How was Greece?

Upon my return to the states, I’ve been asked more times than I can count “How was Greece?” The only words that I can find to answer this are “life changing.” Heritage Greece was not only a chance for me to visit incredible historical sites, taste authentic Greek cuisine, and experience all of the things about Greece that my YiaYia and Papou constantly regale over, but also a chance for me to make lifelong friends. Though I had been told that the relationships you make on a trip like this are unique, I really had no idea what to expect going into it. The friendships that I made, both with my fellow Greek American students and the ACG peers, are truly one of a kind. Having so much in common from the beginning coupled with sharing so many amazing experiences together, the 2014 Heritage Greece class quickly became my family. This program gave me an opportunity to experience some of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen, better understand my culture, and connect with other students like myself. Heritage Greece was truly a once in a lifetime experience, and I couldn’t possibly be more thankful to have been able to be a part of it.

Alexandra (Allie) Weber

Downtown Stroll and Family Evening

Thursday, June 26

Greek Language Class

Strolling around downtown Athens and Shopping

Lunch in downtown Athens

Host Family Evening



Today, after our last Greek language class, we went to Σύνταγμα and Μοναστηράκι, two areas which were full of people, stores, and the smell of great food. From many streets in the area, we could see the Parthenon and the Acropolis, and being able to see both the old Greece and the new, modern Greece right next to each other was really interesting since it gave us a look into what Greece has been and what it has become. We had some great food for lunch, and after that we spent the afternoon and evening with our host families. It was great to meet with the families and find out more about their country (and ours!), and I definitely enjoyed the experience.

Matthew Kokkinos



Today’s activities offered a break from the usual fully packed schedule that I have become accustomed to while in Athens. Class began with lessons on the common Greek phrases and vocabulary necessary for shopping. Perfect timing since our first activity is taking the buss to down town Athens for lunch and shopping. The days after days of beautiful scenery and culture emersion can evoke a feeling of scenery overload. Finding the words to share all beautiful moments hardest part of explaining this trip to others. I have been taking many photos in hopes to retrieve lost memories and favorite moments of these past two weeks.

Nicholas Irmen


As usual, each day here has been getting better and better. Had class in the morning. In the intro class we went over simple directions so that we don’t get lost when we take on the city. Post class, we took a bus to downtown Athens where we were set loose on the shops. I personally purchased a pretty fly tank so I can represent Greece wherever I go. We then went and enjoyed lunch and went back to get ready for the host night. My group was invited to Ioanna’s house where we enjoyed an amazing family dinner with her parents and her cousins. The food was the best I’ve had all trip. Octopus was grilled first for a midday snack, followed by an amazing pastitiso and full dinner and dessert.

Matt Lycas


Today we had our last official language class of the trip. We went over how to ask for directions and then started to prepare for our exam the following day. Then we went to downtown Athens where we went shopping and had lunch at Kotili. Monastiraki had so many stores allowing everyone to get the souvenirs they wanted. We were then able to relax at the residences before we were picked up by our host families. I was lucky enough to have my own family to pick me up and take me to their home. My aunt prepared a huge dinner consisting of pork souvlaki, pita, feta, stuffed peppers, oven roasted lemon potatoes, Greek salad, and sausage. After dinner they took me to a bar in Petroupoli that overlooked Athens. It was a wonderful night filled with laughter and great conversation. It was sad to leave my family but I know I’ll be back soon because after this trip I know I won’t be able to stay away from Greece.

Melanie Konidaris

ACG President’s Reception

Wednesday, June 25

Greek Language Class

Greek Culture Seminar

Study time, Free time and ACG Pool

ACG President’s Reception


Today, we went to the president’s house of the American College of Degree to have dinner. His house was absolutely beautiful and the food that was prepared was very tasty! It was nice to sit around and talk to people while just having a good time. Everyone was dressed very nicely and it really made the night fun! We took tons of pictures that we can look back on for years to come. As this program is coming to a close, I am appreciative of all the opportunities I have had due to this trip.

Georgina Jensen


With all of the constant action going on every day here in Athens, it was quite relieving to have a more relaxed day as we did not travel around Athens or any other city today. After our morning classes, a sociology professor from Deree held a cultural and economic informational seminar where we were able to talk about the formation of the European Union and the establishment of the Euro currency at the turn of the millennium. Afterwards, I was given the opportunity to meet one of Art Dimopolous’ friends who runs a prestigious think tank in Washington DC called the Brookings Institute. Later in the day a few of us students played basketball with one of the piers named Lucas. Lucas plays basketball for Deree and is very good. But the Dream Team (shout out to Jack Dulgarian, Matt Lycas, Albert Scerbo, and myself) was able to annihilate Lucas and his team. Hopefully Lucas had extra tissues in his gym bag. The analogy of Odysseus and the Cyclops comes to mind after our victory in the battle on the court. Later on that night we had dinner at the gorgeous home of the President of the American College of Greece.

