If one word could sum up Caitlyn Ische’s study abroad experience in Athens it would be “opa,” a tiny word used by Greeks to convey big joy and exuberance.
A double major in government & law and art, Ische ’12 (Coppell, Texas) spent the spring semester attending classes in Greek art and politics, visiting the ancient city of Sparta, swimming in the warm waters of the Mediterranean, and even dancing with members of the Greek Parliament during a field trip to Peloponnese.
“My study abroad experience has been way more than what I expected,” says Ische. “Greece has a unique culture compared to the rest of Europe and where better to study art than in a place with different art periods? The same logic can be attributed to political science, especially with the current political state of Greece.”
Her class on Byzantine art complimented classroom study with hands-on experience through field trips to view temples, marble statues, and architectural landmarks, including the ancient stadium in Olympia, where Ische retraced the steps of early competitors.
But it was a class on civil society in modern Greece that provided the most profound interaction with Greek society because it required a service learning project. Every week, Ische volunteered at Munting Nayon, a preschool created by the Philippine community in Athens. As a student volunteer, she created lesson plans and games for the two-and three-year-old children.
She also visited the United States embassy where she met the U.S. Ambassador to Greece and traveled to Copenhagen, Croatia, and Istanbul.
Immersing oneself in the culture of foreign lands is part of attending Lafayette, says Ische, who in the summer of 2010 was the first Lafayette student selected to participate in a young artist-in-residence/summer-internship program on Fogo Island, Newfoundland, sponsored by Mark and Johanna Chehi, parents of Ericka Chehi ’12. The opportunity was created specifically for Lafayette students. Ische worked as an art representative in the Fogo gallery. In addition to helping with the management of the gallery, the internship required that she embrace the culture of the island and create her own artworks, which were showcased in the gallery.