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Art major studied architecture, politics, and history in Athens

Caroline Conway ’08 (Winchester, Mass.) spent her spring semester studying abroad in Athens, Greece through the College Year in Athens program, which focuses on the history and civilization of Greece and the East Mediterranean region.

Conway, an art major with an anthropology and sociology minor, took four courses while in Greece.

“I wanted to take as many classes that related to Greece as possible in order to learn more about the country,” she says. “My program was truly hands-on and focused strongly on giving on-site lectures. For example, my Aegean Art & Architecture class was split into three sites: the National Archaeology Museum, Ancient Athenian Agora, and Acropolis. Each day, we met at one of these three locations and observed, studied, and compared and contrasted various sculptures, architecture plans, architecture, and various historical and religious differences between each.”

Not only did Conway enjoy the hands-on aspect of the program, she was impressed with her instructors.

“Having on-site lectures by some of the best archaeologists in the world was truly an unbelievable experience,” she says.

Although she lived with other American students, Conway had no trouble experiencing the surrounding culture and lifestyle. While in the Athens neighborhood of Konolaki, she took advantage of the local scene.

“My street was lined with taverns and caf�s, so it was a great place to meet the local people,” says Conway. “At the same time, you had the comfort of a home with people who spoke English and were going through the same study abroad experience.”

Through the study abroad program, Conway visited the religious cult sites of Sounion and Brauron; Franchthi Cave; civilizations of Mycenae and Tiryns; Delphi and Olympia, home of the Delphi Oracle and the founding civilization of the Olympic Games; and Nauplion.

She also did some traveling on her own, venturing to the islands of Aegina, Hydra, Paros, Naxos, and Santorini. Through her travels, Conway was able to see the wide variety of cultures that exist throughout the country.

“The cultures throughout Greece vary greatly, dependent upon the area,” she explains. “The mainland is full of farms and vineyards, while the islands are small villages containing generations of families who have never moved. The Greek language is also very different than any other foreign language because it uses a completely different alphabet than we are used to. Having never taken modern Greek before, the transition from our alphabet to the Greek alphabet took a long time to adjust to.”

While it may have taken Conway some time to adjust to the language, she recommends the study abroad trip.

“I would strongly recommend studying abroad to anyone. At first, it was a difficult adjustment because of the language barrier and the alphabet, but to explore a country that is unlike any place in the United States gives you a complete freedom that I had never experienced before,” she says. “To fully immerse yourself in the culture and to take as many classes as possible that relate to the country was unlike anything I had ever experienced. By studying abroad, I gained a complete independence and realized that I could be placed anywhere, not knowing the language, and survive.”

In the future, Conway would like to explore a career in museum management, curation, or historical preservation.

Last fall, Conway worked under the guidance of Diane Shaw, special collections librarian and College archivist, researching and archiving a collection on Al LeConey, a Lafayette graduate who won a gold medal in the 1924 Olympics. She also helped Shaw with the Antarctica and Lu Muhlfelder: Passport to Life exhibits.

Conway was a Rothkopf Scholar and studied gothic art and architecture this June in Paris. She also has an internship this summer at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., and will be doing an independent study this fall with Ida Sinkevic, associate professor of art, on the early representations of Jesus in Byzantine churches.

Conway is a peer counselor, tour guide for the Admissions Office, and on the executive board of Lafayette Activities Forum. She also is a member of Lafayette Alliance for Visual Arts and Alpha Phi sorority.

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