Heritage Greece 2013 – Madeline Hailer

June 22, 2013

Reflective Writing- Greek I

This trip has had an absolutely amazing impact on my life. I could not be happier with everyone I met, all the things I saw, and all the things I learned.
Participating in class with Sofia our teacher and the other students was extremely helpful. She made the language very clear and understandable. This learning was taken even farther when we took it to the streets and used the language with actual Greek speakers. It helped me practice ad learn other ways to solve situations that we are faced with in real life. Some things I really could work on more is memorizing, learning more phrases that I will use a lot, working on my pronunciation, and learning the different tenses for formal or non-formal. However, I am very proud of how much I learned. I came into the class with no knowledge of the language and now I can carry very simple, brief conversations.
Speaking, or attempting to speak in Greek with the Greek people has really deepened my appreciation for this culture. Everyone I met was happy and eager to help. They are thankful for me trying and generous in return. You can’t help but love a people like that. Also being immersed and seeing how day-to-day life works here has deepened my appreciation. I love the food, the land, the style, all of it. If I could move here I would. I especially loved the host family. They showed to me the importance of family and conversation in this culture.
Not only do I feel more connected than ever to my roots, but I now have a newfound wanting to belong to this community. They included us like one of their own and helped every step of the way. This trip has taught me so much about this culture and myself because I now know this is my culture.

Madeline Hailer

Heritage Greece Blog Day #5, Host family evening , Andros island and olive oil appreciation by Thanasi Christoforou


This program has honestly given me the opportunity to connect with great people I would have never met before. This aspect came full circle for me when I went to the host family dinner. I was paired up with another person and then we were paired up with a faculty member of the college where we then drove to a local taverna and met with other students and faculty members who were our host family. The taverna was awesome and was traditional which includes the people stones and outdoor seating. As we sat down and talked one of the faculty members of deree was asking about our family and she stated she was born in Constantinople which is where I told her that my mother was as well and she was actually aware of where my mother had gone to school.This shows me how connected the world really is. This dinner and the program in general opened my eyes and shows me that Greeks are very strong and resilient. As we talked about politics I noticed that the young greek American students at Deree are much more politically involved than young Americans appear to be. This kind of goes off topic but at the end of this night I realized how important my role as a Greek American really is and I have been inspired to be more active in my community as a Greek American.

Honestly, if you’re looking for a good opportunity to experience Greece, make good friends, connect with your culture, and have a fun time then you should apply.

Thanasi Christoforou

Heritage Greece Blog Day #5, Host family evening , Andros island and olive oil appreciation by Jennifer Charoni

So we arrived to Andros after taking a bus, ferry, and another bus which took us around the island for the beginning of the day. We all felt this instant relaxation arriving on the island, and the blue of the ocean and huge sky was so overwhelming at first after being surrounded by buildings in Athens for our trip so far.

We went first to the Sariza spring at Apoikia- a natural spring pouring out of carved stone lion heads down a small path on the island. The water was delicious, especially considering a small air conditioning snafu on the bus. We also visited a monastery and a small, local contemporary art museum.

Finally we reached a beautiful beach right next to our hotel, which was a traditional white and blue building right on a cliff overlooking the deep blue of the water that stretched as far as we could see. We spent hours there that felt like minutes.

For dinner we went to a local tavern, and then took over one of the few bars in quaint Batsi, where we spent hours goofing around. Afterwards some of us ended the night on the beach, looking up at more stars than a lot of us had ever seen at once.

It was once of those moments I think I’ll always remember: the silence of the night, the island wind, the hugeness of the sky and the moon striking a path across the still water.

Jennifer Charoni

Heritage Greece Blog Day #5, Host family evening , Andros island and olive oil appreciation by Athanasia Dorrance

When I first heard about the dinner with the host family, I was nervous and a little skeptical about the experience. I wasn’t sure whether I would have fun, if it would be awkward or if would be really nice! When I met the family, I immediately felt at ease and realized how similar my family is to the host family that I spent time with. They invited us to their home and made us dinner. We drank wine, ate a wonderful dinner, and sat and talked about everything. It was such a relaxing and wonderful experience. I think it was really rewarding to spend time with an authentic Greek family!

The trip to Andros had been my favorite experience from the entire trip! The island was breathtaking, and the hotel, food, beach, and relaxing environment was perfect! We swam, tanned, hung out and walked around the village and neighborhoods! I wish we could have stayed longer, and not spent time visiting the water source and monastariki, because it was so exhausting. I completely recommend doing this trip to the island again!

The olive oil appreciation day was very interesting and a lot of fun! The cooking lesson was awesome and one of my favorite parts of the trip! The food was excellent, and I enjoyed learning about different uses or olive oil. The lecture was so sweet and the gentleman giving the presentation was interesting and so accommodating. The whole day was long but worth it!

On Friday we went to Athens city hall, a Greek cooking lesson, and to a presentation on olive oil. The Greek cooking lesson and presentation was very fun! We were able to learn from a great Greek chef and taste some fantastic Greek dishes! We learned a lot about the importance and uses of Greek olive oil, and also how to cook with it! The presentation was very interesting and fun as well! We went to this awesome hotel for the presentation, and met the CEO and founder of Gaea! He was extremely sweet and generous and very interesting. Below are some pictures of the cooking lesson and hotel!

