Hello, I am Kalei, I study Anthropology at Wellesley University, but my new home for this semester is Athens, and CYA! On my second week in Greece, CYA set off on an academic field trip to the legendary island of Crete located in the Eastern Mediterranean, and I want to tell you all about it.
What does it mean for an experience to be authentic?
When we travel to other countries, we tend to enter our foreign endeavors with romanticized ideas of the ‘authentic study-abroad experience.’ We all have preconceived notions of what the major idealized European cities should be like: Paris is the city of love; Vienna is the hub of art and elegance; Rome is the center of great architecture and Athens the birthplace of democracy and the scene of antiquity. But what does it mean to experience one of these European cultural centers authentically?
CYA Semester trips to Andros & Crete
Educational travel is key at CYA, and as such, we provide students with several opportunities to learn while traveling throughout Greece. Each semester all students participate in 3 academic field trips. There are also three other optional trips combining learning and travel. More on those later in the semester!
Around four in the afternoon on June 22nd, I departed from Heraklion in a car with musicians and a conductor from Athens. We were on our way to Spinalonga, the once-Venetian, later Ottoman, later leper colony settlement, a small island just off the coast of Plaka in Northern Crete. In commemoration of the fifty years since the closing of the leper colony, the municipality of Agios Nikolaos organized a concert to take place within the archaeological site, performed by a youth orchestra comprised of musicians from all over Crete. The concert was to take place in different locations on the island: within one building, in the Ottoman market area, in one corner near the sea. Organized this way, the music was made to interact with the impressive and historic atmosphere and landscape, making for an incredible performance.
I went on my first organized hike in late February. CYA had been sending out weekly emails about upcoming events and activities in Athens, and week after week we received information about the Athens Hiking Club. Every weekend they went somewhere different and beautiful. When we finally received a notice of a hike in Evoia where snow-gear wasn’t required and the difficulty level was low enough for novices, Michaela and I decided it was our week.
For eight weeks, I, along with many other CYA students, participated in a marble carving class in a studio in Pangrati, just around the corner from our apartments. There we spent three hours together every Tuesday evening carving, talking, and, at the end, sharing a meal and glasses of wine before heading back home. I was excited about this class the moment I heard about it — although I had never thought about sculpting, I considered it the perfect skill to develop in Greece.
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Welcome to CYA
CYA is a non-profit educational institution that has been offering semester, academic year, and summer study abroad programs in Greece for over 5 decades. We are proud to be on the GoAbroad list of Top Study Abroad programs of 2017.
We are among the most elite international program providers, illustrating an exceptional dedication to the field and the ability to provide extraordinary program experiences in Greece.
Our devoted staff, faculty, and beloved alumni contribute to making CYA a truly life-changing educational experience.
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