The following blog post was written by Madison Garcia (pictured, right), a student in ACES, who recently travelled to Greece for a research internship.
During my time conducting experiments in a research internship for Perrotis College in the American Farm School located in Thessaloniki, Greece. I learned a lot academically, internally, and culturally, which has changed my outlook on life for the better.
Academically, I learned about the biological processes necessary to identify the right species of plant for the right climate and soil. I learned that there are different types of pathogens in the soil that can be found through a specific experimental process. I also learned about the physical genotypes of the different species of plants, and which genotype characteristics were important for the consumer-ability of the plant. Lastly, I learned about the genetic characteristics that differ within a plant, and how to experimentally study a characteristic and compare it to other species. Another lesson I learned was about the specific format and outline that goes into writing a scientific paper, and what factors and word choice is needed in conveying the information we collected throughout the summer in a neat and comprehensible way for anyone.
For my academic career, studying in Greece, and specifically participating in the summer research internship, really helped pivot my understanding of what my career could look like and exposed me to things that I probably would not have experienced. Specifically, I really liked the biological aspect of the research project, and I would not have otherwise learned or experienced these lab procedures in my career. My interest to learn more about these topics were piqued by the exposure I got during the research internship. I’m glad I was able to explore those topics without a grade or an assignment attached to it.
The cultural aspects of Greece were the most meaningful events that I had the privilege of experiencing. The first that comes to mind was my time spent on the ocean and sailing the Greek islands and coasts through the Mediterranean Sea. I got to sail for a whole day on a boat with my classmates, and it was really freeing to enjoy the sea breeze and look out at the land and towns that we passed by, and to observe how the landscape of the Greek coast changed drastically from a town to forests to beaches to rocks.
Another memorable part of my study abroad experience to Thessaloniki, Greece was my relationship with the new people that I met on the trip. My professors, advisors, mentors and peers were all new at first, but by the end of the trip had become important people in my life. My professors touched my hearts with their personality and their wisdom, and I am thankful for how they helped make my experience in Greece smooth, exciting, and unforgettable. As for my peers, I continue to socialize with them, even after leaving Greece, but I also am grateful to them for their friendship during a time that can be seen as daunting, and how amazing they made this whole experience feel.