Undergraduate Student Blog, Speaking of Princeton

Undergraduate Student Blog

Author: Makenna May ’17

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho • French Language and Literature View Profile

Hello Again from Hellas (Ελλάς/Greece)!

An update on my summer experience in Athens

Now that I am halfway done with my internship and am becoming quite the graecophile, I wanted to share an update about my internship experience and time in Greece!

First of all, I now feel more like a local than a tourist — I’m no longer carrying a map around with me, and I have my favorite bakery and grocery stores, so I feel like I am settling into quite the routine here. I’ve also joined a local gym and live in a neighborhood with working-class families instead of tourists, and I think that experiencing the real everyday life of a city for eight weeks is a huge benefit for all students doing internships through Princeton's International Internship Program.

Lykabettus Hill
Getting to the top of the Lykabettus Hill without a map or asking for directions? This certainly merits status as a local Athenian!

I mentioned in my previous post that I am working with the director of academic affairs at the College Year in Athens, and this is a great opportunity for me as I am pursuing a career in higher education administration. So far, I’ve created the academic handbook and orientation guide for the fall students this year, and I've also worked with digitalizing and editing the historical archives of the program to create a repository of reference materials to use for future projects.

My favorite job so far has been taking charge of coordinating and updating the social media platforms to promote the program and share the experiences students are having this summer. I've been wonderfully surprised by the opportunity to attend some day trips with the summer classes so that I can take pictures for our social media sites. My favorite day trip was with a class to the island of Aegina.

Aegina Town
Aegina is one of the islands in the Argosaronic Gulf and has that beautiful clear water of the Aegean Sea.

Aegina is known for its pistachios, and they are often considered the best in the world because of the combination of the soil and the sea air that make for perfect growing conditions on the island. We visited a pistachio cooperative farm in the morning, and we were given a tour of the fields and the factory. The best part? An endless supply of raw and roasted pistachio samples to munch on as we listened! Then in the afternoon, we had a picnic lunch and had the afternoon free to go to the beach and shop before taking the ferry back to Athens.

Pistachio farm
Here I am in the middle of the endless pistachio trees in Aegina.

Another great day was my day trip to Hydra. I took a ferry on a Saturday to the island, and this has been my favorite place to visit in Greece so far! No vehicles are allowed on the island. Only donkeys and walking are permitted, and this was so cool to see and experience.

Hydra Town
The first thing that you see when you arrive in Hydra is donkeys, donkeys, and more donkeys!

Of course, I couldn't resist taking a donkey ride around the island, and it was so neat to see the beautiful stone mansions and monasteries that make the island famous, too.

Donkey ride
Hands down, the best method of transportation ever!

In sum, I can definitely say that between having both these work and travel experiences, my time in Athens has been a great chance for me to be independent, to learn a lot about myself, and to reflect on how I envision my future career. Now, as I start approaching my time to return home, my agenda includes enjoying as much Greek food and gelato as possible, exploring the remaining neighborhoods of the city that I have yet to see, and seeing a show at the famous Athens and Epidaurus Festival!