Bobby Kamaris



Today was another great day at Nafplion

Tuesday, June 24

Departure from Residences, Corinth Canal stop

Arrival, Experiential Language Class, Sightseeing

Lunch at restaurant in Nafplion

Palamidi Castle visit

Souvlaki and World Cup evening at the residences



Today was another great day, as have been all days on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of a trip. We woke up extra early this morning to head off to Nafplio, which is a 3 hour drive from the residences. When we got off the bus, we arrived at a beautiful port with crystal blue water and sailboats. The scene made me super nostalgic for our amazing sailing trip this past weekend. After, we were lucky enough to visit the Harvard University center for Hellenic Studies. We strolled around the picturesque streets and shopped a bit for souvenirs, gifts, and more. Nafplio is an incredible city with an extremely European vibe. It reminded me a lot of Spain, Germany, Austria, and Italy. We interacted with the locals and used as much Greek as possible as we bought different things. Then we ate lunch at another Taverna. The lamb was delicious. It fell right off the bone. Finally we grabbed some gelato from the one authentic Italian ice cream shop. As we were eating our gelato in the plaza, we broke out in casual song as one of the members of our group strummed on his guitar. We did this at the taverna too and it’s become a signature part of our daily routine. It was honestly so refreshing to be able to just randomly start singing and playing guitar at a restaurant, something that would be unheard of back in the states. That’s one of my favorite parts of the Greek lifestyle. After the gelato, we visited the Palamidi castle which also had wonderful views of the city and the ocean. Finally we came back to the residences, had free time, and we just finished enjoying souvlaki for dinner. Now it’s time to watch the World Cup game. Go Greece!

Karina Camargo



The rapid pace of our Heritage Greece trip settled into a rhythm that let us all become immersed in the Greek culture of Nafplio. Our day began with traveling to the Corinthian Canal where we got to take a few photos before arriving to Nafplio. We experienced a great change in the atmosphere between the areas we’ve traveled to. While Athens is exciting with many people and must-see places and activities, walking off the bus in Nafplio immediately gave us a new perspective on Greece. The atmosphere immediately was one of a slower pace and, somehow, it led us to appreciate our heritage even more. Our stroll in Nafplio was ornamented with a charm that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. The colors of the buildings were several vibrant shades of white, blue, pink, and orange among many other colors. The drive back to Athens along the sea was just as breathtaking as the day had been. Each day this experience continues to teach us something and it could never be compared to anything else.

Sarah Gianopoulos


On Tuesday, we stopped at the Corinth Canal and then went to Nafplio.  The straight cut of the canal was breathtaking and quite impressive.  After seeing the canal, we went to Nafplio, which reminded me of Italy.  In Nafplio we shopped, ate a delicious lunch, and saw the Palamidi Castle.  We also enjoyed taking a break for icecream and singing together.  Nafplio was quite unique as the buildings lining the streets were all different colors.  Also, many of the shops had plants with hot pink and white flowers climbing up the buildings.  We all enjoyed the unique, calm atmosphere of Nafplio!

Thea Gergoudis

Today we went to Ναύπλιο on the beautiful mainland of Greece. By looking at the itinerary, many would cringe at the sight of seeing a 2 1/2 hour bus ride, but this was defiantly worth it.
Upon arrive we could see our reflection of our bus in the water from the crystal blue sea. It looked almost like a clear glass as you could see the fish swimming at the bottom. We enjoyed a bountiful lunch from a Creatian tavern. I was fortunate to meet the owner, who happened to be just another great and friendly Greek that is seen throughout all of the Hellenic Republic. I started speaking almost 5 weeks ago. But as time went on I was able to pick up conversation more easily. Halfway through our chatter I thought to myself, “Am I really speaking Greek to someone when I just learned the language?” I was. How cool is this experience?
Above all it turned out to be a great day. We even got a chance to go up to Palamidi’s Castle. I paused, took a deep breath and enjoyed the view that was indescribable. You have to see it to believe it in person. Thank you to Heritage Greece for the opportunity of a lifetime and a new and deeper sense of pride in my culture and identity.
Jack Dulgarian

Gaea food tasting

Monday, June 23

Experiential Language Class in Open Flea Market

Gaea Food tasting and Lunch

Seaside dinner at Mikrolimano, Kastella


The Gaea Foods tasting with Chef Christoforos Peskias, who was on Iron Chef Greece for a short amount of time, was by far the greatest treat of today (pun completely intended). Chef Christoforos gave us a grand showing of how to make the most delicious and mouth-watering: potato salad, revamped Greek salad, shrimp saganaki, and chocolate crème. These dishes all had the common theme of being able to use olive oil in all types of foods. Chef Christoforos also taught us that the Mediterrranean/Greek cuisine consists of five elements: wheat, dairy, salt, wine, and olive oil. Through utilizing these five culinary elements, he emphasizes that they get us in-touch with our five sensory elements.

