• Rebekah Mann
  • Story Title: Olympia Summer Academy, Greece
  • Student Profile: Mann, Rebekah
  • Rebekah Mann in Nafplio, Greece

"This summer, I had the pleasure of participating in an intensive study program in Nafplio, Greece for the month of July. The program, hosted by Olympia Summer Academy, held a number of diverse classes—two of which I was privileged to take: Political Risk Analysis and Democratic versus Authoritarian Capitalism. Each class was engaging and informative in terms of content and viewpoints—consisting of a student body from all around the world—South Africa, Italy, Greece, Great Britain, and Russia; to name a few, with me being the only American there. Each course was taught by multiple professors, which allowed different viewpoints and allowed myself to make professional contacts for future opportunities. Because of the small class sizes, I was able to get to know each of my professors very well. Our classes were held in a historic bank in English, but was full of Greek culture. I was able to pick up some of the language, which if I pursue it further, will allow me to be trilingual and really benefit my future career. The intimate setting in the small town of Nafplio as well as the small classroom size allowed each student to gain attention from each professor individually as well as participate in intensive discussions with other students. The interaction with people from other countries increased the depth of my education as viewpoints were unlimited.

"It was so fulfilling learning about political risk analysis processes as well as the difference between authoritarianism and democracy in terms of capitalism from a non-American standpoint and from professors from multiple countries and backgrounds. The courses were specific, in depth, and discussed from all sides (social, economic, political, etc.). The educational, cultural, and social differences between all of us really allowed me to think outside the box and consider the underlying morals and standards of all sides—a skill I think will come in handy in my future career. It can benefit in terms of policy making, research, and critical thinking. The specificity of the subject matter and freedom of multiple opinions taught me that the importance of international relationships start within the classroom between students and teachers whom are trying to better understand a subject. It can then manifest into more immense and complex ideas that can be put into action. The necessity for different viewpoints, the representation of all countries involved, and the participation and respect between those communicating is one that paves a beneficial path towards problem solving. I think this lesson, overall, was the most significant.

"I look forward to pursuing a career that involves diplomacy, international relations, and cross-cultures because I will be able to implement not only the information I have learned in terms of my course content, but also in terms of understanding all sides of an issue and all of those involved. Besides the stunning scenery and delicious local food, the character and culture of Nafplio and its people created an unforgettable experience. Learning was not limited to within the classroom, but it also outside within Greek culture and other cultures, getting to know brilliant people from around the world, and more personally, learning more about myself."