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For Margarita Karasoulas ’08(Harrison, N.Y.), the decision to study abroad in Greece was in her blood.

“I am 100-percent Greek, so the decision for me to go there was obvious,” she says. “I also have all of my family and grandparents there.”

Karasoulas spent the spring semester abroad in Greece through the College Year in Athens program, an independent study abroad program which focuses on the history and civilization of Greece and East Mediterranean region.

Karasoulas, a history and art double major, took classes in Byzantine art, ancient Greek sculpture, modern Greek history, and politics of the Middle East.

While she lived in student apartments in Kolonaki, Karasoulas traveled extensively throughout Greece and went to the islands Santorini and Mykonos. She also visited other places in Europe and North Africa, including Madrid, Amsterdam, Vienna, Cairo, and Giza.

“My favorite city was definitely Vienna,” she says. “I loved the culture and the people, food, architecture, Mozart and Beethoven, and just everything about it; it was really beautiful. Egypt was also amazing, and being in front of the pyramids and riding camels was unreal.”

While Karasoulas learned that traveling abroad requires a lot of responsibility, she believes the benefits of a semester abroad are worth it.

“Going abroad was an incredible experience; I really learned a lot about myself and my outlook on the world has changed,” says Karasoulas. “I think traveling is the most important thing a person can do. Traveling enables you to understand other people and cultures. It was important for me to visit every aspect of a city, every museum and point of interest, to eat the food, meet new people, and attempt to speak the language.”

After she graduates, Karasoulas plans to pursue a career in publishing or as an art curator.

Karasoulas is continuing EXCEL Scholars research with Donald Miller, MacCracken Professor of History. She worked on Miller’s most recent book, Master’s of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany, and will soon begin research for his next book, which will focus on New York in the 1920s and 1930s. She is a Rothkopf Scholar and studied gothic art and architecture this summer in Paris. Last summer she studied the artistic and literary culture of Italy during the late Middle Ages for a special Lafayette interim course.

She was invited to join Phi Beta Kappa, America’s oldest and most respected honors organization, this spring. She is a resident adviser and member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.

Categorized in: Academic News