Shopping in Kifisia was also a cherry on top of an excellent day because not only was the weather beautiful and the shops full of fashion-forward clothing, I found my dress for the President’s Reception on Wednesday. My day was completely made.

Thalia Dimopoulos


Today we went to a cooking class at Different and Different. We were served warm potato salad, alternative greek salad, shrimp saganaki, and chocolate creme with bread, olive oil and salt. The food was incredible! All the plates were drenched in olive oil, which according to Chef Peskias is one of the most important ingredients to any greek dish along with salt, wheat, wine, and dairy. It was such an amazing experience!

Jenna Douvikas


Today, we went to Kifissia to shop and interact with the locals! Our group went into a supermarket to look around and it was so interesting to see just how different it was from a common American grocery store. Jessica Wolfe and I bought books similar to these in order to practice reading greek and to learn more vocabulary words! I can’t wait to read them!!!

Anne Denning

Weekend’s events

Saturday, June 21

Sailing to Aegina and Poros

Dinner at restaurant on Poros


Sunday, June 22

Church mass at the Metropolitan Church of Aghios Georgios on Poros

Sailing to Angistri, Mediterranean cooking workshop

Dinner at the Residences and reflection time


Over the weekend, we had an incredible opportunity to sail to the islands of Poros and Angistri. This sailing adventure was a wonderful get-away after an eventful week of exploring mainland Greece and studying Greek language/culture. Before reaching Poros, we stopped to eat lunch and swim in the Aegean Sea. The water and the scenery were absolutely breathtaking! Swimming was also fun and refreshing!  I really enjoyed learning how to sail and spending quality time relaxing and getting to know one another better. On our return from Poros, we swam at Angistri and cooked meals together on our sailboats. I loved this trip because we got to explore Greek islands while relaxing, bonding, and cooking “family meals”. It was a wonderful weekend with my Heritage Greece family!

Danielle Pappas​


Our first week in Greece was nothing short of incredible, and the weekend sailing trip was a perfect way to top it off. Leaving the crowded city of Athens behind, we sailed into the sapphire waters of the Aegean Sea, toward the misty, rocky shores of the islands. We all learned how to sail, which is a vital aspect of Greek culture and history. Every view was post-card-worthy. Between the two days, we visited the gorgeous islands of Aegina, Poros, and Angistri. We also saw famous landmarks like Piraeus and Salamis, the site of the famous Greek victory over the Persians that ignited the Golden Age of Greece.  With the breathtaking landscapes, delicious Greek food, calming sea breezes, new sailing and cooking skills, and fun with friends, this was truly a vacation in paradise.

Alex Markos


Today was the second day of our amazing sailing trip! The night before we slept on the boats in the harbor at Poros. Despite fears of seasickness, my boat slept well and we had breakfast made by our ACG peer, Costas. We ate it on the ride over to Angistri, our third and final island to visit. The skippers anchored and everyone had a great time doing dives and flips off of the plank of the boat and swimming. A couple of the skippers and students went to the beach, which turned out to be very rocky. The turquoise waters, beautiful weather, and great company were enough to distract us from the rough terrain though. While leaving Angistri, my boat worked together to create a delicious lunch of pasta with a tomato and calamari sauce, sautéed mushrooms, and horiatiki. The rest of ride back to the mainland was sleepy after our two days of adventure. Once we got back to the apartments we had a pizza dinner in the lobby, and most people went out for ice cream. Our sailing trip was a beautiful experience that brought us closer together and showed us an entirely different part of Greece. By the end of the trip I had heard plenty of remarks about moving to Poros for good, and I can’t say I feel any differently!

Julia Constantelos


The first day of the sailing trip was so much fun! I had never been sailing before so i was extremely excited to have experienced it. The view was so beautiful. I felt like I was living in a post card, it was amazing. Also, the boat was so cool and relaxing. Throughout this whole trip we were on a tight schedule, so being on the boat kind of let us really see what Greece is all about. The view, the smell, the feeling of the cool breeze. All of that put together, got me to realize how beautiful Greece really is. Also, when we jumped into the water after sailing for a little while was so much fun! The water was so blue!! In South Carolina, you can not even see your feet in the water. Here the water was so clear. We all jumped out of the boat and got together and swam and had a great time. At one point i stopped and took a look around and it was an amazing sight. All of the kids i came on the trip with, who are now a part of my family were all having such a great time. It was a sea full of us kids having fun and enjoying the island. The amount of “selfies” taken show how much we enjoyed it.

