The trip of a lifetime!
It sounds cliché, but that’s what the Fulbright experience was for my family and me. We were incredibly fortunate to spend the 2016 fall semester in Ioannina, where we were treated to the Greek hospitality, volunteered at the local refugee camp, and made some lifelong friends. My children spent their days at the local school learning everything from math and history to traditional Greek dances and rhetoric. To say they loved the experience would be an understatement. Beyond the classroom lessons, they grasped the concept of culture in a way that only living abroad allows, and they- and I- developed a deep and enduring love of the rich and storied history of Greece.
I had the good fortune of making my work home at the University of Ioannina, where my host was generous with her time and support. Together we conducted a study designed to gain a fuller understanding of the way the economic and political crisis has influenced young people’s views of the future and their sense of purpose in life. The findings were at once sobering and hopeful. We learned that young people are well aware of the challenges they will confront as they prepare to graduate from college and enter a shaky- at best- job market. At the same time, glimmers of optimism and resilience, especially among the young people who reported having a clear purpose in life, emerged. We are eager to publish our findings and continue our collaboration in the years to come. In addition to the empirical study we conducted, I was invited to give talks in at the University of Ioannina and Aristotle University in Thessaloniki; I thoroughly enjoyed both experiences.
The Greek Fulbright program offered my family and me a rare opportunity to live, work, and travel abroad. We have fond memories of our time in Greece, and we remain deeply grateful for the experience!