In our new section, Alumni Corner, ACG alumni can share their achievements and experiences in their own words. Please send your stories to [email protected]

Our first entry to our new section is by Errika Papadopoulou (PIERCE’13), who is double majoring in Mathematical Economics and Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania – Class of 2017. She shares her experiences from university life and how PIERCE – The American College of Greece prepared her for her “home away from home.”

A Home Away from Home

The first day at PIERCE, they greeted us all by saying “Welcome to your new home.” To me at such a young age, it seemed like a very big promise to make. Six years later, I stood on the podium giving the graduation speech being more than certain that they kept their promise. The years I spent at PIERCE were critical for the formation of my character and the development of my potential. I was constantly pushed and challenged to overcome my limits, to expand my knowledge and take new paths that helped me discover new opportunities and plan my future by going after my dreams and aspirations. It was through my experience at PIERCE that I discovered I wanted to study in the United States and thanks to their resources and support I was able to make my dreams come true.

A year later, after having graduated, I found my new home at the University of Pennsylvania. Being an ocean away from home and pursuing a double major while trying to keep up with my grades so I could maintain a scholarship was not going to be easy. An Ivy League school definitely made it a lot more challenging. Nevertheless, I am more than happy to be here. Every day I find myself surrounded by intellectuals, professors, Nobel laureates, poets, politicians and leaders in all sorts of communities. Taking classes at Penn is very different than high school and that is because at a university like this where everybody has performed exceptionally at school, it is all about walking the extra mile and thinking outside the box. We present new projects regularly, we write papers, we debate, we exchange ideas and throughout this procedure I have found myself thinking how grateful I am to be part of this community.

Penn has many activities to offer for new students. Whether it is a coffee party at the Kelly Writers’ house while listening to the analysis of a new book on Thursdays or a football game on the weekend, a student here finds themselves trying new things every day. The people here are so diverse that being open minded and accepting is not an option; it is a lifestyle. Penn has many resources to offer new students so they can have as smooth a transition as possible and wherever you look, you will definitely find someone willing to help you and to make sure you are in the best place possible.

Coming here, I had no idea what I would find and whether the transition would be easy, but with my first semester at Penn almost over, I cannot think of any better place for me. I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity given to me and I know that the best is yet to come.

And, although I might have found my new home, where I belong, I will never forget the help and support of my teachers and the faculty of PIERCE, and the ideals and values that I have attained throughout my high school life there.