Study Abroad Student Spotlight

The student spotlight highlights the transformative experience Marquette students have abroad. Through the Office of International Education, students are able to participate on a range of programs.  From faculty-led to short term to yearlong study abroad experiences with varying topics that can fulfill major/degree requirements. Marquette sends 30% of students abroad on the 80+ partner programs we have available.  Ranging from the Latin America to Asia, Europe, and Oceania, Marquette students are crossing boundaries and seeking opportunities to help them enhance their intercultural competency levels. Check out our monthly student spotlight interview below!

December 2021

John Mills, The American College of Greece, Fall 2021

mills-1With over 2,500 graduate and undergraduate students and international students from more than 50 countries, you'll be immersed in Greek culture and have plenty of opportunities to make friends from all over the world.

At the American College of Greece, students can participate in Internships, a Residence life program, ACG Buddies program, Host Family Program, engage in day-trip excursions and take coursework in a variety of disciplines. Visits to historical and cultural sites and excursions to the Greek islands are scheduled throughout the academic year by the Study Abroad Office and the Outdoor Recreation Office. ACG Residence Life activities and events present opportunities to mingle with local students and immerse oneself in Greek and ACG culture.

How did you come to the decision to apply to the American College of Greece? What stood out at ACG from the rest of the programs you were considering for your study abroad experience?

I decided to apply to ACG initially because the program dates allowed me to still partake in important job recruiting. ACG also had the most amount of business classes offered that could be counted towards my major. What stood out to me about ACG was the fact that study abroad students are provided excursions throughout Greece during the semester. Certainly, you can always plan your own trips, but it is a great way to meet people initially and throughout the semester while visiting places like Downtown Athens, Aegina Island, Meteora, Nafplion (first capital of Greece), and the archeological site of Delphi.

You decided to study abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic. Can you tell us what your arrival process was like? Classroom/instruction? (Describe your everyday life in Athens at ACG as a Marquette student.

The arrival process in Greece was straight forward despite the added steps that were required due to COVID. By submitting my Passenger Locator Form to enter through customs and uploading my medical documents and vaccine card to ACG I was able to enter Greece and utilize all facilities as normal. All my classes are 100% in person, although I know of students who are enrolled in hybrid classes.My days at ACG are like that of Marquette where I attend 2-3 classes per day, usually in the morning, take a break to eat Lunch, and work for 2-3 hours in the library on various assignments and research of things to do on weekends. Every day it takes me around 10 minutes to walk to classes, but the professors are always understanding if you are a few minutes late, which is nice sometimes when you make something quick for breakfast, forget your mask, etc. Weekends are a great time to explore, travel, and more than anything meet people. That said, I've also done a few solo trips to explore Athens, Greek Islands, and other countries which is a good time to prioritize what YOU want to do. Getting around Athens is very easy with the metro and bus system, but Taxibeat is very convenient as well.

How will this program/study abroad help you in your future career?

I think the biggest takeaway from this experience that will help me in my future career is not being quick to jump to conclusions about individuals. One thing in Greece that has been the biggest thing to adjust to is the expectations of time. We are so used to, in the US, things being able to be quick and efficient, to a point where if something is not to our expectations we complain, immediately try to find something quicker, or are "disadvantaged" somehow. Things that come to mind are things like Prime Delivery, the convenience of stores like Walmart/Target, and completing a task early so we can move to the next.

While I think that striving to be quick and efficient are essential in my future career, sales in business, my experience here in Greece has shown me that rushing things isn't always the best option and expecting results to come quickly can be unrealistic. Taking the time to address the issue at hand and create meaningful solutions is far more important than hastily completing a task for the sake of completion. So, in the past when I would be frustrated by a group member not completing their task until the last minute or I would get mad about having to drive 10 more minutes away for a specific item, I would be more patient and understand that this is just a situation that we don't have control over.

Would you recommend this program to another student and why?

I would highly recommend the ACG Study Abroad experience to other Marquette students for many reasons. One of which being the connections and memories you will create and remember for the rest of your life. Cliches aside, you have a very limited number of opportunities in life to experience another way of life other than your own; and since you're paying college tuition anyways, why not do it now? I also think that ACG does a great job of creating a welcoming and social environment like the freshman experience at many American colleges. Whether that means going on an excursion within Greece or watching a movie with some of the RA's there is something to do and the Residence Life staff won't let any question go unanswered. Lastly, and most importantly is Greece. Everyone knows Greece as being a touristy place with a rich history, which is true. But being this central in Europe and learning about the ancient, modern, and current Greek history truly gives you a new perspective on the history of your own country. Being central in Europe also means easy, and mostly cheap, access to almost every country in Europe.

Advice to other prospective study abroad students planning for a study abroad experience?

Challenge yourself and represent your country and university in a proud way. Make an effort to explore as much as you can in the limited time you are here. Give your best effort to your classes, but don't be afraid to take a few absences for the sake of exploring Greece and the world!