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                                             

Day 2: Interviews and Understanding Greece

Today we continued our work at school developing our skills as journalists. We began the morning thinking about interviews and the types of questions that we will have to ask while we are in Greece. In order to prepare us for this difficult task, we paired up with some Ross faculty, administrators, and staff to interview them for a hypothetical story. The students fanned out across campus and tried out different interviewing techniques: pen and paper, audio, and video.

Students also began to work on their first articles today. Each student started to produce an article that is an overview of a place that we will be visiting or a broader topic, such as history or geography. We will continue to develop these articles over the course of the trip. We ended the day by discussing one of Greece’s most pressing issues, the refugee crisis. We began to prepare for our visit to a refugee camp early in our trip. We discussed the origins of the refugee crisis and what we can expect when in Greece.

With that, the bags are packed and we are ready to go! The students and staff of the trip are extremely excited to get to start our journey tomorrow and hope that you will enjoy being along for the ride. Follow us right here on our blog for posts, pictures, and videos from our journey. You also can follow along on our trip Instagram: ross_school_greece2018 which we will be updating throughout our time in Greece!

Day 1: An Introduction to Journalism

Today was our first day of Field Academy. While many of our friends were already jetting around the globe, the Greece Field Academy settled into our home on campus in order to prepare for our travels. Our focus for the day was an introduction to journalism and Greece and the students explored topics such as story structure, writing ledes, interviewing techniques, and brainstorming possible story ideas.

We also met with Micah Danney, a journalist who has traveled overseas to Israel and Palestine to report on issues in that region. He discussed with our students some tips that they could use on the ground in Greece. We learned how to ask questions on difficult subjects and Micah’s process for writing a story.

Finally, we started to look at some of the issues that we will be learning about while in Greece – mainly the global refugee crisis. We viewed a part of the film The Human Flow by Ai Weiwei, which discusses the impacts and origins of the mass migration of people that is currently happening throughout the world.

Just 48 hours until we leave!

Welcome to our Blog!

Welcome to the Greece Field Academy blog! We are so excited to go on this adventure and see Greece through many different lenses! This week we will be on campus learning about Greece, it’s history, it’s culture, and it’s people. We will also be studying journalism and going through a crash course in how to write a news article. We are excited for a great week on campus and we are already getting anxious about leaving on Thursday.

Follow along with our blog for the next couple of weeks, as we will be consistently updating this site with pictures, videos, and recaps of our adventures from each member of our group.

Thanks again for following along and we hope to hear from you in the comments!