From the market to the dinner table…

Tuesday morning began with another Greek language class to prepare for an afternoon at the traditional “Laiki” market shopping for fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, herbs, spices and more. The participants have been working in the classroom to improve their conversational skills and be able apply their expanded vocabulary in day to day life in Greece. There is no better opportunity to practice Greek than at the Laiki!

The colorful streets of the traditional Laiki market.

A Laiki (open farmer’s market) can be found in almost every neighborhood of Athens, its suburbs and all around Greece. In Athens alone there are 44 ‘Laikes’ and each neighborhood hosts their Laiki on a specific weekday. Fresh fruits, vegetables and even fresh fish caught in the nearby seas can be found in the Laiki market. The participants were able to walk around, smelling the aromas from all different varieties of fresh foods, and practice Greek while ordering from the local vendors!

“The Laiki experience was awesome,” said HG participant Deanna Tzanis. “ I loved talking to the locals and getting to practice my Greek in an authentic way. I ordered fruit and had a great time with the ACG peers and HG participants.”

ACG peers helped the HG participants order their favorite fruits and vegetables in Greek.

After the Laiki, we spent the afternoon in another cultural seminar learning more about the heritage we all share and how the Greek culture has transformed through generations. After having been in Greece for over a week, and having spent time in many museums, classes, at beautiful locations and at iconic historic monuments, the participants are starting to feel connected to Greece and understanding their culture deeper.

The host family evening is always a beautiful night for the Heritage Greece participants, and for the extended family of the peers and HG community who host participants for a night. The participants are invited into the homes of ACG families where they get to taste Greek cuisine, connect and share the experiences they have had so far with ACG faculty, administrators, students and their families. Once again, the participants experienced the warm hospitality that Greece is best known for.

Welcome to the family! Heritage Greece participants shared an evening with ACG peers and their families for the host family evening.

“I loved the host family experience, the family that welcomed me in to their family was lovely,” said Styliani Tragus. “My host family took us downtown in the center of Athens, showing us an authentic night out for Athenians! I can’t wait to come back to Greece and visit them in the future.”

Community is one of the pillars of Greek culture. Sitting around a table, sharing a meal and sharing stories is a beautiful experience – one that is very special to the Greek people. No matter what family the participants shared a meal with, bonding together over a meal with a family who treated them like their own was a special feeling for all. It is moments like these, laughing and connecting with people who were but strangers a week before, when we realize how important our shared heritage is to all of us.

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