Check us out on Greek TV!

Last Sunday we visited Skai TV in Athens. When there, we met with Greek journalists as they were filming the Greek equivalent of “Meet the Press”. We then got to be on TV as they welcomed us to the studio and discussed the preparations for our trip.

Here is the link to us being on TV! You can see us around minute 46:30.

http://www.skai.gr/mobile/tv/video?MMID=302065

Day 11: A Day in the Village

 

Today the weather in Crete is pretty nice and warm to go out for hiking. In the morning we got on bus hitting to a nice and peaceful village in the Lassithi Plateau. The scenery on the path looks tremendously gorgeous, which makes feel very astounding for it. On the path to the countryside, there was a large number of olive trees standing at the bottom of the mountain, which was very beautiful. I was extremely surprised when I heard that some of them were planted in 500 BCE. We walked a long way to the top of the mountain.  Though the journey is pretty tough and tedious, I found it is actually worth it when I was able to see such amazing scenery on the top of the mountain. I found a huge lake not far from the mountain. The lake looks like a huge mirror, peaceful and clean.  After having lunch in the local restaurant, we went back to our hotel. We are free for the afternoon and some of us went to the town for souvenir shopping. 

– Danny Z. ’18

Day 10: Come Sail Away

Today we went to sailing, This was my first time ever sailing and it was a great experience. We sailed to the island of Dia which is a empty island with only a few houses on it. The water was crystal blue and you could see through it with no problem. With the beautiful view, we had a good time on the way to the island and during the lunch time. This trip was really fun and also a really great experience, spending time chatting with your friends, having meal with the gorgeous view, and learning about how to sail. These were all memories we will never forget.
– Tim Y. ’21

In the morning of a sunny day, we walked from our hotel to the edge of the Mediterranean. In the beginning, we were kind of scared, but in a good way. People were worried about getting seasick, the boat, the weather, and how we are going to sail. While we were sailing on the Aegean Sea, I lost my seasickness gradually. After a few hours sail, we arrived in front of a small island called Dia.

When we got to the island, there seemed to be a boundary between the water near the island and the “wild water” outside. The green water and the deep blue water looked they would never get mixed. At the island, people walked from boat to boat and jumped into the water.

– Cathy G. ’21

Day 9: Ancient Cultures in Knossos

We arrived in Crete by overnight ferry! This was a fun adventure for everyone, as we got to spend some downtime exploring the ship and seeing what it had to offer. After an early morning transfer and breakfast at the hotel, we left to go to the Palace of Knossos, an ancient Minoan palace.

After eating breakfast in the hotel, we all took a short bus trip to an archeological site that held an ancient Minoan palace. The Palace of Knossos was originally a multi-story building, but today barely stands as a building at all. Here, Ancient nobles and other high-figures in society would do the business of the people. In the palace, they had different rooms that served the tenants different purposes. In one room, young children were taught how to read and write, and in another room, the wives and women could chat with each other. The palace, in its ancient time of operation, had lots of staff working in it’s name, such as servants and guards. These staff had rooms on an opposite side of the palace as the nobles did. We all enjoyed visiting this beautiful site and learned a lot about it thanks to our wonderful tour guide, who did a great job explaining each aspect of the palace. After visiting the palace went to a nearby deli to grab a snack before continuing our adventures in Crete.

– Nick S. ’18

After breakfast we went to Knossos site. It was the residential area of ancient people. At the beginning of the tour, our guide Dimitra introduced who lived here and what they did here. The Minoan noble families lived here, and they used it also for storage and religion ceremonies here.

The first room we visited is the room for storage. There were ninety-four large jars for them to store the things that they need for daily life like olive oil. Then we visited the Throne room. In this room there is a chair for an important person for the people lived here. Around throne, there are the chairs for the seats of other people. The color of this room was red, it is really different with other room. This is the room that we are able to walk in and see the throne carefully. Archaeologists believe that this room was used for religious purposes.

The biggest room of the Knossos is the bedroom of king and queen. Actually, it was not the king and queen’s bedroom. The person who discovered this site assumed the biggest room was for the king to live. However, there might no king during this period. So the biggest room was for the religion ceremonies at the ancient time.

