Where are you studying abroad?
I am studying in Athens, Greece. I have family in Greece; I wanted to be with them, reconnect with my culture, and re-learn the language.
Had you been out of the country before and do you speak the local language?
Yes, I’ve been out of the country before this trip. I am learning Greek and can have simple conversations.
Did you plan anything ahead of time?
I packed extra Benadryl and ensured all of my EpiPens were current.
What are your best tips for studying abroad with food allergies?
If you are doubtful, always ask. If something might have your allergens in it, ask! Greeks are very lovely, open, and hospitable!
Did you have any concerns about traveling with food allergies?
I had concerns over what type of care I would be able to receive if I did not have any Benadryl or my EpiPen with me. I overcame these by packing extra allergy medication and taking it everywhere, in addition to my EpiPen. I was also worried about hidden allergens, which is not easy to overcome unless I ask everywhere I go. In fact, I’ve had several instances of hidden allergens so far. I am also scared to go to the hospital if I have to go in an unfortunate circumstance; going to a hospital in another country is scary!
What airline did you fly? How did you handle accommodations and airplane food?
I flew United Airlines. I didn’t bring any snacks as I was not flying economy, so there was ample food available for the flight. The flight attendants were very knowledgeable about the ingredients of each meal served. I ate all the plane food without special accommodations.
Where are you living and how are meals handled?
The program that I participate in provides apartments for students. The apartments are located in a traditional, regular Athenian apartment building. The only meal provided by the program is lunch, which changes every day. Students are responsible for breakfast and dinner. The prepared and served food was delicious, and the chef knew everything. You can request special meals, such as vegetarian, vegan, or meals to fit any allergies you may have.
What are your 3 favorite places to eat in Athens?
Baba Ghanoush Vegetarian Restaurant: Absolutely amazing falafel here. If you are either vegan or vegetarian they will have something for you. I came here with my vegan friend and she was able to eat mostly everything on the menu! There are no nuts from what I saw on the menu, but I would double check with the server to make sure. They are very nice and they love to make conversation with you! I would definitely recommend for the food, vibes, and price! (I’ve been here 4 times in one week, that’s how good it is!)
Grill & Pita: The best gyro I have had in Greece! Everything is made fresh daily and just once, so you gotta go before they run out of your preferred protein! The staff is very knowledgeable and there are no nuts!
Tre Sorelle Pizza: The BEST pizza in town. They have so many options for allergies and dietary restrictions! The pizza is made fresh and is always consistent. They do have nuts on the menu, however you can ask for them to be removed and for your food to be made on a dedicated prep area. If you’re in Athens, check this place out. The decor is also amazing. And the cocktails are like none other. 10/10!
Is there any food your study abroad location is known for that you’ve been able to have safely?
Gyros, gyros, gyros!
What other places have you visited so far?
I’ve visited Venice and Ravenna in Italy. In Greece, I’ve visited Thessaloniki, Pella, Nafplio, Kalamata, Corinth, Mystras, Sparta, Pylos, Olympia, Nymfaio, Vergina, Volos, Pelion, Thermopylae, and Aegina so far.
Besides the food, are there any fun experiences or favorite things you’ve done so far?
Lots of sightseeing, walking around, and just exploring! Athens always has something going on, whether it’s parades, festivals, or markets.