Tuesday, December 29, 2015

My Internship in Athens

I started my internship at the Canadian Institute in Greece in mid-January. When I arrived I was welcomed with rather chilly weather, easing my transition from Canada. It soon warmed up, and I got used to the routine and living in Athens. I was introduced to Jonathan Tomlinson and David Rupp and the current fellow, Sarah Nash. I was welcomed warmly and started my work feeling at ease and hopeful for my three months in Athens.

During my internship at the Institute I had three main tasks, the first of which I spent my first two weeks accomplishing. I was in charge of cataloguing books and helping out in the library. Although this is a common task an intern will have, I had never done it before and learned a lot of new skills. My second task was helping out with preparations for the Institute’s upcoming sale of duplicate books by organizing and cataloguing books and periodicals, and my third was to organize the Institute’s archive room. Working with the archives was interesting to me because I became familiar with permit and application procedures. I learned more about the administrative work behind excavations through organizing documents and going over a variety of corespondence letters. I enjoyed my work at the Institute because not only was I able to learn and explore new skills, I also benefited greatly from the lecture series hosted by the Institute. The lecture series was bi-weekly and ranged from topics about Roman sculpture to Haida weaving techniques. In addition to the Canadian lecture series I attended lectures at a variety of other international schools in Athens. This allowed me to learn about other scholars’ research and projects, but also interact with other archaeologists and make new friends (Darts night helped solidify some of these relationships)

My internship was an amazing experience for me due to the fact that I was able to travel almost every weekend to places all over Greece. I went on these trips with some amazing people I met from the other international schools. Some of the most notable places that I visited were Rhodes, Meteora and Thessaloniki. At each of these places I visitied the key museums and archaeological sites, and I also tried their local foods. I had been to Greece in the past, but was not able to go to these places, and it was truly an awesome expereince to be able to this year. I hope to come back and visit some places that I didn’t get the chance to see during this stay. Greece has so many nice places to visit and explore!

I also was able to explore Athens in a different way than I was ever able to in the past. I explored different districts of Athens and went to local restaurants and cafes. I also visited a variety of smaller museums and sites that are not as touristy as places in the center. Living in a city for a few months provides a different experience than simply visiting as a tourist for a short time. A longer stay allows one to learn the language better and get to know what life is like for Greeks in the city. Athens has felt like home these past few months, and there’s more to see next time I visit.

Even though I am very sad my stay at the Canadian Institute is over and I am leaving Athens, I am very thankful for the experience I had. I especially want to thank Jonathan and David for helping make my stay enjoyable and helping me with the work at the Institute. I also want to thank all the people I have met here for helping me have some of the best three months and giving me memories I won’t forget.

“So far has Athens left the rest of mankind behind in thought and expression that her pupils have become the teachers of the world, and she has made the name of Hellas distinctive no longer of race but of intellect, and the title of Hellene a badge of education rather than of common descent.” (Isocrates, Panegyricus, 50)

Esther Knegt
University of Waterloo

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