“So, have you ever been to Greece before?”

“Actually, I was born here.”

Wait, what?

When I arrived in Thessaloniki, all I knew about my roommate Hana was that she was a rising junior who danced with PUB. After about thirty minutes of exploring the waterfront on our first night in Greece, I knew that she spent her first five years on the island of Tinos. And after five weeks, I know her incredible thoughtfulness, her stories about her family, her humor that comes out of nowhere and leaves me gasping for breath. All things that, if it weren’t for Thessaloniki, I probably would never have known.

Thanks to this Global Seminar, I’ve had the opportunity to immerse myself in a part of Greece that most people don’t ever see. But the treasure of this trip has been the opportunity to meet fourteen incredibly accomplished, hilarious, fascinating Princetonians, people who I just don’t cross paths with during the hectic school year.

In Thessaloniki, the Princeton experience pauses. We’re not all rushing from one place to next, we’re not defined by our major or extracurriculars or eating club. Here, somewhere in between the long bus rides, late-night conversations, massive Greek meals and endless coffee runs, we become a group of friends who will carry these memories and bonds back to Princeton in September and beyond. We’ll leave Thessaloniki having learned as much about each other as about the city we’re here to study, and with the knowledge that no matter what happens during the rest of our time at Princeton, we’ll always have Greece.

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