σας
Beth McGowan (BS Secondary Education: History) spent part of May 2023 participating in a faculty-led trip to Greece with the Classics department. Beth had the following to say about studying abroad, “You are never too old to take the trip of a lifetime. Take the risk. Go out on a limb. If you wait for the right time to do something you will never do it. I am so grateful that I opened that email, enrolled in the class, and decided to take full advantage of an opportunity that has changed my life.”
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