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27 July - Welcome to our first Greek island: Syros!


προς τα νησιά! To the Islands!

What a whirlwind our first two days on this program have been! Students got down to business yesterday with their first classes, and are making excellent progress on their course work.

Due to the extreme heat in Athens (38 degrees Celsius!), our planned visit to the Acropolis had to be postponed until our return leg in 3 weeks time. Nevertheless, the students did not let that get them down, as they instead went on a walking tour of Athens led by our program manager Bertan and our local coordinator Chara. 

Students had their first Athenian metro ride, travelling from the Jason Inn Hotel to the Presidential Palace. Along the way, students had the remarkable opportunity to see how the Athens subway system was built around the preservation of ancient artifacts. Students seemed fascinated to see the seamless intersection of history and modernity, as is often the case in Greece’s capital city! 

We then proceeded to spectate the changing-of-the-guard ceremony at the presidential palace, a highly coordinated and uniquely Greek experience! Many of the students remarked perceptively on how hot those guards must be in woolen clothing during the Athenian summer, and an excellent time was had by all.

Students got to chow-down at a beautiful restaurant near Monastiraki square, having a traditional Greek meal. The watermelon in particular was divine! After a lovely dinner of bonding, students had some free time to explore Athens in small groups, before coming back to the hotel for an early curfew to prepare for the trek to our first island location, Syros.

The students powered through a 5am wake-up call and travelled to Athens’ busy Piraeus port, travelling by ferry to Syros. The water on the ferry was a gorgeous deep blue, and many students remarked about their desire to get into the ocean. And when we arrived in Syros, that’s exactly what they did! Before even checking into their hotel rooms, they were into the Aegean. 

After settling into their hotel rooms, the students will have some afternoon classes, followed by beach volleyball and dinner at the Dolphin Bay resort. Syros, get ready for GSA Greece – August!

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– Activity Coordinator Harrison R.