Stockstill: It’s all Greek to local student studying architecture abroad

September 5, 2012

Lou Gehrig once stood in a packed Yankee Stadium in the presence of Babe Ruth, Ed Barrow and many other baseball greats, and stated that he is the “luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”

While I have no chance of topping him in the areas of fortune, opportunities, and yes, even luck, I feel like I am a solid second.

My blessed life includes a high school diploma from Smithton High School which I received in 2009, a five-year stint at Drury University in the architecture program, which I am three years through, a 180-acre farm on the outskirts of Sedalia, and the best friends and family a guy could ask for. My most recent streak of fortune has taken me to the beautiful country of Greece, where I will be studying the world’s most praised and genius architecture from now to December. I, along with 13 other Drury students, will be residing in Aegina, Greece, where we will embark on multiple travel endeavors, as well as take on a 15-credit hour schedule.

Drury’s sister school in Aegina will be in session from Mondays until Thursdays starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m. with the exception of any early out at 1 p.m. on Thursdays. Our schedule allows us to visit any travel safe country on the weekends as well as during our fall and Thanksgiving breaks, which run one week a piece. As a class, we will perform field research in various parts of Greece, including Turkey, every four weeks. My adventures have not yet been planned for these breaks or any weekend for that matter, but my classmates and I will surely take on whatever all of Europe has to offer.

I have been very fortunate enough to be in the presence of a diverse group of friends while in Greece. All of them, minus two, have endured three tough years in Drury’s architecture program where social lives are depleted and sunrises are frequently seen. Our group ranges in political views, personal interests, religion, sex, and even race. Despite these differences, we have never failed to make a great time out of any unpleasant circumstance. The sole nonarchitecture student is a dear friend of mine and has been a fellow active member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. I will introduce these acquaintances more as my adventures are spelled out. Our apartments are fully equipped with a kitchen and are located only a few minutes from the beach and the school building. I was lucky enough to obtain a room by myself while all others are going to live in pairs.  

Aegina is one of the world’s largest tourist attractions with its cultural simplicity and rather subtle lifestyle. Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, Aegina is a large fishing community and is only a 1-hour ferry ride away from Athens. While Greek is the primary language spoke in Greece, a majority of the natives speak English. My classmates and I took a Greek language class this past semester where we learned the basics and we will partake in another class while in Greece. Even though Greece has been victim to significant economic turmoil recently, it remains one of the world’s most friendly tourist destinations. Its rich and ancient history as well as the ravishing countryside are enough to make any concern fall to the waste side. I hope that my adventures and stories will give you readers a taste of what the study abroad experience has to offer, as well as entice you to travel at any opportune moment.

Keep your eyes open, however, for you never know when that opportunity may come.

— Mathew Stockstill, of Smithton, will write monthly about his experiences as a student in Greece.