Tag Archives: Greece

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Q&A: Nick Bondy

Since 1990, Forum-Nexus has provided one-of-a-kind study abroad programs for 27 years to over 3,300 students and counting. Our team of faculty and staff is made up of internationally diverse, successful individuals who are all equally passionate about travel and education. For the next few months, we’ll be sharing Q&As with those who lead the FN team year-round.

We caught up with one of our Admissions Advisors to learn about his favorite moments from traveling with Forum-Nexus over the years, and how studying abroad has inspired him to pursue an international master’s degree. Get to know the adventurous and ambitious Nick Bondy… #ThisisForumNexus

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Courtesy of Nick Bondy

Q: Tell us about your background. In what cities and countries have you lived? Where did you study?

NB: I have lived in the Detroit Metro area of Michigan my entire life. I received my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in May of 2016 from the University of Detroit Mercy. I will be moving to Barcelona in the fall for the first leg of a traveling master’s program.

Q: How many times have you participated in FN programs?

NB: I have participated in the Forum-Nexus programs for 2 summers now. In 2015 I was a student assistant, and in 2016 I was a staff member. I am very excited to return for round 3 this summer!

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Q: What are your responsibilities as a FN staff member?

NB: As an Admissions Advisor, I am in charge of reaching out to interested students during the academic year. I answer questions about the program and share my experiences with them. I work with an Admissions Committee to recruit amazing students from around the world.

Q: What languages do you speak?

NB: I speak English fluently and I can speak Spanish at a conversational level; however, I try my best to learn the basics in every country that I visit. I can say please, thank you, hello, and cheers in about 10 languages!

Q: What do you find special about Forum-Nexus?

NB: Forum-Nexus is unique because it’s hyperactive! In just 5 weeks students are able to see some of the top travel destinations of the world while also taking relevant courses and earning valuable credits. Even our fearless leader Dr. Hugo Hervitz is extremely active; he keeps things very positive and very fun for everyone.

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Q: How does participating in FN help students with their future careers?

NB: Participation in FN adds depth to students’ abilities. It combines cross-cultural experience with higher education, building skills that many other students are unable to attain. On top of that, it lays the groundwork for a global network. Fellow students, staff, faculty, and our hosts at various universities and international companies are just some of the connections that FN students make and use to advance in their future careers.

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Q: Why are professional visits important for FN students?

NB: Professional visits are vital to the FN experience! Our professional visits are one of the coolest things that our program has to offer. The ability for students to see exactly what an international education can do for them is key. It allows them to not just see the potential for their future, but for the future of globalization itself.

Q: Which are your favorite cities in the FN itinerary and why?

NB: One of my favorite cities of all time is Barcelona. I actually went to Spain for the first time in high school with my Spanish class. Barcelona is amazing to me because there is so much youth but also so much history. Not to mention there is a very large skateboarding scene, which I am a fan of. Chamonix is also absolutely breathtaking to me. I love the outdoors, so the opportunity to hike and enjoy nature during the program was an awesome surprise for me.

Q: What is your favorite activity you did as a FN student?

NB: When I was a student with Forum-Nexus, my absolute favorite activity was participating in a professional visit to the United Nations. I never imagined myself visiting the UN headquarters in Geneva! I was absolutely astounded when we walked through the halls and saw all of the huge conference rooms.

And as a staff member this past summer, I really enjoyed hiking in Chamonix, seeing waterfalls, gorges, and taking in the mountain views, which was a very nice break between the big cities.

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Courtesy of Nick Bondy

 Q: What is your advice to future FN students on how to benefit the most from their study abroad experience?

NB: My best advice for fully benefitting from your experience with Forum-Nexus is to pause and reflect every few days or so to put the things you’re experiencing into perspective. This will help you fully understand what you can do with your international education.

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Q: What is one “life lesson” you’ve learned from your time with FN?

NB: One of the primary lessons that I have learned from my experiences with FN is to go with the flow; whether that means to fit into whatever culture you’re immersed in during any given time, or to deal with situations as they arise. This is an attitude that FN has caused me to adopt, and has allowed me to be a much more positive and independent person.

 Q: How many countries have you traveled to?

NB: I have traveled to 10 countries including the U.S. and Canada. I currently have a goal to hit 50 countries by the end of 2018.

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Courtesy of Nick Bondy

 Q: Where do you want to travel to next?

NB: I am working on plans to travel to Amsterdam this summer, but there aren’t too many places that are not on my list!

