Friday, July 31, 2015

My Personal Odyssey

In the art of storytelling, many scholars can agree that the tale of a hero’s journey has been one of the most common themes in the Ancient World; the protagonist embarks on a new journey and undergoes a number of tasks to reach his\her goal.  From Odysseus’ “homecoming”, to Akhilleus’ strive for “eternal glory”, oral tradition has provided the modern world with some of the best examples of heroes who achieved their goals through perseverance, despite their long journey.  From my experience as an undergraduate student, I believe that students share a similarity with these heroes in their academic journey from they day they begin their program in post secondary studies, to the day they graduate. As Odysseus’ journey to Ithaca changed a number of times for the hero, the academic path of a student is no less different.

My name is Christina Ioannides and I was selected as the Summer 2015 Intern Student here at the Canadian Institute in Greece from the beginning of May to the end of July. I am a fourth year Hellenic Studies undergraduate student at York University, and I learned about the Canadian Institute in Greece’s internship opportunity through York International, a department at the university which is in charge of the study abroad opportunities for its students.  During my stay here at the CIG, I was assigned a number of different tasks that included clerical work around the library, as well as some archive work with the Institute’s “Portal to the Past” project.

Looking back at the work I have done so far as the intern, the project that was the most educational and enjoyable to work on was the “Portal to the Past” archive project. As a Hellenic Studies major, the archive work was not only an educational project, but also an interesting one as the content of the files were from previous, or ongoing fieldwork studies.  In these files were images, documents, reports, and newspaper clippings that related to the project, and my job was to make sure that the files from the physical archive were also present in the digital one.  In addition, I was able to have a closer look at the original images taken at these sites as well as read through many of the survey reports, which were quite informative and interesting.   I also came across a number of documents from the Ministry addressed to the Institute, which were mostly written in Modern Greek, and was able to get a better understanding as to what is required for the Institute and survey team to proceed with a study in Greece.  Yet another exciting task assigned to me while working with the CIG was assisting with the Institute’s open meeting in May.  Not only had I the opportunity of listening to an intriguing lecture on Hominids in Naxos by Professor Carter, but I was also able to interact with other professionals who specialized in my studies.

Further to my work with the CIG, I was encouraged to explore Greece as much as I could to add to the experience of interning abroad. I am proud to say that I did in fact monopolize my free time to do so, and visited a number of museums, as well as different regions of the country.

Overall, my experience in Greece with the Canadian Institute is one that I will never forget, and I am very grateful that I was given the opportunity to be a representative of York University. I would like to take a moment to thank the Director and Assistant Director of the Institute for giving me this fantastic opportunity to work with the CIG for the past three months. The internship not only gave me a great opportunity to experience work in an archive first hand, but also help me decide which direction I should take for further academic studies. I have certainly learned a lot while being here, and will apply what I’ve learned to my studies.

Thank you once again for giving this Greek-Canadian from the Diaspora the opportunity to learn on a whole different level.

Christina Ioannides

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