What sounds better than writing your basic exams relaxed? By relaxed I mean enjoying a week at the beach, under the Greek sun, together with 70 other EESTECers!
This is exactly what I asked myself at the beginning of this summer when I saw the announcement of Greece Me Up 7 on www.eestec.net/events. Greece Me Up is an exchange organised annually (7th edition now) by EESTEC LC Athens. Its purpose is that EESTECers go on vacation with EESTECers, consequently, the event was much more relaxed than say a workshop. After making sure that I still have a little more than a week before my first exam after the event I signed up. I wasn’t alone, one of our long-time members signed up as well, so we were a grand total of 2 LC Zurich members.
On the 23rd of July the Journey began: Packed with 1kg of chocolate, some cheese, and roughly 2.4kg of Ricola, we were equipped to enjoy the beach to the fullest. Since we arrived a day earlier, we spent the night in Athens in the EESTEC office. This was simply due to the fact that LC Athens couldn’t host 50+ people in their homes. Because they have a proper office and thus no beds in there, we had to sleep on the floor. We decided to minimize the amount of time we had to lie there with a little party. Having survived the night on campus – which is actually a police-free zone in Greece, as they told us afterwards – we set out to the camping ground. It was located on the Greek mainland in the small village of Finikounda.
After a 4-5 hour journey, we finally arrived at the family-run camping ground by the sea! After setting up the provided tents, we quickly changed and ran into the sea for the first swim. It was beautiful. Clean, shallow water, comfortable water temperature. Sandy beaches with just grainy enough sand to not have it everywhere. For extra comfort, sunbeds, as well as parasols, were provided.
The first night was kicked off with a standard beach party. This means that a camping table at the beach served as a bar and music was playing from portable speakers. Since apparently, Greek people start their parties after midnight, we usually got to see the sunrise. More or less every night was a basic beach party with a slight twist. Even after the bar night where we visited the city of Finikounda, we, the participants, decided to throw an unofficial beach after-party.
During the day we were mainly hanging out on the beach: Swimming, playing cards – they all know Jasskarten now, chilling, … The camping ground also featured a bar with a delivery service to the beach! And as happy hour lasted for around 4 hours (overly happy, these Greeks) we decided to take advantage of it.
One day, we went on an excursion to a nearby uninhabited island. It was just beautiful. The water was bright blue – like in all the vacation advertisements. Just look at the pictures! This was without a doubt my favourite day.
On the 29th we already had to depart to Athens again. After quickly packing everything up we were on the bus ride again – this time with less singing. Having arrived in Athens we went to a pub in the evening to properly wish farewell to everyone – always the saddest part of EESTEC travels. The next morning we got to stroll around Athens for a bit to see the tourist essentials. On our way home we went by Milan and said hi to the JLC there.
The best part of the entire experience was undoubtedly the people. After weeks of only occupying my mind with how to solve integrals, find limits, … I was in deep need of not thinking about academics for once. So what could possibly be better than meeting up with friends and making new ones?
Now, you might be wondering – but how was it with exams? How badly did you fail?
First things first: I passed. Also, I didn’t just barely pass, I had a fair safety margin. Before the event, my biggest fear was not being able to relax. However, it turned out that a change in location and new people made me completely forget to worry about exams. It came even better. Back home I still remained in the vacation mood and consequently was also relaxed during the exams themselves.
In conclusion, I can only recommend taking a week off close to the exams. And doing so through an EESTEC event seems optimal – I heard that at Greece Me Up 8 they might go on an island again ;).
Much love to LC Athens for organising! <3