Maria Chulkas



We began our sailing trip today. There wasn’t enough wind to sail so we had a fairly smooth trip to Αίγινα. The water was beautiful- so blue and clear. I could’ve swam all day. Most of us had never been on a sailboat, so it was an exciting day. When we had dinner in Πόροσ we couldn’t resist a little Greek dancing, the restaurant owner even joined us! It was wonderful to slow down and enjoy the island lifestyle.​

Allison Charoni


visiting the U.S. Embassy

Firday, June 20

Greek Language and Culture Class

Greek Culture Seminar

Experiential Language Class over Lunch in Aghia Paraskevi

U.S. Embassy visit

Dinner in Aghia Paraskevi

Open Air Cinema experience


Today our group went to the taverna and used the language skills we learned in class to order our meals.  It is these types of first hand experiences of the everyday Greek life that make us appreciate our Hellenic background. We also had the privilege of visiting the American Embassy where we learned about their duties and responsibilities.  After dinner we visited the open air cinema, where we watched “Two Faces of January”.  The vibrant scenery and fellowship throughout the group make all trivial worries of the world seemingly melt away.  I can’t wait to see what else is in store for this trip!

Alexander Batis


Today we had an amazing time at the American embassy and enjoyed amazing Cretan cuisine. We learned about American foreign policy and its relationship with Greece. Overall another great day here at Heritage Greece!!!​

Argeroplos Nikephoros

Thursday’s events

Thursday, June 19

Greek Language and Culture Class & Experiential Language Class

Introduction to Sailing

Benaki Museum visit and dinner


I really enjoyed our first experiential language class, it’s a great way to practice what we’ve been learning in the language classes. After all, speaking the language is much more effective in becoming fluent, than just learning in the classroom. An inside look to the Greek coffee culture…

Alex Andreadis


Throughout the week, we have had the privilege of going to many historical sites within the city of Athens. Every historical site has been beautiful and has had a special effect on each and every individual on this trip. Today, we had the privilege of going to the beautiful Benaki Art Museum in downtown Athens. It gave me a very realistic insight into my family’s history and the types of jewelry and attire they wore during their lives in Greece. All of the beautiful artifacts really made me feel connected to my family’s history and culture and I hope that I have the privilege of returning some day soon.

Jeanne Aggouras

Beach Time and Visit to the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio

Wednesday, June 18

Greek Language and Culture Class

Greek Culture Seminar

Beach time and lunch in Glyfada

Temple of Poseidon, Sounio visit

Dinner in Kavouri


After relaxing beach and pool time in Glyfada, our group made the trek to Cape Sounia where there resides the remains of a once beautiful temple to the Greek god of the Sea, Poseidon. The hill on which the temple was constructed overlooks the gulf and has always been a landmark for sailors throughout history. After our visit, we drove to a little town along the coast where we enjoyed much delicious food; all while taking in the sights and sounds of the sea.

Giannis Kokenis


Today we went to Sounio, the southernmost part of Attika. Despite the cloudy weather, the beach was beautiful with some of the clearest water I’ve ever seen. After the beach we visited the Temple if Poseidon, overlooking the sea and the supposed place where king Aegeas threw himself into the sea, thus giving the name of the Aegean Sea. I couldn’t believe the view so yet again, this trip has surprised me in the very best way possible.

Stephanie Stamatis


Visiting the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

Tuesday, June 17

Greek Language and Culture Class

Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center visit

Lunch with a view to the Acropolis

Wine tasting and dinner at Greek traditional winery


We experienced a full third day here in Athens. One of the main highlights of the day was this evenings wine tasting. The night kicked off with a tour of the Papagiannakos family winery. The Papagiannakos family was so sweet and welcoming to the Heritage Greece community. After another great dinner, the entire group participated in traditional Greek dancing. It was a fantastic and traditional way to end another day here in Greece!

Juliette Nicole Michael


We were booked all day today between class, visiting the foundation center and wine tasting. The event that I found most interesting was the center. It was incredible to see the future plans of the site and learn about the overwhelming extent of the donor, Stavros Niarchos, and to see how his donations have and will enhance the surrounding Greek community. It was a great feeling to learn that I have the fortune to be part of a community that has so many caring people in it. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the Greek community here in Greece has to offer!

Athena Bermeo


Today I woke up early and had a stroll around agia pareskevi before class. By starting the day off with a great cup of elliniko café near the center of the town, I saw some of the true beauty of the Greek culture in its natural form. Thereafter, I went to the market to find everything very inexpensive. 9 liters of water, some tomatoes, beets and some squash for less than 6 euros. On my way back to the residency I dropped my wallet getting the keys out of my pocket and carrying too many items. For 3 hours my wallet was undiscovered and I thought I misplaced it in the residency. In Athens, it’s thought that once your wallet is gone- it’s gone. However a good samaritan found my wallet and brought it back to the dorms…. see, there are still good people Greece. Min anisixeis (don’t worry! )

Jonathan Cambouris