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Inspired by her mother’s tales of studying abroad in France and more recently, a family vacation in Greece, Sarah Vojnovich decided it was time to invest in her own life-transforming study abroad experience.
During spring term of 2012, Sarah joined the AHA Study Center in Athens, a 12-week program that brings students from around the US and other countries together to study Greek culture, history, archaeology, art history, literature and classical studies.
Accustomed to the speed of getting things done here in Corvallis, Sarah learned how much she appreciates the ‘convenience factor’ in the U.S., and that one has to adjust while in Greece. “I found Greek culture particularly welcoming and soothing. People are very helpful and laid back compared to people in Oregon. In Greece, there’s no awkwardness in helping other people, there’s such a strong sense of community. In the U.S. we often have to fend for ourselves, and it’s scary being a minority, and not knowing the language.”
As a result of her experience, Sarah isn’t afraid of reaching out and helping strangers. She’s more able to handle difficult situations and appreciate different paces that people live by. “I now think more about what I contribute to a situation or context vs focusing only on how I can build my resume.”
“Studying abroad is a leap of faith, but so worth it. It opens your eyes to possibilities that you don’t even realize exist. Now is the time to take advantage of opportunities, when you’re without major responsibilities. It (studying abroad) affects how you approach life and changes your outlook.”
Sarah Vojnovich is senior in marine biology and hails from Lebanon, OR.