Eva Papadakou

Eva and her international family looking gorgeous on a trip to Portugal!

Eva and her international family looking gorgeous on a trip to Portugal!

Eva is originally from Greece and studied abroad in Bordeaux, France. She is currently a senior at the Athens University of Economics and Business.

Where do you go to school?

Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece

When and where did you study abroad?

Spring 2013: ERASMUS semester at the Bordeaux Management School (BEM) in Bordeaux, France

What was the BEST part about studying abroad?

It is really hard to choose just one thing from those crazy six months, but I think that the friends I made are the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Getting to know so many people from so many different countries was simply amazing.

What did you learn about the rest of the world from studying abroad? What did you learn about yourself from the experience?

When I first started meeting people at the beginning of my semester abroad, I was making comparisons to people from my country, and was spotting the differences in cultures, etc. As time passed by though, I realized that there was no difference that could not be overcome, and I became a part of an incredible international family. Moreover, I learned what I had already guessed – I was ready to leave Greece by myself and manage my everyday tasks away from home, I can be independent, and I found out that my cooking skills are absolutely insane!

What was your BIGGEST challenge while studying abroad and how did you manage to handle it?

To be honest, I was so ready for this semester as I had been waiting for it for a very long time, so before going there I could recognize no challenge. The only thing that I was curious about, and thought of as a bit of a challenge, was how it would be to live in a house with 4 strangers, 4 people from 4 different countries. It turned out that the decision to share a flat instead of living on my own was the best decision I could have made. Our “party flat” was awesome! Well, to be fair, living with three guys can be challenging sometimes, especially when they decide to test their gourmet-cooking skills at 6am or when I realized they didn’t know what a mop is, but still, we managed to turn cleaning into something fun.

How did studying abroad change your life?

Living with French people helped me to improve my French a lot since I was practicing all day long! The university required a lot of classwork in groups, so that helped me learn how to cooperate better and improved my team spirit. We also had tons of presentations to do, which is something that we don’t have in my home university, so I became increasingly confident with public speaking.

I also learned how to cook, clean, and iron, how to clean a mess of a house after a party in two hours, how to open a bottle of wine by hitting it on the wall, and how to enjoy free breakfast buffets at uni!

What are your future plans?

I really want to go abroad again – first, on an internship somewhere. Later, when I finally figure out what I want to do with life, I would love to do my master’s degree abroad.

What’s your BEST piece of advice for someone who is thinking about studying abroad?

I’ll go with the Nike quote on this one: JUST DO IT! Seriously, if you have second thoughts, or if you think that maybe “this is not for you” or it is too big of a challenge to go live on your own abroad, you should still go. For me, it was a life changing experience that I will keep in my memory forever.

So go! The friends you’ll make, the places you’ll see, the unbelievable things you’ll have to deal with (google translate will be your best friend when you go grocery shopping) are irreplaceable, and there is NO way you’ll ever regret your decision to go abroad! :)

Justine Harrington

Justine attended the University of Arkansas and studied abroad in Cannes, France through AIFS, and also volunteered in Ecuador with International Volunteer Headquarters. Justine i[...]

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