My first time ever going abroad was by myself to study abroad in Thessaloniki, Greece. It was an opportunity to get some history credits in and since Greece is my No. 1 love, it was a no brainer. A 9 hour flight out of Chicago plus a layover in Rome later and I was finally in Greece! The American School of Thessaloniki provided us with lofts to stay so I didn’t have to worry about where to stay.
The first day we got there was the coolest it was the entire 5 weeks. Every day after that was close to 110 degrees!! Woof! However, I shouldn’t have expected anything different, it was Greece in July. And they do wear shorts there, if you were wondering, so I didn’t
I shared my room with a roommate and we had a shower, small kitchen, table and chairs, and two beds. Everything was out in the open. Luckily, her and I were comfortable with the close quarters.
Yup, that’s my bed after we went grocery shopping. And yes, I couldn’t give up my pop. A little nugget of knowledge, not a lot of places have air conditioning, so being on the 7th floor, with no air conditioning; let’s just say I had a hard time sleeping.
I had serious jet lag after our flight so I slept a total of 14 hours the next day (zzzz), but was able to explore the city a little bit once I decided to rejoin the awake world.
The city is very interesting. It is right on the bay and there is a nice boardwalk that stretches for pretty much the entire city. The city is built on a hill so the buildings flow up at an angle from the water. After walking around the city for a short time it was clear the city had a much more northern European feel to it than a stereotypical Mediterranean feel. Also, the city is not one of the biggest tourist destinations in Greece so we got to actually experience day-to-day culture, which was one of the highlights.
The sculpture, Zongolopoulos Umbrellas, is a beautiful piece of artwork right on the boardwalk. The city has a great deal of art and cherishes it’s past. It’s an interesting experience because you can walk between ancient Greek remains, to Byzantine churches, to modern stores, and back again.
The first day was one of my favorite experiences in Thessaloniki because I got to just walk around the city and see where our feet would take us. Also, the flowers and gardens there were AMAZING and it doesn’t help I have a thing for pretty flowers and nature.
I recommend taking the chance to walk around where you will be staying because this afternoon introduced me to my home for the next 5 weeks and left an impression on me to this day.