By Belle Vang, COSS Communications Student Assistant
Every year the Criminology department offers a study abroad opportunity for students. This year the trip was made to Greece where students learned about the Greek criminal justice system during the third week of May. Although it was a criminology course, students from different majors had the opportunity to enroll.
The lessons began as soon as their plane landed in Greece. Sara Black, Forensic Behavioral Science major, was particularly fond of the hands-on experience of interacting with professionals like the Hellenic Police Department. She compared the differences of the Greek police force to that of the American.
“The prison guards don’t even carry a gun, and the police officers have a strict de-escalation system that restricts them from using a gun,” Sara gushed. “This was a fresh perspective!”
Isabel Hernandez, Criminology and Political Science major, also enjoyed the Forensic Science Division tour where students learned everything from how Greek police interacted with citizens to conducting rehabilitation programs for the incarcerated. She shared how the experiences created a bond with her peers and professors.
“Not only is it much safer to travel with students and professors, you can make lifelong memories and friendships,” Isabel affirmed.
Roxann Medina, Sociology major agreed with Isabel. Aside from the interactive academics, students enjoyed traveling freely after the sessions and making friends with their traveling cohort. Roxann shared that one of her favorite aspects of studying abroad is making connections with other students.
Kelly George, Criminology major, vividly recalled the fun trips they took to popular locations. The students hiked to Parthenon, visited the Acropolis Museum, bussed to the Temple of Poseidon, and spent a day cruising to the islands of Hydra, Poros, and Aegina. That’s a lot to do within a short time frame, and Kelly commented on how she wished the program would be extended so she could do and learn more with her friends. She enjoyed the richness of Greek culture and sharing the experience with colleagues who have similar interests.
“Each part of Greece had a history you can feel by just walking down the streets,” Kelly reminisced. “It was unreal.”
This amazing, lifelong experience comes for a smaller fee than most would estimate. Isabel, Kelly, Roxann, and Sara received generous scholarships to help fund this once-in-a-lifetime adventure and unanimously shared the richness of the opportunity.
“I know the cost may seem like a lot at first, but with the scholarships offered, it’s possible,” Roxann reassures students. “The study abroad program is an amazing experience, and I encourage other students to partake in one.”