Although the architectures are not same as ancient time. The wall and the things inside are not very good. But from what they left we still can know how big and magnificent it was be. There are many things we do not know about what happen at this time, however History is about keep discover.

– Selina C. ’20

Today evening, we had a surprise visit the printing machine for the Patris (country in Greek) newspaper. I was very excited for the pop-up experience. When we arrived in the factory, the owner of factory explained about 2 major printing machine. He actually operated the one that prints up to 20,000 newspapers per hour.  The unique part of machine is it still works like brand-new even it’s 20 years old! He also showed the another machine that prints 50,000 newspapers per hour although we did not get to see this print machine run, it was impressive. The newspaper gets distributed everywhere in Crete.

We also met with a journalist from the newspaper. He explained to us some of the technical details of writing for a newspaper. He explained to us that a piece of our souls goes into each story that we write. This was great advice for us as we move forward with our articles!

– Woo Jin J. ’21

Day 8: Running to Ancient Olympia

Today we visited Ancient Olympia, the home of the ancient Olympic Games. During our visit, we came to understand the true purpose of the Olympic Games, which was to worship the gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece. Eventually, the Romans turned these games into more entertainment, but the original purpose of the games was to worship Zeus. As we wandered the grounds it was hard not to be taken aback by the history that we were walking through and the impact that they continue to have on our lives just a day after finishing the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Today I was amazed to see the statues that I see in my daily life at Ross. But this time the originals. And honestly I was mind blown because i did not know they existed in real life. So just going to the archeological site andsomeone telling me that i was seeing the real Nike statue was just amazing. I just couldn’t believe it. There are some differences from the one at Ross and the original. The one at Ross is missing it’s head and arms and the original you can see the whole outline of the body but it has some chunks missing. But it was just amazing to stand where it really belongs and not in front of the high school building. And just seeing the temple of Zeus and all of the other statues was just out of this world. One of my best experiences!
– Ramiro G. ’21

Day 7: Trekking to Delphi

An early start, we left our hotel in a rainy morning, we spend two hours on the bus going to Delphi, we visit the ruins of the temple of Apollo, The temple and theater are surrounding by mountains, on the hillside. the view made me speechless, It is just incredible, I have never seen a landscape like this. It is impossible for me to describe the grandness of the scene.

Not only the view is amazing, the historical myths are also fascinating, We get to know why Delphi is called Delphi. And we also learned the mythology of Apollo. People use to sing the praises of Apollo in the theater. Even though the temple was corroded by time and nature, but we still can see the great detail on the relics. We went on up the hill and found an ancient playground. Where the ancient Greeks show off their power to other city-states.

After we left the temple of Apollo, we went to Delphi Archeological Museum, our tour guide told us it’s a small museum, but it’s bigger then I thought. In the museum, we saw the shield of Medusa and the sculpture of Sphinx. It was an unforgettable experience.

– Kevin Z. ’18

Day 6: Skai TV and Ritsona

Today we had the journalism experience of a lifetime. We begin the day with a tour of SKAI TV, which is a national media company in Greece, working with print, radio, and television media. They were very excited to have us and showed us everything from the newsroom to the editing room, to the radio studio, but most impactful for us all was the opportunity to see the television studio where we had the chance to meet one of Greece’s most well-known news broadcasters. At the end of the tour, we were surprised with the opportunity to be introduced on SKAI TV’s Sunday morning politics show, much like the U.S.’s Meet the Press, we were being broadcast live to the entire country. We were introduced to several former ministers of different departments in the government and political commentators.