For more information on our upcoming programs, visit www.forum-nexus.com. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and check out our blog and YouTube channel.

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Destination 9: This is the Island of Rhodes!

Last but not least, we end our city spotlight series with the final destination on the Forum Europe 2017 itinerary: Rhodes, Greece! Want to experience all 9+ cities yourself this summer? Join us!

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After saying “ciao!” to Rome, Forum-Nexus will hop on a plane headed south to trade the bustle of mainland life for island time on the magical Island of Rhodes, Greece.

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 Greece is one of the most sought after travel destinations in the world; Google a few pictures of any Greek island and it’s easy to see why. Besides the scenery, Greece is deeply loved for the friendly locals, incredible food, and overall affordability.

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The Island of Rhodes holds all of the charm Greece is famous for: Deep blue seas, medieval towns, white houses scattered among the rolling hills, sprawling beaches, and endless breathtaking views. The island is located in the very eastern part of the Greek islands; in fact, you can see the mountains of Turkey from the shores of Ixia Beach!  Rhodes isn’t as touristy or as populated as other Greek destinations, which is a nice change of pace after 4 weeks of jam-packed fun.

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We really do save the best for last! See how our students from last summer spent their time exploring Rhodes in this recap.

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During the final 6 days of the program, the group will stay reside ocean-side at the magnificent Sheraton Rhodes Resort. Students will attend their last classes before taking final exams, explore the island, unwind by the resort pool or Aegean Sea, have the opportunity to explore nearby town Lindos on an Optional FN Day Trip, and celebrate the end of the summer at FN’s iconic farewell party + graduation ceremony. To say the least, the week will be a perfect way to conclude an unforgettable summer abroad.

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Is Greece on your travel bucket list? Now is the time to check it off!

Follow along on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more about this one-of-a-kind city and our summer 2017 program.

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Summer 2017 Study Abroad Packing Guide

There’s nothing like a summer abroad in Europe, including the adventure of packing for a trip that is several weeks in length. We put together a packing guide, tailored to the Forum Europe Summer 2017: 9 Cities in 5 Weeks program, and recommended by longtime FN staffers. This list promotes light, efficient packing for hot to mild climates and everything in between. Feel free to customize this list of recommendations to your own personal needs and comforts. More packing tips and tricks to come!

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Europe Essentials

 Clothing:

-Casual attire for sightseeing, traveling, nightlife
-Casual professional attire for class
-Business casual attire for professional visits (recommended 5-8 outfits)
-Cocktail attire for graduation ceremony in Rhodes
-Active wear for swimming, hiking, exercising, etc.
-Comfortable walking shoes
-Comfortable dress shoes
-Sneakers
-1 light jacket *bring a rain jacket for multi-purpose wear

 Insider tip: 30 days on the road does not mean that 30 different outfits are needed. Mix and match clothes and pack light! Laundromats are available in each destination – use them to your advantage!

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Toiletries:

-tooth brush & toothpaste
-hair brush/comb
-razor/shaving cream
-contact/glasses care
-Advil/Tylenol and any prescriptions
-hair styling tools (straightener, curling iron)

Insider tip: There is a hair dryer in every hotel available by request
-shampoo/conditioner
-body wash
-feminine products, if applicable

 Insider tip: Most toiletries will be available at local markets and stores. Save room and buy the essentials once you make it to the first destination.

 Class supplies:

-One notebook/binder with paper
-Writing utensils (pens, pencils, highlighters)
-Required textbooks

Insider tip: A laptop/tablet is recommended but not absolutely necessary

Miscellaneous:

-Converters/adapters for all electronic items
-Chargers for electronics
-Euros  *We recommend bringing 150-200 euros upon arrival
-One bag/backpack and/or purse
-Passport
-Copies of credit cards, IDs, etc.

 Non-essential, but useful items

-A small fold-up umbrella
-Fold-up plastic bag for grocery shopping
-Sunscreen
-Sunglasses
-A hat for shade while walking around and sightseeing
-Hand sanitizer
-Camera
-Neck pillow for travel (insider recommendation)
-Portable charger/battery pack
-Travel journal
-Laundry detergent packets (can be purchased at markets)
-iPod/MP3 player
-Water bottle for refilling

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Packing hacks:

-roll clothing, instead of folding
-pack clothing items that are easy to mix and match
-place the heaviest items at the bottom (nearest to wheels) of the suitcase to properly balance weight
-leave 10-25% of your suitcase empty – depending on how much you plan to shop
-Bring a small Febreze bottle or dryer sheets to keep items in suitcase smelling fresh
-Hygienic items can be purchased at any time during the trip. Some things like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. are provided by hotels.
-Keep essential items in your carry-on bag

Keep in mind…

-Most airlines have strict baggage policies. Check with each booked airline before packing/buying extra items to bring home.
-Each Forum-Nexus students is permitted one suitcase and one “carry-on” bag
-Pack light! You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.

