Bailey Sheimo is a recipient of the International Studies Scholarship that has afforded her an opportunity to spend Spring 2015 studying in Thessaloniki, Greece. Below, Bailey shares some of her study-abroad memories.
Being in Thessaloniki, Greece this semester has made me look at education, my career path, and many other things in my life in different ways. I knew that their living standards and practices would be different than that in America, but upon my arrival I was very surprised at the distinct customs and traditions of the Greek culture.
My major at Iowa State is Hospitality Management and International Studies, so I am very interested in tourism, which was one of the things that drew me to Greece. Seeing the tourist attractions in various parts of Greece such as Athens, Meteora, and the Greek islands was something that was very intriguing to me because it gave me a better understanding of why people love Greece and why they desire to go here. I have also had the opportunity to travel around Europe during my stay here, and have found those experiences equally meaningful. Whether going to the “Must-see,” places in Europe or the off the beaten path ones, each trip I have taken has gave me a new idea and meaning towards my career and the tourism industry. My studies and time here have improved my perspective on the world, and knowledge about international interactions. It has made me gain more knowledge about the behaviors and lifestyle choices of certain cultures, which is very important in my field.
Traveling abroad for me is one of the most challenging, life changing, and rewarding experiences of my time at college and life in general. Learning to behave in different cultures through language and cultural norms is something that everyone should experience at least once in their lives. Whether it is for a short time or extended period of time, there are opportunities perfect for everyone. International programs through school are geared towards academics, but they teach you so much more than the work you do in school. Being in Greece and traveling Europe for a semester has taught me that there is more to my educational experience than purely academics. Studying abroad allowed me to gain a different insight on my education and career goals that I would not have been able to get in the United States.
I would like to express my gratitude to the International Studies Scholarship Board for awarding me the scholarship to help with my experiences abroad. The generosity this organization possesses is admirable. This experience has made me grow as a person so much, and I have learned so much about the world and myself.