After the tour, we set out to visit Ritsona, which is one of the smaller refugee camps in Greece, holding mostly Syrian refugees. At Ritsona we were given the opportunity to speak with some of the refugees close to our age. This gave us some insight as to what many of the refugees at the camp had gone through to arrive in Greece, which as we learned is currently holding over 62,000 refugees. After speaking with the small panel of men we were able to have a bit of fun with many of the children at the camp. This included an amazing performance of Lucky L. ’18 accompanied by Ramiro G. ’21 on the ukulele, both members of our group. We also got to witness a Syrian style dance by a couple of the younger men at the camp. After driving back to the hotel, and a little free time, we finished off the day with a question and answer with two members of the JFS (Jesuit Refugee Service), which is a refugee relations program stationed throughout many refugee hotspots in Europe like Greece and Germany. We were able to gather information about the education of refugees, and the volunteer programs in many Refugee camps. I think I can vouch for all members of our trip by saying today was one to remember.

– Orlando N. ’20

After breakfast, we headed to the Skai TV with Stavros, the journalist who we met yesterday. He briefly gave us an introduction about the work in their building, including radio, print and TV. We were very glad to have a close observation of those journalists even though it’s Sunday morning and only a few of them are working. We visited the radio room. the producer room and the live studio. There was a TV show on live at that time and the director nicely allowed us to come in and be filmed on Greece TV! We were all excited because this was a experience that most of us never had it before.

We then continued our tour to the Refugee Camp: Ritsona. It took us around 1 hour to get to the camp and Stavros gave us a brief introduction of the current situation for refugees in Greece. There are around 62,000 refugees currently in Greece and 23,000 of them stay in the organized camps like, Ritsona. Others live in the rural area or even on the street. Ritsona, according to Stavros, is one of the best refugee camps in Greece. Most of the refugees in Greece will not stay there in the future. They are looking for the chances to other European countries, such as Germany. Greece is more like a transition for them. When we arrived the camp, every one left our bags and behaved ourselves in the most respectful way as we could. The camp located in the rural area around a forest. The people from Cafe Rits led us to the meeting room. I noticed that there were a lot of drawings on the front and the back of the room. In the front, there was a hand drawing of world may and an tearing eye at the spot of middle east. On the back wall,they wrote a sentence “ the darkest part id just before the sun rises.” Even though life is not easy for them, I still feel their positive attitude and hope.

– Judy L. ’18

 

Today we visited the Ritsona Refugee Camp. The ride to there is about one hour of driving on the road. When I arrived, clearly the living conditions are tough for the refugees. The road around the camp are still muddy. The house they lived in are the mobile house that could be move around easily. When we arrived, three young man come greeted us and lead us to Cafe Rits to sit. We asked them few questions about their background and their experiences in the camp. We also want to ask them how they feel about their home country and the situations going on their nation. Some of them fled from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq due to the current political turmoil and the threats of warfare. Most of them are separated from their parents. One of the guy came this with his younger sister, another settled this with his family. They really enjoyed the friends that they have made in the camp, and fulfill life they have right, making friends, working, and dancing are all the thing they enjoy. There were also performances that both the Ross students and the refugees performed for entertainment including singing, regional dancing, and break dancing. I was overwhelmed by just the hospitality these people provide, gave us one each banana, drinks and chocolate. One of my school mate, Enrique, was really touched and moved by the story one of the refugee had to share with him. They exchanged clothes at the end when we about to leave.

Many of them are looking to a better future by considering going France and Germany, countries in Europe to look for better opportunities. Many European nations recently enforced their border and policy to limit the refugees entering their border due to the overwhelmed amount of them. Many of them stayed in the camp like this to look for their future and find new opportunities. Despite the current status and living conditions they are in right now and their future in the doubts of the policy makers of nation, many of refugees continue to fight for a brighter future with all the challenges ahead of them. To many of them, one step away from the warzone means that they can at least have the basis of survival to fight for a brighter life. I really think anyone can learn from their perseverance to fight for a peaceful life and appreciate all the opportunities one’s have.

We also had a conversation with Maurice Joyeaux, the director of Jesuit Refugee Services in Greece. and ask him some insight on what working with the refugees is like and what he think of the camps. He really enjoys being with people and the pure human joy that comes from their refugees. For him, he likes and admire how refugees fight against the war and their conditions and choose freedom and peace. These refugees are happy to be there and enjoy what he does for them. One of the challenges he faces is to have enough rest to maintain what he does. A lot of time he doesn’t have enough sleep because he has to constantly help out and maintain the programs. He thinks that keeping a peaceful mind and heart in any situation is the key to maintain the programs for more refugees to shelter.