Suitcase: Maximum length: 26″ (66 cm), Maximum width: 20″ (51 cm), Maximum height: 12′ (30 cm). Combined length + width + height cannot exceed 40″ (102 cm). The weight should not exceed 40 lbs (9 kg).

Carry-on: Combined length + width + height cannot exceed 40″ (102 km). The weight should not exceed 20 lbs (9 kg).

 Happy packing! Europe, here we come.

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Q&A: NADINE FARRAG

Since 1990, Forum-Nexus has provided one-of-a-kind study abroad programs for 27 years to over 3,300 students and counting. Our team of faculty and staff is made up of internationally diverse, successful individuals who are all equally passionate about travel and education. For the next few months, we’ll be sharing Q&As with those who lead the FN team year-round.

We caught up with longtime team member (6 years and counting!) Nadine Farrag to learn how traveling with FN has influenced her life thus far, what she does in her role with Forum-Nexus, and to hear what adventures she’s tackling next. Get to know our favorite Egyptian… #ThisisForumNexus!

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Q: Tell us about your background. In what cities and countries have you lived? Where did you study?

NF:  I was born in Egypt but lived in Saudi Arabia for the first two years of my life. Then I lived in Kuwait for six years until I returned to Egypt and have lived there ever since. My primary education was in Kuwait but l the rest of my school years and university occurred in Egypt. I studied Marketing and Journalism at the American University in Cairo and graduated in 2012.

Q: How many times have you participated in FN programs?

NF: My first time with Forum-Nexus was in the summer of 2011 and I’ve been with the program ever since :)

This summer will be my 7th!

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Q: What are your responsibilities as a FN staff member?

NF: I’m an Admissions Counselor  and I manage the team that supports students and prospective students from countries outside of the United States.  I also support the Marketing team through my involvement with our  marketing materials, and on-ground events and activities.

During the program, I help with logistics and the coordination of students’ activities and academics.

Q: What languages do you speak?

NF: I speak English and Arabic, and I know a little bit of French. I plan on learning Spanish next.

Q: What do you find special about Forum-Nexus? About FN students?

NF: The experience one gets with Forum-Nexus is truly life-changing. The international exposure, the immense travel experience, and making lifelong international friends is not a combination that you come across everyday.

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I still remember my first year with Forum-Nexus. I left with a changed perspective, not just about the world, but about myself as well. With FN, you broaden your horizons, you discover things that you never thought existed; it all helps shape you into a better citizen of the world.

Q: How does participating in FN help students with their future careers?

NF: Employers now look for candidates who can work under pressure, communicate with different people, and cope with anything. Students get that with Forum-Nexus because you get to interact with students from all over the world, learn to adapt to different cultures quickly, and gain exposure to a lot of different situations that you wouldn’t normally face in your home country.

FN also gives you an edge if you’re looking to work abroad; you’ve already been to at least 9 cities in a month!

Q: In your own words, what is special about Europe?  

NF: Every city is different than the other; you experience different cultures and cuisines. There’s a lot of heritage and beautiful scenery. Europe is indeed magical for hosting something for every taste!

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Q: Why is knowledge of Europe important?

NF: It’s a central part in the world and everything that happens there will affect you somehow. Take Brexit for example, or the financial crisis in Greece.

Q: What are your favorite cities in the FN itinerary and why?

NF: That’s a very tough question because they’re all amazing in their own way. If I had to choose, I would pick Barcelona. I believe it combines everything that all cities in Europe offer. I love the language, the people, the energy. It has the beach, nightlife, scenery, heritage, and great cuisine. I think it’s so special to me because its atmosphere reminds me a bit of my home country, Egypt, so it feels like a second home. I’ve been to Barcelona around 8 times so far and I still find new places to visit every year!

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Q: What is your favorite activity you did as a FN student?

NF: Getting lost wandering around new streets probably – haha! Leaving the touristy places behind and exploring the real city like a local is always more fun.

