Does the thought of heading to Greece as a part of your summer abroad make you want to smash dishes out of pure excitement? Well, step away from the good china and start packing your bags because you can make visiting Rhodes a reality during your international learning experience.

While you can definitely take a dip in the clear blue waters of the Greek Isles in your off-time, you should first consider the academic benefits that an excursion to Rhodes would have to offer. If you have been preparing yourself to pursue any kind of Euro-centric profession, then you are probably already aware that a key component of your educational foundation is reaching a cultural understanding of the various nations that make up this continent. By taking the time to immerse yourself in this historic city, you will be able to get a taste of Greek culture – and no, not the kind you find in your daily yogurt.

As you wander the medieval streets of Rhodes, you may want to play a game, seeing if you can spot architectural elements influenced by all of the city's occupants throughout history. That's right, this portion of Greece changed hands a number of times.

Historically speaking, different empires viewed this Greek city as a strategic foothold in the eastern Mediterranean, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. For this reason, the Order of St. John, which occupied Rhodes from 1309 to 1523, had to fend off various armies, including those led by the Sultan of Egypt and Mehmet in 1480. Only when the Crusades broke out did the city fall to invaders, taken by Suleiman II of Persia. During this Ottoman siege, most of the medieval churches throughout the area were converted into Islamic mosques and bathhouses were added, spicing up the local flavor. 

Flash forward to contemporary Rhodes
Even in more recent times, the capital of the Dodecanese islands has been up for grabs. In 1912, the Italians took over Rhodes, rejuvenating the city by renovating the Street of the Knights and restoring buildings so that they preserved their medieval origins. It wasn't until after World War II that this area became a part of Greece. 

Today, you can see the marks that occupiers left on Rhodes firsthand. It is divided into the old town, which is the bustling center, and the new city located outside the traditional walls – a typical urban arrangement embraced in medieval construction. Throughout both zones, you can explore landmarks belonging to each cultural rule. These include the former Italian governor's palace known as the Prefecture and the Byzantine fortress called the Palace of the Grand Master, which is now a museum that you can visit. You can also take a peek at numerous religious houses, like the Church of Our Lady of the Castle and the Mustafa Pasha Mosque. 

By making the rounds and venturing to all of the significant attractions that embellish Rhodes, you will gain personal insight into the European powerhouses that ruled this city through the centuries. As a result, you have a chance to develop a more profound understanding of the continent's rich and complex history, making your study abroad a truly informative and culturally enlightening experience.