Long Study Tour: Athens, Greece

As if being granted the opportunity to study and live in Stockholm Sweden for a semester was not enough, I was given the chance to head off to Greece. It was time for all of the core courses to go to their assigned locations and bring what they’ve been learning in class to fruition. Positive Psychology and I were up bright and early to board our plane and headed off to Athens. The question that circulated my mind was “How does positive psychology apply to Greece?” The answer to that question will be revealed soon enough!

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Landing in Greece was an interesting experience. To feel the heat of the sunshine on the side of my face reminded me of summer days in the States. I was already excited to be getting immersed in Greek culture, but the immaculate weather was an added bonus. We arrived at our beautiful hotel and put our bags down. Not long after that, we were on a walking tour where we had the chance to try traditional Greek food and explore the area. Big fan of Greek food! Still exhausted from the flight, we retired to our hotel after the tour.

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Day two we visited the Acropolis and had a chance to see one of the world’s most rustic landmarks. In a society that has been struggling economically and socially for a number of years, it is amazing how one can forget their problems while walking around this beauty. This helped me to begin reaching an answer to the question I previously posed.

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Applications of Positive Psychology

Positive psychology being about how can we find the positivity that may be hidden in negativity describes why Greece was the perfect place for us. Facilitating human flourishing and providing interventions to help clients understand negativity, yet focus on their strengths. Through different activities such as visiting numerous NGOs, exploring, or just hanging out as a class, we were able to see how the Greeks bring in a ton of positivity even when societal impediments stand in their way. In the middle of the week, we had the opportunity to participate in some Greek dancing! With a classmate on my left and my instructor on my right as we all linked arms, I knew that this experience was going to be unique. It was really awesome learning the dances and watching as everyone tried to be on beat or not completely destroy the flow of the song. Thirteen of us who used to at some point be strangers were now having an amazing time with each other and embodied the vision of positive psychology.

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As the week came to an end, we had a workshop where we were broken up into groups and had the task of finding an activity that could foster positive emotions in the group setting. Proud to say that my group won with the idea of going to the Great Escape Room! What was more fun than having our co-leaders participate in the escape room was how we grew together as a class. Exhausted from thinking so creatively, we headed to our concluding dinner.

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Goodbye Athens!

At our concluding dinner we were laughing and joking with each other. It was a surreal experience. At my home university, I have never had the opportunity to get to know my entire class on a personal level no matter how small the class was. We toasted fifty times to an amazing week and had one more assignment. We were instructed to report on our three favorite things from the week. Definitely harder than expected due to the fact that the entire week was nothing short of being in a euphoric daze. As everyone went around and reported on their favorite past times, it was cool to look around the room and watch as spectators looked at us with great joy.

It was now time to say goodnight and goodbye to Athens as we walked back to our hotel. How does one say goodbye to such a beautiful place? Not wanting the night to end there, we as a class stopped walking for a second and tried to come up with a plan for the night. As some suggested going to a bar or strolling the town one last time, I remembered a karaoke bar that I walked past a couple of days prior. Introducing this idea captivated all of us and that is where we headed. Upon arrival, we requested as many songs as possible and sang our hearts out. Country, hip-hop, R&B , you name it and we must have shouted it as loud as possible.

Heading back to our hotel at the end of the night, we could not have thought of a more perfect way to say goodbye to Athens. Packing and getting ready for breakfast the following morning, I realized that I needed to answer a question of “What is the good life?” A basic synopsis of how positive psychology applied to this week. I was more than happy to be able to answer that question with describing the different experiences we were able to take part in throughout the week! Reflecting on the growth and overall flourishing we were able to do as a class. After that, we got on our bus and were on our way to the airport. Back to Sweden! Thanks for reading!

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