Q: What is your advice to future FN students on how to benefit the most from their study abroad experience?

NF: Make sure to explore as much of the city as you can. Every city we’re offering is a home to wonderful places and activities so plan in advance so you have enough time to experience them all. And definitely mingle with the locals. Everyone is so friendly.

Q: Where do you want to travel to next?

NF:  I’m very interested in Asia. I went to Nepal last year and it was an amazing experience – very different from any traveling I’ve done before and I have traveled A LOT. Now with the plans of Forum-Nexus in Asia in 2018, I can’t wait already!

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 For more information on our upcoming programs, visit www.forum-nexus.com. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and check out our blog and YouTube channel.

 

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Q&A: Dr. Batia Cohen

Since 1990, Forum-Nexus has provided one-of-a-kind study abroad programs for 27 years to over 3,300 students and counting. Our team of faculty and staff is made up of internationally diverse, successful individuals who are all equally passionate about travel and education. For the next few months, we’ll be sharing Q&As with those who lead the FN team year-round.

We chatted with Dr. Batia Cohen, professor of European Art and Architecture, to hear her take on the importance of international education. Get to know our wise and worldly faculty member, and learn how she enriches the FN team… #ThisisForumNexus

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Q: Tell us about your background. Which cities and countries have you lived in? Where did you study?

BC: I was born in Mexico City. I studied graphic design at the Metropolitan University in Mexico City. Later on I specialized in art history and got a PhD from the National University of Mexico (UNAM).

17 years ago I moved to Miami with my husband Rafael, where we raised our three daughters.

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Courtesy of Batia Cohen

Q: What languages do you speak?

BC: I speak four languages: English, Spanish, French, and Hebrew.

Q: What courses do you teach for Forum-Nexus during the summer?

BC: During the summer I teach European Art and Architecture. I also serve as the advisor of Independent Studies and Internships.

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Q: What are your academic and professional activities during the fall and spring?

BC: During the fall and spring I teach art history courses in the Miami area at several institutions, including the University of Miami and Florida International University.

Q: What do you find special about Forum-Nexus? About FN students?

BC: Forum-Nexus is a great study abroad program where students can experience 9 exciting European cities while earning college credits. They learn first-hand about the different countries, cultures, and traditions, and about impressive art and architecture. While traveling with Forum-Nexus, students develop very close relationships with each other and with the professors. We all become a close family as we share exciting experiences while traveling.

Q: How does participating in FN help students with their future careers?

BC: Students who participate in FN  acquire a broader perspective on Europe and the world. They become more tolerant and open minded towards cultural differences. This will make them better prepared to tackle similar issues in their professional careers. They become more comfortable engaging with different cultures, adapting to their customs, and more willing to understand and empathize with different points of view.

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Q: Why are cultural and professional visits important for FN students?

BC: The cultural and professional visits enrich the overall experience of the students. The European institutions that open their doors to FN are world-class, and the students get to meet successful and influential leaders.

Q: What is special about Europe? Why is knowledge of Europe important?

BC: First of all, Europe is beautiful! The big cities, the little medieval towns, the countryside – they are all amazing. Furthermore, European countries have played such a prominent role in the history of ideas and in the development of western culture. Each country has a rich and proud history and tradition. It’s very important for an educated person to be familiar with it.

Q: Which are your favorite cities on the FN itinerary and why?

BC: One of my favorite cities is Barcelona because it has the best examples of 19th century architecture. By exploring its wide avenues we find ourselves submerged in the Modernismo era. The works of the famous architect Antoní Gaudí stand out, and the intricate decorations of the facades and structures capture my admiration every time. But I also love Barcelona for its overall atmosphere: the mountains, beaches, energy, and young vibe!

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Q: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from traveling?

BC: Be prepared for the unexpected. Enjoy every minute of it!

For more information on our upcoming programs, visit www.forum-nexus.com. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and check out our blog and YouTube channel.

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Dreaming of Santorini

 Santorini, Greece. I dreamt about this place since I was 10 years old when I watched a movie about a pair of pants… and as lame as that sounds, it was worth the build up.  The place with white houses that resemble clouds, with roofs as blue as the Aegean Sea.  The place with an assortment of black, red and white sand beaches.  The place where the seafood melts in your mouth and the jewelry shops twinkle and sparkle in the Mediterranean sunlight. This place was heaven.

