Halara-ing in Greece
I always wanted to study abroad, but Greece was not really on my list of countries I wanted to study abroad in. However, this changed when I learned about the Mediterranean Diet and Greek Culture study abroad program at Perrotis College and decided to apply
Halara is Greek for take it easy or relax. It is one of the Greek words that stuck out to me the most (other than yassas which is hello). I thought this word described my Greek experience perfectly because the Greek lifestyle was very relaxing compared to the fast-paced lifestyle I was used to living in the U.S. I studied abroad at Perrotis College, also known as the American Farm School, which is not only a college campus but also has grades from kindergarten to the college level. I thought this was very interesting because in the U.S., we don’t have schools with such a broad range of grades. The school campus was very different from RIT because it was mainly an agriculture school. Perrotis produced their own wine, olive oil, butter, and yogurt. The yogurt was so good I was very disappointed that I couldn't bring some home with me. There was a vineyard on campus right next to my dorm, many olive trees all over the campus, and even a farm where they had cows for making yogurt and butter. Some students working on the farm got the opportunity to make the yogurt and butter, but I sadly didn't because I was not working on the farm.
I lived in one of the dorms on campus along with some of the Greek college students. One of my favorite memories was playing Uno with them. It was a funny experience because they didn't speak a lot of English so it was hard explaining the rules and we would sometimes argue on the rules of the game. They also taught me how to do a traditional Greek dance which was very difficult because it starts off at a slow pace but gets very fast. My favorite memories of being on campus were when I would walk campus on the weekend and see weddings at the campus church. The campus also had a great view of the city of Thessaloniki and even a glimpse of Mount Olympus on clear
I had a fantastic experience where I got to fully experience what life is like in Greece, lived at an international college campus, and got to know Greek students. Now a halara lifestyle is something I incorporate daily in my life. For instance, whenever I am stressed, I tell myself to halara and take a deep breath. Learning about the Mediterranean diet, the Greek diet, and the health of Greeks got me more interested in how diet affects health. My experience has inspired me to research more about how the diet in different countries affects the health of the people there. Even though I went to Greece knowing nothing about the language or culture, I learned so much from my experience there and made memories I will cherish forever.
Nhyria Owusu Asante is a Biomedical Sciences major in the College of Health Sciences & Technology and studied abroad in Greece in summer 2022.