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The highs and lows of footwear

The choice of footwear will dramatically effect your enjoyment of studying abroad. Uncomfortable, weak, and unstable footwear leads to cranky, tired, and unhappy students. Since this one item can so profoundly impact learning, I've decided to recommend walking shoes and sandals. I've polled students from past trips, and they've come up with this list.

No matter what you bring, wear them before you start the trip. Break them in because you will get blisters otherwise. Also, you don't want to discover that you don't like your new shoes when you're on the trip.

 
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Birkenstocks are good for your feet, comfortable, and come in fashionable styles and colors! The cork sole and open style allow your feet to breathe while their wide base gives you stability as you climb rocky, uneven hills and mountains. If you chose the Birkenstock, make sure to select a style that will stay on your foot. Many of their styles do not have a back strap and can slip off easily. http://www.birkenstockusa.com/products/women/sandals/gizeh/habana-oiled-leather/74383

 
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Great for guys: Every year a number of male students bring only one pair of shoes, the Newport H2 from Keen. It's nearly perfect. It's great for walking, it's open and cool, and it can go in the water. Additionally, it can be worn with shorts or pants and is appropriate to wear out to dinner... at the places we go to. http://www.keenfootwear.com/product/ss10/shoes/men/waterfront/newport%20h2/dark%20shadow!%20peacoat [Sketchers makes a similar style shoe, but I don't think it is as well made.]

 
 
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The Chaco is an excellent choice. It's great for your foot and you won't get tired while wearing these. It's versatile, too. Take it to the beach, wear it in the city, skirts, pants, shorts. It's got it all! The strap systems makes these extremely secure and stable. They won't slide off and pebbles can't get stuck, either. Plus, you can't beat the tan lines! http://www.chacousa.com/US/en-US/ViewProduct.mvc.aspx/19789M/0/Mens/Z-2-Marine?galleryId=M

 
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As usual, women have more selection then men. Ecco makes great sandals for women. They have a wide variety of styles that are durable and extremely comfortable. On their best sandals, all straps are adjustable, assuring that every foot finds its match. My friend Alice (an anthropologist) swears that the 'Charms' are the best shoes ever made!http://www.eccousa.com/shoes/womens/sandals/68/product-list.aspx

 
EasySpirit specializes in comfortable shoes for women. They keep up with trends, producing new models each year. http://www.easyspirit.com/Sandals/2881132,default,sc.html

Electronic Devises: Adapters, Plugs & Converters

There are two important things to consider regarding using electric devises in Greece & Cyprus.

The first is voltage. The United States uses 110 volts while Greece & Cyprus use between 220 and 240 volts. If you plug an American appliance into the 220 volts without checking if the power supply is designed for the increased voltage, you will destroy the appliance. However, many American electronics are sold with "dual" power adapters. For example, the power supplies for my mobile phone, digital camera, laptop, and I-pod are all designed for 110-220 volts. On the other hand, my electric razor, hair dryer, and wireless router are not. To find out if your power supply is designed for 220, simply read the small print on the power cord. (see this website for more detailed information: http://goeurope.about.com/cs/electricity/l/bl_electricity.htm)

What is a converter and do I recommend you get one? A converter will convert the volts from 220 to 110. But, I do not recommend you bring one. They are very heavy and not inexpensive. If you need it for your hairdryer or razor, I recommend buying a travel dryer or razor.

The second important thing is plug type. Greece and Cyprus use two different types of plugs. So, you'll need two types of adapters, which will only allow you to plug your American appliance into a European socket; it does not adjust voltage. In the U.S., you can pick it up at a travel store or Target. The Learning Abroad Office also sells them. In Europe, you can pick one up at a supermarket, kiosk or at the airport.
Greece uses this type: http://users.telenet.be/worldstandards/electricity.htm#plugs_f
Cyprus uses this type: http://users.telenet.be/worldstandards/electricity.htm#plugs_g

Are there places to wash my clothing?

There are places to get your laundry done. But, it can be expensive. You'll probably want to wash some things in your hotel rooms. You might bring some heavy twine so that you can hang your clothes to dry.

A word of advice, heavy cotton does not dry as fast as light cotton.

Some good tips on packing: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/tips_menu.htm

How many nice outfits should I bring?

You do not need to dress up everyday. But, you may not look sloppy or slobbish. That means that you may not wear t-shirts with beer logos or inappropriate expressions or phrases. You may not wear flip-flops during any excursions, walks or group visits. Girls should not wear very short skirts or shorts; and boys may not wear sleeveless shirts (tank tops). And, as President Obama says "brothers should pull up their pants." (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLEzg4yyPCs)

Girls should also have some kind of light weight scarf or sweater/shirt to wear in churches. You will want to have something that you can carry with you at all times so that you can cover your shoulders if you need to.

Generally, we expect you to dress like the ambitious, hardworking young students that you are while taking the hot weather and long walks into consideration.

Boys must have one nice pair of pants and one dress shirt (long or short sleeves) and girls must have one outfit that can be worn in a monastery.