I learned a lot today from the visits. I understand how nations and their politics can drastically impact one’s life and their future. What it means to be on the edges of life in some cases and how simple can joy be. This made me to be more aware and appreciated of the situation and spot I’m in right and what I can do to help other out.

– Grace F. ’18

Day 5: Athens and the Acropolis

Today we spent time in and around Athens looking and the rich history that is present there.  In the morning we stopped by the Panathenaic Stadium, where the first modern Olympic game was held in 1896. It is the only stadium in the world that is built with completely with marble. In 2004, when the Olympic Games finally came back to Athens, the government rebuilt the stadium and used it as a field for archery and track and field.

Later on, we went to the Acropolis, which is one of the most well-known tourist attractions in Athens. It was originally built to defend enemy. We saw theaters and heritage of the temples to ancient Gods such as Athena, Zeus, and Posedian. Some of them were destroyed during a war with the Persians, but it does not impact the Acropolis to be the most spectacular site today.

– Tim K. ’19

Today we went to see the central part of Athens to see the Acropolis and learned about the time period these pieces of archeology were built in. On our way to the Acropolis, we saw older buildings that had been under construction or left unfinished. We later found out that these buildings and restoration efforts by the Ministry of Culture had been postponed due to the economic crisis that has hit Greece in the last ten years. This caused there to be a halt to the renovations because the country just doesn’t have any funding to support all of these projects. As of now, the country Is still struggling to pull itself together after the crisis. Once we arrived at the Acropolis we saw all the structures that were built in ancient Greece. The Parthenon was one of the most significant buildings we saw as it was rich in history from that time period. The word acropolis means the highest point in the city, Acro meaning high, and polis meaning city. From our point at the Acropolis we could see all seven hills that make up Athens, and our guide Elisabet explained the importance of each one for the ancient Greeks. So far, we have enjoyed our experience at Greece and look forward to seeing more of this country.

– Enrique P. ’19

After visiting the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum, we walked through the old quarter of Athens to lunch. We ate lunch by Monastiraki Square one of the busiest commercial squares in the city. We then trekked back to our hotel where we met with Stavros Samouilidis, who works for the Skai Media Group in Greece. Stavros is a journalist who focuses on EU and Foreign Affairs. Stavris spoke with us about the refugee crisis and the Greek financial crisis – highlight important explanations of why these issues are important in present-day Greece. We also discussed the role of the European Union in Greece and why Stavros thinks that that body will be crucial for the continued growth of Greece. Stavros will be with us tomorrow as we travel to visit Skai’s Athens office, followed by a visit to a refugee camp.

Keep following us along here on our blog and on our Instagram page!

Day 4: Arrived in Greece

We have arrived! We touched down today in Athens around 4:00 pm local time. Because our day was mostly spent in the air, not much was on our agenda today.

Today is our flight and arrival day. Our flight was Thursday 11:55pm and we arrived in Greece on Friday around 4:00pm. The time difference between New York and Greece is 7 hours. After we went through the customs and got our luggage, we met our tour company and they sent us to the Acropolis Select hotel. Everybody was tired after traveling for more than 8 hours, so we checked in quickly to have a little rest before dinner. Our first taste of Greek food was very delicious. For dinner, everybody did not use phones, The only thing we had was eating and talking to each other, which was fun.

– Andy J. ’19

Today is our Field Academy’s first day abroad. Before coming to Athensin my mind Greece is a very clean and very beautiful country. This is an ancient country that has a long history and wonderful legend. Our arrival in Athens was so amazing. The sky was as blue as crystal. After going through customs and baggage claim, the bus picked us up and took us to the hotel. We passed by the center of Athens, which had a lot of white buildings. We got to see the Acropolis and the stadium that was used during the 1896 Olympics. I am so excited for seeing these sights tomorrow. 

– Tyler L. ’21