A Final Reflection
The final day has come to a close here in Athens, and our group had one last night to take in the culture and be with their friends. Once everyone finished up their exams this afternoon, some people finished up some packing, others went into town for some last minute souvenir shopping, and others got in one last gyro at our favourite place across the street! Everyone then regrouped and put on their best attire for the final banquet, and we headed upstairs to dinner. Before we sat down, I invited everybody to the rooftop while the sun was still shining for some photo taking opportunities. Our rooftop has an amazing view of the Acropolis so I didn’t want them to miss out!
Kyle and I decided to push all of the tables together, creating one big family experience for dinner. We enjoyed some classic Greek favourites from salad, olives, tzatziki and chicken. As I looked around the room, I saw students laughing, smiling, enjoying food and each other’s company, such a great feeling after a month together! Following the dinner, I played a video that Kyle put together to look back on the program, full of the wonderful memories made while travelling over the last few weeks. Reflecting on this summer, I am delighted to have had the opportunity to engage with these students and their positive energy and genuine spirits.
Throughout this summer, I had the pleasure of working with a group that was comprised of absolutely amazing young adults. From the moment I met them until this final day, I witnessed a drastic change in each and every one. The levels of maturity, personal growth, and confidence have developed remarkably, and I am so proud to have been a part of that transformation. The great part of my job is getting to teach them life lessons outside of the classroom, and there have been several! I can assure you that you will see an entirely new and matured side to your kids over the next few days! I love the opportunity to teach in a way that promotes cultural maturity and travel confidence. These lessons will forever enrich their future travel endeavours. They have learned how to be responsible for themselves and make their own decisions, learned the true essence of travelling, and how to take care of one another while in foreign cities. They learned about respecting people in their city, appreciating the hard work of the staff we worked with at hotels, the passion guides put into their tours to engage us, and how to travel as a local! These skills and life lessons will be invaluable going forward in their lives.
The academic success of our students has been quite the achievement on a program that is so difficult to balance. The combination of class time and homework, in addition to the excursions, walking tours, and free time is often one of the biggest challenges abroad. They handled it wonderfully, and I know will help them in their home school setting, keeping them ahead of the curve.
We ended the night on the rooftop where we played music and enjoyed some snacks and drinks. I smiled looking at them sit around in groups once again sharing laughs, taking photos, and just enjoying each others company. I will genuinely miss working with this particular group of young adults; their sense of humour, dedication to the program, and adventurous attitudes will be something I will always remember with fondness.
I would also like to take a minute and extend my sincere appreciation to the families that made this possible. I know these students understand the significance of the opportunity you have provided, and they will be forever grateful. You have exceptional children and I have no doubt that they will shine in whatever they pursue. Your support and trust in our staff helped make this program a huge success and created a positive transformation for these students.
It was an absolute privilege to spend the last few weeks here, and I wish you all the best for the future. May the rest of your summer be a relaxing and enjoyable time!