When I first heard about the internship offered at the Canadian
Institute in Greece I couldn’t believe what an incredible opportunity
the position was, and I knew I had to apply. However, it wasn’t until I
had been accepted and embarked on my journey to Athens that I discovered
how truly incredible this internship was. As an upper-year Classics and
Medieval Studies student, the opportunity to enhance my professional
skills, while gaining archival experience internationally was enticing
enough, but the prospect of living twenty minutes away from the
acropolis was inconceivable.
Throughout my internship I was able to discover the behind the scenes
work that is involved in creating and maintaining an archive, while also
learning what it takes to run a small-scale institute. As a result, I
have become quite the small-scale archivist at the Canadian Institute.
During my three months at the Institute, I was tasked with organising,
digitising, and archiving a numerous amount of documents regarding the
Institute's involvement with fieldwork as well as their own
administrative documents. Despite the sometimes tedious nature of
scanning and reorganising the documents, it was rewarding to bring order
to the chaos.
Outside of working at the Institute, I spent much of my time exploring
the numerous museums and archaeological sites throughout the city.
Athens was a wonderful place to spend the majority of my three months
in, despite sometimes feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of
activities, both touristy and non-touristy, that were available in a
single city! My excursions to the ancient agoras and the acropolis
offered a glimpse into what life would have looked like in antiquity,
while my visits to the National Archaeological Museum provided a new
perspective on artefacts I had studied. The ability to examine a statue
in the flesh instead of simply in a photograph allowed me to form new
interpretations as more details come forward.
Another highlight of Athens, of course, was sampling the delicious
cuisine. I've enjoyed the food so much that on multiple occasions my
friends from the American School as well as some of my roommates and I
have tried our hands at making some of our favourite dishes. The
attempts at making fried zucchini balls, baking and gutting a whole
fish, and replicating various salads were completed with much success.
(They are not quite as good as what the tavernas serve, but they are
getting closer each time!)
Beyond Athens I visited Mykonos, Aegina, Mycenae, Nafplio, Delphi,
Sounion, and Arachova, to name a few. Throughout my travels, I was
constantly floored by the beauty of Greece. All of the blue skies and
wildflowers seemed to make every site or temple much more magical as
every site felt like I was walking through a painting. One of my
favourite places where I was left speechless by Greece's natural beauty
was when I visited Mycenae and was able to view the surrounding plains,
while being surrounded by the mountains. Even though there was a hoard
of tourists all around I felt an extreme sense of peace up there, and I
can definitely see why the Mycenaeans chose that location.
As I reflect on the past three months I am filled with so much
happiness at the memories and friends I made during this time. I have
felt my professional skills grow as I became increasingly confident in
updating the archives. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity I
was given, and how much it has enhanced my learning as a young academic
and a world traveller. I look forward to returning one day, but will
continue to fondly remember my experiences here through my memories, new
friends, and delicious recipes.
University of Waterloo intern, winter-spring 2019