Saturday – Sunday, June 13-14

Today, I met the people that I’ll be spending the next two weeks with for the first time. We began our journey with a wonderful dinner on top of the AHEPA headquarters in Washington DC which- I won’t lie- was quite overwhelming. Everyone was filled with excitement that they get to meet 50 new amazing Greek American students but also filled with nervousness for the very same reason. Fifty new names to remember? it seems harder than it sounds. Everyone was unbelievably welcoming, as we’re the leaders of the program. It was clear that everyone was looking forward to the next two weeks in their homeland. My peers and I tried our best to sleep on the 9 hours total on the planes, but some we’re more successful than others. Gradually we got to learn more and more about where each of us were from and what we do throughout the planes and reception- each participant seems eager to learn and experience what this country had to offer.

-Demi Kouvaris
Watermelon group

After a long plane ride to Greece, we were all tired, naturally, but at the same time very excited to arrive in our ancestral country and enthusiastic for the adventure ahead!  We were greeted by helpful ACG students, who assisted us in moving in to our apartments and instilled further confidence in us about how fun and rich this experience would be.  The chefs at ACG cooked a delicious souvlaki dinner for us, where we had the chance to meet and spend time with more ACG students as well as our American peers.

The next day, we visited the Marathon Tomb and learned about the Battle of Marathon, in which the Athenians defeated invading Persian forces, despite being heavily outnumbered.  This outcome was very important in history, for Western Civilization as we know it today would not exist had Athens lost the Persian Wars.  Afterwards, we visited the beach and ate lunch at nearby Schoinias, which proved to be a very relaxing part of the trip.  The water was clean, cool, and refreshing.  It was just what we needed as we recovered from jet lag and the time difference.

Finally, following a tour of the campus and the surrounding neighborhood of Agia Paraskevi, we all gathered for dinner at a Cretan tavern.  From the delicious salata (salad), moussaka, patates (oven-roasted potatoes), souvlaki, kefthedes (Greek-style meatballs), and dessert, we tasted why Greek cuisine is so renowned in the USA and many other parts of the world!  Overall, the first few days of the program were filled with plenty of helpful educational insights, delightful Greek cuisine, and excellent friends and company!

-John Banas

Saturday was mostly a blur for me with all the traveling and exhaustion that ensued, but I think even though we were all tired and sick of airplanes by Saturday evening we were also all ecstatic to be in Greece! The welcome reception was lovely and the best part was getting to meet our ACG peers for the first time. One of the best parts of this program so far has been the opportunity to get to know people our age from Greece because it’s a wonderful way to learn more about the culture from a more relatable perspective, and also a great way to practice our Greek! I couldn’t believe how warm and friendly all the peers were to us that first night (and still are!). They had only just met us but already I was able to have conversations with them and found myself laughing at their jokes. The next day, Sunday, we got to spend at the beach, which is personally one of my favorite things about Greece. The water was breathtaking and the sun felt amazing. The perfect first full day in Greece!

-Antigone Delton

The welcome barbecue on Saturday night was very fun. The food was delicious and I made many new friends quickly. We ate souvlakia and patates and much more! The ACG peers are very friendly and fun to talk to. I really am getting the full experience of Greece by having them with me. I am more than excited to see what the rest of this trip has to offer me!

-Eoanna Ragias
Watermelon group

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