Facing Challenges Head on By Matthew Titzler

As I mentioned in an early one of my posts, adjusting to the Greek life was not necessarily a challenge, with a limited culture shock and language barrier. However, November gave me a challenge I never really expected to have. I sprained my ankle. And although it is not a super serious injury, it did present things that I had to adjust to. For about a month, I have just now gotten over this injury from the end of October, I had to limp around and not do many of the activities I had wanted. The two main activities were our Peloponnese school trip and the Authentic Athens Marathon. The former I still was able to participate in, but many times I found myself stopping due to pain. Despite not seeing everything the trip had to offer, it allowed me to enjoy conversations with professors, who would also not participate in the long walks for my sake (and sometimes theirs). These conversations opened my eyes to more historical aspects about different sites, along with more modern cultural topics. It also gave me a chance to relax and take in the environment without constantly moving. Would I have preferred to be constantly moving? Yes, but when you face a challenge, you must adjust and make the most out of it.

The Authentic Athens Marathon was the one I was more disappointed about. This event is a staple of Athenian life, with the marathon happening once a year from Marathon to Athens, on a similar path the word “marathon” is named after. This year was even more special, as it had not happened in two years, so there was much excitement surrounding it, along with people from around the world traveling to Greece just to participate in it. I had already signed up to run in the 5 km portion of the event prior to my injury, but I believed that I could recover in time, so I decided not to cancel my payment. This may have been poor decision on my part, as the money I spent was gone, despite getting a cool shirt and some other small items. However, instead of dwelling on it, I used the opportunity to cheer on fellow CYAers participating in the 5K, 10K, and marathon, which I did enjoy.

The injury also allowed me to use the Greek healthcare system, which was a little daunting at first, going to a hospital by myself in a foreign country, but it worked out. And it was much cheaper than an ER visit in the US, to say the least. All these experiences I would not have had if I didn’t sprain my ankle. Would I have had many other exciting things to do? Yes, but I did my best to face the challenge and make the most out of it. To that point, if you are worried about the challenges, you might face studying abroad, think about the good that can come from facing those challenges, whether that be culture shock or a language barrier. Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing you shouldn’t miss out on.

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