Athanasia Dorrance

Heritage Greece Blog Day #5, Host family evening , Andros island and olive oil appreciation by Georgina Fatibene

The host family dinner night was amazing. I had the pleasure of spending the evening with a sociology professor from DEREE along with her husband. They came and picked us up from our apartments by foot and we walked back to their house for some homemade lemonade. Yum! The lemons were from their lemon tree at their summer home. They then took us for a ride around Athens and then we had drinks in Glyfatha. The view was gorgeous! I really learned a lot about Greek life and didn’t feel like a tourist! We then went back to their home for a huge meal! Everything was delicious! I would like to say that this night was my favorite night however I feel that way about every night! 🙂

The next morning we went to Andros. This was such a beautiful island. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The beauty was unbelievable. What I loved the most was just living the island life. I loved walking everywhere. At two in the morning when our night was over it was so amazing to be able to walk back on the windy roads, up the mountain, along the water back to our hotel. I even saw a shooting star!

On Friday we learned all about olive oil. I now understand why they called it olive oil appreciation. I definitely appreciate it even more now, and now I know I can use it even in my dessert!!

This experience has been amazing and I am still so excited for what the next couple days have in store! 🙂

Georgina Fatibene

Heritage Greece Blog Day #4, Alex’s Entry, 6/17/13

On Monday we went to the farmers market near the dorms and I had a really great
time. I ended up, through some struggle and a    bit of accommodation
by the shopkeeper, purchasing some fruit I’m Greek. While I know that
I have a ways to go in terms of mastering the Greek language, it felt
great to have a successful exchange with a native speaker.
We also went to a wine tasting in the evening which was unbelievably
fun. Not only was the wine great but the company was too. Honestly, it
was one of the best nights I have had on the trip so far.
I can only hope that things get progressively more fun and interesting
as the trip continues. The first few days have felt like a few months
in the best of ways.

Alex Calamos

Heritage Greece Blog Day #4, Thanasis’s Entry, 6/17/13

The day started with the language and culture class in which we prepared for the farmers market.

Seeing the farmers market put us into the very roots of everyday Greek life. The touristic aspects have been great but being put into these situations has allowed me respect and cherish the culture even more. While on the topic of culture: we also learned traditional greek songs and dance.

Our night ended with the most special night in Greece thus far. We took a journey to the countryside of Greece and arrived at the Papagiannakos winery where it was honestly hard to tell where heaven ended and the earth began. The owner of the winery took us on a tour of his elaborate complex and it was followed by wine tasting and a fabulous dinner.

Looking out into the sunset on the mountain range was the most beautiful sight I have seen in a long time. The ocean was just a few kilometers away and the ocean breeze was a great compliment to the sharing of new friendships over glasses of wine. Good friends have truly been made in a short span of time. It’s only a few days in and I already know this will be a life changing experience.

Thanasis Christoforou

p.s. The ACG peers have taken us in with a warm hearted welcome and have always looked out for our best interests while in Greece. Their eagerness to help us has been immense especially with improving or even learning new Greek words.

Heritage Greece Blog Day #3 Downtown Athens – Parthenon – Acropolis museum Blake’s Entry, 6/16/13

It is only day three of our trip and the drowsy side effects of flying are starting to wear away.  By this point I am extremely surprised to see how well everyone is already catching on to the language.  We had our first real night out in Athens last evening and a long day of sight seeing, along with some shopping time to test out our freshly expanded vocabulary.  It began with a trip to the Parthenon, which was accompanied by a great tour guide.  The short excursion was full of nothing but beautiful sights and interesting history.  We then walked down to the Acropolis museum to see some of the incredible statues that have been uncovered in the past years.  As beautiful as the sights were, the day began to hit its peak for me when we were able to listen to the music of the street performers on our walks to and from the different sights.

After taking a break for the scorching heat to enjoy yet another wonderful meal, we had some time to shop in downtown Athens and practice our new Greek language skills.  With some assistance from the ACG peers, we were able to buy all different kinds of clothing and souvenirs for our families and ourselves. I am amazed at how much we have all learned so far and how incredibly we are all getting along.  It is a great group of people this year and I looking forward to all of the fun things that we have yet to experience!

Blake Buckman

Heritage Greece Blog Day #2 Delphi Visit: James’s Entry, 6/15/13

Delphi: The Center of The Ancient World

Today was the beginning of our Greek experience. The day started with our first classes; a blend of basic Greek language infused with Greek history and culture. As a non-speaker, our discussion of the differences between the Greek and English languages was fascinating. Even the role of the informal vs formal spoke volumes to the warm nature of the Greek people. After class we hoped on a bus to Delphi and Arachova, where we spent the bulk of the day.

Located high up in the mountains, Delphi would have been worth the trip for the views alone. While the drive took a few hours, the time passed quickly as everyone spent the trip soaking in the scenery. When we arrived at Delphi, our tour guide lead us through the site and while explaining the immense economic, political, and religious importance of the site. While on their most basic levels the sanctuary and oracle were religious institutions, the site functioned as somewhat of an ancient United Nations and was one of the largest concentrations of wealth in the ancient world as a result of the lavish offerings brought to the temple. Seeing such an amazing site makes you realize the incredible depth and history of Greece and the Greek people.


James Lambros

Heritage Greece Blog Day #1 in Greece: Christina’s Entry, 6/14/13

When we arrived in Athens I was very surprised that it was not very hot. I was expecting it to be 90 degrees or at least feel like it. Once we arrived at the dorms we had a few moments of free time and then we took a campus tour. Honestly I was expecting the campus to be a couple of blocks in the middle of the city, but it is so pretty! The outdoor amphitheater has the prettiest view!!! After the tour we returned to the dorms and had dinner and met with some professors and some Greek students.

After dinner we toured the neighborhood and this was a bit overwhelming. I am not use to crossing such busy streets. There were many restaurants and shops in the platia. I still can’t believe that I am in Greece! When a couple of returned to the dorm we had to ask the RAs to help us unlock the door, which was really funny. I can’t wait to see what else this trip has in store!!

Christina Arp

University of Georgia,  Psychology Major | Music Minor