I learned that there are more unbelievably beautiful places in Greece than I could have ever imagined. I knew that I was going to want to travel a lot and come back to Greece eventually before I came on this trip, but now more than ever I have some idea of the potential of different and amazing things that are out there in the world to be found.

            I have a deep respect for archaeology now that I have been to sites and seen what is left of remains. I had zero exposure to the field other than what I had vaguely heard referenced in history classes before the trip, and I can now safely say that it is a challenging and interesting area of scholarship.

            I am infinitely more appreciative of the country I call home. Socialized medicine is a disaster; the Stanley Cup playoffs, March Madness, and American football are irreplaceable parts of my life; and normal bathrooms are appreciated. In all seriousness I love Greece, its culture and its people. But, it’s hard to describe how much more I love America for the things that make it home. Being away form home has made me value the people and places that I love more than I would have at this stage of my life had I chosen a more conventional curriculum for my final term as an undergraduate.

            Greece was a wonderful experience. It was a risk for me to come here, but looking back I can say that I would have done myself a huge disservice if I hadn’t come. Lykavittos and Delphi at sunset. Ephesus. Going toe-to-toe with Mount Jouktas and coming out on top. Herding goats on Syros. Dinner outside on the water in Naupflion and just about everywhere else.






3 Responses to “Chris Johnson”

  1. Sophie Dessin Says:

    Before you condemn the Greek health system, have you really thought about what it provides? Do you honestly think hat Greek socialized medicine is worse than the American health care system which is beyond the reach of many lower- and middle-class workers. Hospitals in Greece might not look like their US counterparts but at least when you enter the emergency room in Greece the first question you are asked is NOT “Are you insured?”. In Greece, you are attended to first — they x-ray you before peering into your wallet. AND, in the case that you have no medical insurance, the bill is at least affordable. Although I am a citizen of the US, I live and work in Greece and have Greek state insurance. Four years ago I was visiting my family in the US and had to go to the emergency room with a simple ear infection. I waited 6 hours to see a Physician’s Assistant (I have no problem with Physician’s Assistants but at least in Greece you see doctor too) who took one look into my ear, diagnosed an ear infection and wrote me a prescription for antibiotics. Having no insurance coverage in the US, that one glance came to $996, a sum that did NOT include the prescription which was another $230. To offer a comparison, also about four years ago, before I was enrolled in Greek social and medical insurance, I had to go to the ER for an MRI. It was a Sunday but the hospital (a private hospital, incidentally, which DOES look like its US counterpart) called in the Chief of Neurosurgery for a consultation. I received an MRI, a CAT scan and saw three separte doctors (one of whom was the aforementioned Neurosurgeon) — the bill came to 360euro.
    Neither system is perfect but at least in Greece you have a fighting chance if your employer doesn’t offer health benefits.
    And as for “normal bathrooms”, normal is a subjective term but I choose, any day of the week, a Greek bathroom in which wads of toilet paper are not unconciously stuffed down into harmful cesspools and whose toilets, though not as gleaming as those in a McDonald’s in Penn Station use 1/3rd the water of those in the US.

  2. anonymous Says:

    COMMENT ON THE COMMENT: whatever one’s reasons for traveling in the first place, whatever it is that makes us leave the confines of all that we know and all that defines us, the end result is that you learn something new about yourself and about other people. one can’t be expected to become an expert about a another cuntry from one visit, it takes a lifetime to learn about places other than where you come from. it takes a lifetime to learn what’s “good” and “bad” about a country — individual citizens of every country on earth spend their lives trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t work for the citizens of their own country and although people are people the world-round, what you quickly learn from travel is that something that works for the citizens of one country won’t necessarily work for citizens of another country, despite the similarity of the surrounding circumstances. don’t be so quick to judge the actions and institutions of a foreign country; try not to view those actions and institutions through your own cultural experience and, most importantly, allow people some lee-way in their travel experiences. learning to see other people and other countries without the handicap of our own cultural blinders is a lifelong learning experience in and of itself. if you condemn people by accusing them of cultural bias, no one will ever want to leave his or her own country and no one will ever learn to appreciate our fellow man/woman/child on their own terms — and vice versa.

  3. Sophie Dessin Says:

    Travelling, when romanticized as westerners tend to, into a lifelong learning experience becomes yet another act of ugly tourism left behind like trash or a tacky leaflet on the steps of cultural monuments. To divorce statements made by travellers from there present and to attempt to attach them to a positive lesson completed in the future is like presenting your dinner guests with a beautiful cake before you serve the dinner which, is composed of 10 courses of rotten and foul food.

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