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When I first arrived to my hotel in Kamari, Santorini, which is home to the most famous black sand beach on the island, I was blown away by the stunning view that would await me from my room. My hotel was up on a hill and had the most incredible view of the town of Kamari and the Sea looking straight out, the famous cities Fira and Oia to my left, and the Volcano to my right. I was in heaven. Right away I went out on my balcony to Facetime my parents and share my excitement. After assuring them I had arrived safely, and bragging about my awesome setup, I was off to explore the capital of Santorini, Fira.

Fira is located on the top of a hill in the center of the island, and has all of the best restaurants and jewelry, souvenir, and clothing shops. I got lost exploring the town, weaving in and out of the small cobblestone paths. But I didn’t care. I didn’t care if I would stay lostin this place forever. It honestly felt like I was wondering through the clouds and I couldn’t get over how blue the sky and the sea were. Eventually, after a few purchases and the most delicious Greek salad, I found my way back to the bus stop to take off for my next destination, Oia for the sunset.

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If you’ve ever had the pleasure of watching “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” (best movie, ever), then Oia is the place you picture when you think of Santorini. This is the classic depiction of the island, with the breathtaking view of the whitewashed homes and blue roofs overlooking the sea. This also happens to be the best place on the island for the sunset. Once again, when I arrived to Oia I got lost exploring through the paths to try and find the best spot to sit back and enjoy the view. I found a place at one of the highest points in the city in the ruins of the old Oia Castle. The view, yet again, was amazing.

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The next day I spent the morning laying out and swimming at the black sand beach. I decided to spend the afternoon in Oia again to do some more exploring. I ate a delicious gyro, bought some beautiful gifts for my family, and wandered down the hill to find another slice of heaven. I stumbled upon the port that is known as the fisherman’s port, filled with colorful little boats and small seafood restaurants sitting literally right on the edge of the sea. This place just kept amazing me. I took a walk around the port and found the perfect spot to go for a swim. The water was cool, and the view was… you get it. I ate the best calamari that I’ve ever had in my life at one of the small restaurants right on the edge of the water. Then I had the opportunity to check something off my bucket list that I’ve always wanted to do – I rode a donkey back up to Oia. Life was so good.

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My trip to Santorini was without a doubt the best weekend I’ve ever had, and I can’t wait to return to this island. This piece of heaven.

 By: Sylvia Moulthrop, 2015 Forum-Nexus alumna

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Visiting Rhodes, Greece

Rhodes was by far my favorite city on all accounts.

The locals I met were really kind and helpful. Compared to other nations, I found the Greeks were much more comfortable speaking English, and happy to help us learn Greek words. I also enjoyed hearing about many locals’ lives; I learned that many of them hold highly influential jobs during the winter months but work fun touristy jobs in the summer months. My friends and I even befriended a few locals right here at the Sheraton Resort! The weather is absolutely perfect here during these summer months and everyone seems to be in high spirits. The overall atmosphere in Greece is great!

The nearby Old Town in Rhodes is a really fun place to visit. There are so many shops and restaurants – it’s impossible to be bored. There are many unique things to be found there. Old Town is especially beautiful with all of the old walls and landmarks still in place. It’s fascinating to see and feel the history of a specific region, and appreciate the beautiful and strong architecture of the ancient structures. That is one characteristic that I miss out on by living in such a young nation.

I also thoroughly enjoy the history of Greece. I’ve always had a strong interest in Greek Mythology and the culture of people at that time; so I love being able to go to some of these same places and see things that I’ve only read about. I love how proud the Greeks are of their history. For example, a statue of Colossus used to protect the city of Rhodes, and all ships entering the harbor had to sail under the statute. Even though he only stood for 70 years, and was unfortunately damaged in a 226 B.C. earthquake, his image is still very prevalent. Colossus is preserved on key chains, posters, models, postcards – you name it.

Besides hiking in Chamonix, the adventurous activities in Rhodes were my favorite. On the way to Lindos (on the other side of the island),  we learned that mountain goats inhabit the island everywhere. My friends and I got to hang out with eight goats for a bit. Once we reached Lindos, it felt like classic Greece to me. Lindos has a gorgeous bay with the traditional white buildings on an acropolis. The beach was fantastic with beautiful sand, and the sea water so clear and warm.

During my time with Forum-Nexus, I most looked forward to Greece, and it was so amazing to finally be there. It was amazing to look out at the sea and see the Turkish mountains right from our hotel. I love Rhodes and hope to explore Greece more one day!

By: Olivia Molof, 2014 Forum-Nexus Alumnae Olivia Molof