If someone told me at the beginning of 2019 that this would be how I spend the last few months of the year, I would never have believed them. I still find it hard to comprehend all the sites and museums I have been to and all the people I have befriended. What an amazing few months this has been. Walking into this internship I was also entering my third year of my undergraduate studies at Brock University. Looking back a few months, I can honestly say that this was the best way to confirm my passion for the Classics program. I have a lot of ideas for the future of my education, but I think spending these few months in Athens, a city so rich in ancient history and art, I have corroborated those ideas.
I have realized over the last few months that there is a lot more to be learned by looking at a site/monument/artifact in person than in a classroom. There is so much more than just art and architecture, which I have found cannot be understood unless I am standing under the Temple of Hephaestus in the Athenian Agora or entering the Acropolis through the Propylaea. Each site/monument/artifact is meant to make us feel something, which doesn’t always happen through a picture. Visiting sites like these have definitely been a huge part in my learning these past few months. It is amazing getting to see all the ancient buildings and then being able to go to the CIG and read a book, or five, about them.
Working at the CIG has not only taught me about all the work that goes into Cultural Organizations but also some skills I will definitely require in my future. During my few months interning I have learned how to archive, catalogue a library following the Library of Congress system, and practice using social media from a promotional point of view. I am most proud of my work on the archives as it definitely took up most of my time. I found it very rewarding to scan the final documents and sort them into their appropriate folders. I had no idea that through working on the archives I would learn so much about the history of the CIG as well; in a way, it was kind of like visiting a museum. A big Thank you is definitely much deserved to all the people involved keeping the Institute running all these years. Thanks to them I have been able to experience Athens in a very unique way.
Excursions were a large part of my down time in Athens. Being here for a long period of time, I was able to visit both Archaeological sites and museums, as well as islands and Northern cities in Greece. In October I paid a visit to the Northern city of Kastoria for a mini hiking trip, and a couple weeks later I took a ferry to Hydra for relaxed weekend of swimming. I really loved the balance I was able to establish between absorbing information and relaxing in the Greek sun. However, regardless of where I ventured off to, I always had the same feeling of awe when taking in my surroundings; whether it be the natural beauty of Greece or the man-made architecture. A few of my favourite Archaeological sites were Delphi, Epidaurus, Athenian Agora, the Acropolis (of course), and the Hill of the Muses. If given the chance I could visit each of these sites every single day.
But of course, the friendships I have made over the course of this internship are definitely what I have enjoyed the most. From my hostel-mates to members of other institutes, the people have all been so friendly and welcoming. I think it is easy to visit any country and enjoy oneself, but it is rare that you make connections with so many people on one short visit. The CIG has been a dream of an experience, so don’t worry Jonathan I will be back to visit soon!
Brock University intern, autumn 2019