For four months, Grace Schulz, a senior communication major from Oakley, lived and learned in Athens, Greece.
Back at SUU, Grace after Greece is a different person than the one who left the country in fall semester of 2016.
Schulz lived in student dorms at the American College of Greece, where she took 12 credits, travelled around Europe and climbed mountains.
One weekend, she found herself in Rome, sleeping on a “sketchy” bus stop bench. Another weekend she spent climbing the famous Mount Olympus, home to the Olympian gods.
“There is this Tumblr post, and it’s ‘if you ever feel lazy, just remember that the Greeks thought all their gods lived on top of a very climbable mountain, but they never went up there to check,’” Schulz said, “and having climbed Mount Olympus, not a very climbable mountain.”
Now back home, Schulz said what she has taken most from her study abroad trip is a newfound confidence.
“From a personal growth standpoint, if something challenges me now, I’m like ‘if I lived in a foreign country for three months, away from my family, where nobody spoke the language, in a long-distance relationship, I can do anything,’” Schulz said.
Due to her trip on Mount Olympus, as well as the laid-back Greek culture, Schulz has now registered for more outdoor classes. Last semester she took rock-climbing, this semester is canyoneering, and Schulz said she plans to take more classes next semester.
“You don’t have to constantly be in this stress-induced bubble, it’s okay to sit and drink coffee for three hours, unless you don’t like coffee, which I don’t,” Schulz said. Drinking coffee for three hours is, according to Schulz, not an uncommon activity for many Greeks.
For Schulz, studying abroad is now something she definitely advocates for, and while she wishes she could tell each and every person to study abroad, she knows that is impossible. For now, she simply encourages it.
One future plan for Schulz includes more traveling, maybe back to Greece, where she wants to take her brother up a different route on Mount Olympus.
“I do want to go out and see the world,” Schulz said. “Everybody says ‘I want to travel’ then they do travel, and unless you’re a real homebody, just comes back wanting to do it more and more and more.”
While the Schulz of tomorrow is doing more outdoor trips and traveling, the Schulz of today is finishing her undergrad, interning for KSL, working for SU-TV9 and the Department of Communication and applying to news outlets across the United States.
Schulz can be found on Instagram, under the handle @graclynne, or every week on SU-TV9.
Story for Print By
Andrew Leavitt and Samantha Burfiend
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Photo Courtesy of Grace Schulz