I did not know what to expect moving to Greece for three months to do an internship. I was both excited and terrified as this was going to be the biggest adventure of my life. Being an Archaeology student, I have learned a lot about the fieldwork side of the discipline, but this experience was going to provide me with an opportunity to learn about the behind-the-scenes work involved in Archaeology. My internship at the CIG involved working with catalogues and collections of publications, sorting through boxes of a professor’s life’s work, hosting events, and revamping the social media accounts. I came into this experience wondering if I belonged in Greece and at the Institute because I do not study classics, but rather human remains, and I do not know Greek or much about the history of Greece. I was out of my element, but that is what made this internship that much more rewarding.
I am very fortunate that I had multiple chances to not only explore Athens, but see what else the country had to offer. Weekends provided opportunities to do smaller trips, such as a short ferry ride to the island of Aegina, or a road trip down to Kalamata during olive harvesting season. My greatest expedition while here was hopping on a plane to Santorini for a few days and getting to experience the island culture, take a catamaran cruise, and swim in the volcanic hot spring. During my time in Greece, I got to visit many sites and museums, try traditional Greek food, and make some friends who worked at the local coffee shops. As well, Friday afternoons were spent going to the street market around the corner from the Institute to pick up some local grapes and figs.
Visiting the Acropolis was obviously first on the list of things to do, and it was incredible seeing the structures that I have heard about my entire life. The Ancient Athenian Agora was mesmerizing as it was tucked away within the heart of the city despite its extraordinary size. Seeing how the modern and ancient cities are so interwoven is truly remarkable as you are surrounded with rich history everywhere you step. The archaeological excavations underneath the Acropolis Museum especially highlighted this for me. With so much to see in such proximity, it is impossible to run out of things to do in Greece. It was a busy three months balancing my internship, schoolwork, and experiencing Greece, but I made the most of my time and the opportunities before me.
What I was not expecting about coming to Greece was meeting a large network of people from all over the world that I became so close with. Between darts nights on Tuesdays, events at the CIG and different foreign archaeological schools, and roommates at the CIG apartment, I have made connections in Greece that are going to last long after returning home to Canada. I am thankful to have met so many people who have opened my eyes to the different opportunities that are out there for a young archaeologist finding her way. Between graduate programs, field and lab opportunities, and career paths, I have learned a great deal by taking a chance getting out of the classroom and immersing myself in the professional world. I eventually found my footing and have grown as a person because I was forced out of my comfort zone coming to Greece. I would highly recommend an opportunity like this to anyone who is trying to find their own footing in their academic career. The experience is invaluable and unforgettable, and I will forever be grateful for the Canadian Institute in Greece having me as a part of their team these past three months.
Wilfrid Laurier University intern, autumn-winter 2022