Kat Camden / 2004 Summer & Fall / Evergreen State College

Intense experiences like studying abroad change everyone, so it sounds cliché to say that “studying abroad changed my life.” Of course it did. You went to a new place, met new people, and experienced new things. None of this would have happened if you'd stayed at home, and those memories will continue to color your perspective.
Paros became more than that for me. Working with Barry and Dion at HISA encouraged me to look at my poetry and creativity in new ways. The experience was intense and concentrated. I was not only more productive than back home, but I was able to take the time to refine my work. If I'd decided to continue on to an MFA, I would have been well prepared. The Women's Studies Goddess class was also stimulating and provided a new angle with which to appreciate the historical sites we visited during our visits to Turkey and other islands.
Classes were relaxed, yet focused. The professors were not afraid to take learning out of the classroom to places such as a photography boat tour around the island or a poetry class spent picking olives. Creativity and spontaneity were encouraged, and the professors are caring people who take the time to work individually with students. They were readily available to talk, whether at the school or more informally, in a taverna on the seaside in the evening. Besides learning from some amazing teachers, I also learned from my fellow students and developed friendships that are still strong today. The student art exhibition and reading at the end of the semester was a celebration of everything we had accomplished.
For me, studying abroad in Greece not only left me with important memories, but it changed the trajectory of my life and my art. Everything had been planned out very neatly before then: Study abroad in Paros for 6 months, return to Evergreen, go to grad school and get my MFA, etc. But I never went back. Instead, my time at HISA and on the island of Paros instilled a lust for travel that I still haven't completely satisfied.
Since my time at HISA, Paros has become a sort of second home to me. I've returned every summer and for some visits in between and am always welcomed back into the arms of HISA and this island. This island is a special, inspiring place to which artists of all types love to return. It's the perfect place for an art student to study abroad.


Jenny Thomas / 2004 Spring / Virginia Commonwealth University, VA

As a Photography major at VCU, I wanted not only the beauty of a Greek island but teachers who could guide me in capturing it on film. To Cameron, Len and the professionals at the HISA digital lab, my deepest gratitude for the most caring study abroad experience I can imagine. The many working field trips to Santorini, Delos, Myconos, Samos and Turkey were really inspiring, and you helped me to get to know and really understand the people, culture and history of the Aegean. All the projects we did together throughout the semester helped give me the confidence and photographic results I needed to fulfill my senior portfolio requirements, and construct my own website. I especially appreciate the fact that HISA is sensitive to the different levels of experience their photography students have, which allowed me to advance quickly from where I was before I came to Paros.


Michie Seki / 2003 Spring / from Japan

Thank you very much for my wonderful time in Paros. HISA staff and Paros community were kind and helpful even with my English level. I became very comfortable to communicate with teachers, students pretty soon. Unbelievably, I had an opportunity to performance dances in cultural center in Paros! I will never forget the experiences in Paros in the rest of my life.


Amber Nelson / 2002 Fall / Evergreen College, NW

Being in Mr. Tagrin's Creative Writing workshop (who very soon became just Barry to me) really helped me expand and improve my poetry. We worked on a consistent, weekly basis, poem by poem, very often just the two of us, until I was really able to understand how I was writing and what my subjects were. He helped me to deepen the sense and feeling of my poems and taught me how to focus on expressing the ideas and emotions that I was struggling to present well in my work. When I return home and go back to Evergreen College next semester, I'll do that with much more confidence and a far stronger hold on myself and my writing.
With eternal gratitude, Amber.