Greece Holding All The Aces

Delicious food, unique trips, immersive culture and rich history - Greece offers it all. Many students from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have had the opportunity to experience this through the American Farm School in Thessaloniki, a town located on Greece’s eastern coast. Originally a boarding school for young boys, AFS now offers students a comprehensive and unique opportunity to study food science, animal science, agriculture business and more.

This program offers a multifaceted approach to education. Through Greek culture and food classes, service learning, travel courses, farm work and lab research, students are given the opportunity to make their AFS education very personalized.

David Couri, a junior in microbiology, participated in the program in the spring of 2018. During his time at AFS, Couri had the opportunity to continue his biology studies as well as study Greek food and culture. His impromptu decision to study abroad at AFS is one that he does not regret. The hardest adjustment for him was the different culture in Greece.

“You’re in a different place, with a different set of values. You really learn this in the classroom and talking with students and professors,” said Couri.

During his time at AFS, Couri had the opportunity to learn about Greece and travel to many exciting places. Through the program  students can participate in excursions in Athens and Meteora, or even venture to Mt. Olympus for a hiking trip. “I went to a lot of small towns within Greece for festivals, Athens, a hiking trip, the Greek islands and a lot of places outside of Greece,” said Couri.

Every experience is customized to students wants and desires. Natali Jouzi, a senior in nutritional science and dietetics, created her own adventure at AFS when she traveled there in the summer of 2018 for a food science research internship. Jouzi’s interest in Greece and passion for research led her to AFS to work in the labs.

“I really enjoyed the work environment. Professors were really friendly and if we didn’t understand something they would explain everything,” said Jouzi.

During her time there she did not miss a single experience. Through short trips and daily food explorations, she had the chance to learn it all. CALS connections run deep at AFS. Associate dean of academic and global programs, David Acker currently sits on the school’s board of trustees. He said that AFS does an amazing job at providing CALS students with a great study program.

“There are a couple real benefits to studying abroad. One is that you have the opportunity to see a different culture. It’s very rich culturally. Second, our students have the opportunity to learn about different completely different agriculture systems,” said Acker.

Students looking for a unique and immersive experience can find more information about the AFS program in Greece by visiting www.agstudyabroad.istate.edu. Students may also contact CALS study abroad program coordinator Jodi Cornell at jcornell@iastate.edu, or stop into the CALS study abroad office in 0018 Curtiss Hall.

*Original story by Amanda Fortman, CALS Connections