Friday, December 27, 2013
My Three-Month Internship at CIG - a Great Step in the Right Direction
Athens can be an intimidating city, especially to a newcomer. It’s often loud, with various noises like backfiring motorcycles, screeching cats, and weekend partiers’ celebrations lasting long into the night. The twisty and turning streets can lead one who has a bad sense of direction (such as me) hours away from their destination with just one wrong step. Several city maps torn in frustration got used up that way! Finally, the number of people crowding Athens can be overwhelming. The first time I went to Syntagma square, for instance, I was half-tempted to buy some sort of wooden implement from one of those touristy olive wood shops just so I could make myself some room!
I have learned a lot by being an intern at the Canadian Institute in Greece. Just being here, rooming in the hostel and going to various lectures, I was exposed to so many archaeologists, and the current trends in Mediterranean archaeology. I enjoyed learning about topics like the celebrant reality of the Athenian Dionysia or the settlement patterns of post-146 BCE Corinth. The libraries here in Athens, from the Canadian to the American and British ones, have exposed me to so many books that I want to read when I have the chance. Even some in Greek, as being here has really helped in learning to decipher those “omegas” and “alphas”. I also really enjoyed socializing at the many events that the CIG put on, such as the Portal to the Past Launch or Canadian music recitals.
Some of the things I did were cataloguing, accessioning books for the CIG library, and scanning photographic negatives—skills that I can take with me when I go back home. At the beginning of the year, I accessioned hundreds of book, helped deliver packages and various other office jobs. Later on, I helped with data entry for the CIG’s digital database, the Portal, and also helped create a catalogue for David’s slide collection. Domestic jobs, though no less important, were doing the weekly laundry, welcoming new guests to the hostel, and catering for the events that the CIG put on—hopefully my sandwiches weren’t too bad!
When I wasn’t working in the Insitute, I was doing online classes with Wilfrid Laurier’s distance education program. I’m currently in my third year of undergrad, but I felt I could handle the workload, and it seems to be working well so far! Being here has also given me some ides as to where I want to go in my career as an archaeologist—I know for sure, for example, that I want to go to graduate school. Of course, I always made sure to make some time to explore the city as well, after my schoolwork was done. After all, I was taking a Greek history course, and what better way to study than by actually being in Athens itself?
All in all, I’m leaving Athens with the sense that this internship really changed me. I no longer feel nervous or apprehensive about new experiences; I’ve lived away from home, made friends within the local population, and have done much more than I thought I could accomplish. From now on, when it comes to new experiences that come my way, I will face them head on, with the hopes that they will be just as enlightening as my time here in Athens at the Canadian Institute in Greece.
Wilfrid Laurier University