About the Greece: Food & Culture Studies of the Aegean: Athens & Greek Island of Crete Program
Our program is based on experiential learning and focused on the senses-- the sight, aroma, and taste of the diverse foodstuffs that comprise the acclaimed Mediterranean diet. Students learn how the cultivation, trade and ritual celebration of foods like olives, grains, honey, cheese and grapes played a major role in the development of Greek culture and the artwork of their ancient civilization and-- just as important, how these foodstuffs inform cultural practices in Greece today!
From museum and archaeological site visits, to interactions with food producers, market vendors and chefs; to meetings with Greek and Migrant Women's Associations in Athens; to biological tours and field trips to seaside and mountain villages on the beautiful Greek island of Crete, students experience how the Mediterranean diet (derived from wild and cultivated sources like olives, olive oil, wine, honey, grains, legumes, nuts, seafood and meats) is not just a way of eating---but a lifestyle rooted in biodiversity, sustainable community-based food production and long-standing cultural traditions of art, music, and dance!
Upon arriving in Athens we are greeted by our hosts, representatives from the renown Athens Centre. Located in the Athenian neighborhood of Mets, just a fifteen minutes walk to the Acropolis and the Parliament building downtown, the Centre and its lovely courtyard will be our “homebase” during the time we are in the city.
Link here: www.athenscentre.gr
While in Athens, we attend lectures on Greek mythology and art, exploring its relationship to native plants and foodstuffs.Guided by an Athens Centre representative, we visit local and central markets of Athens and go on a guided tour of the ancient Acropolis and the award-winning Acropolis Museum which sheds further light on associations of Greek gods and goddess with foodstuffs. We also tour the ancient Agora, view a temple dedicated to Demeter, the goddess of grain and note the vital ways the marketplace was at the center of Greek philosophical thought, democracy and artistic endeavors. These guided excursions, along with lectures and discussions with Greek archaeologists, scholars and artists and meetings with restauranteurs, chefs and producers and distributors of olive oil and honey deepen students' experience of Greek foodways and cultural practices. Moreover, discussions with migrant women of the Melissa Network https://www.melissanetwork.org/homepage/
underscores the meaningful ways in which migration continues to inform contemporary Greek foodways, art, culture and politics.
After five stimulating days in Athens, we set out for the beautiful Cycladic island of Crete. Over the next week, we travel by van through the diverse landscape of the island, learn about local food-related practices and the roots of Mediterranean cuisines in the biodiversity of local herbs and plants.
Located south of Athens in the Aegean Sea, Crete is the largest of the Greek islands--160 miles (260 km) across, west to east, and 37 miles wide at its widest point.
Heraklion is the largest port city, with over 100,000 inhabitants and Hania the port city which is second in size.
Crete was the center of the Minoan civilization from around 2700 to 1420 BC. A volcanic eruption on the neighboring island of Santorini some 3600 years ago (circa 1600 BC) caused tidal waves that led to the demise of this ancient Minoan culture. Wall paintings from the thousand year old village of Knossos illustrate the flavor of life in those times. Adding to the compelling history, art and cuisine of the area, a variety of cultures occupied the island since that time: Mycenaeans, Romans, Byzantines, Emirate of Crete (Iberian Muslms), Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire.
A guided visit to Knossos and local ethnographic museums on Crete testify to not only the vast trade network in antiquity that stretched from Crete to western Europe, the Middle East and North Africa but the ways in which the peoples of island continue to retain and incorporate cultural and culinary practices.
Utilizing the cities of Heraklion and Hania as our base on Crete, we make daily excursions to seaside and mountain villages to view food production sites and meet with cheese, bread and wine makers who reveal the lyric history, beauty, and healthful practices associated with foodways on the island. We engage in a cooking lesson with local women in a mountain village, taste traditional goat cheese and the highly prized wine of the region, spend time an eco-village where we participate in a guided walking tour of local herbs and plants and venture forth to seaside towns with fabulous seafood.
Arriving back in Athens, a week later, we present some of our findings at the Athens Centre, and end our journey at a restaurant within sight of the Acropolis.
Please contact faculty-leader, Dr. Christine Zinni at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Housing and Orientation
Housing in Athens will be in the Athens Centre apartment in Mets near the ancient pan Athenian Stadium. Students will stay in hotel accommodations (doubles or triples) for the duration of the program on the Greek islands.
Greece: Food & Culture Studies of the Aegean
Budget sheet for Undergraduate Program Summer 2018: $4,400.49 (Estimated)
- Tuition (3 Credits)
- Program Acceptance Fee
- Pre-departure orientation materials
- On-site orientation
- Accommodation in double or triple occupancy hotels
- Most meals (all breakfasts and eight additional meals)
- In country transportation
- Transportation between Athens and Crete
- Program activities and excursions
- Museum entry fee
- 24 Hour Emergency Assistance
- Brockport's Study Abroad Office Services including a Brockport Faculty director
- Health Insurance*
- Various campus-specific fees** (college fee, technology fee, etc.)
Does NOT include:
- Transportation to/from Greece
- Additional meals
- Miscellaneous Expenses (this includes entertainment, souvenirs, laundry, postage, etc.)
The actual amount that you will spend depends heavily on your style of living, and will vary with each individual's personal spending habits, entertainment preferences and travel choices.
Financial aid applies towards fees.
*The SUNY International Health Insurance is mandatory and will be included on the student's Brockport invoice.
**Varies depending on the SUNY campus at which the participant pays tuition.
*This summer program is contingent upon having a sufficient number of participants enrolled in the program.
Students will earn 3 upper-division credits.
Tuesday, May 22 (the schedule will depend on the time of arrival)
Arrive in Athens, bus transfer to the hotel.
Walking orientation to Central Athens, lunch at a traditional souvlaki place in Plaka
Wednesday, May 23
Visit to the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum
Visit to the central market, followed by cooking demonstration with Culinary Experience, and enjoy tasting the food prepared.
Welcome dinner at Vyrinis taverna (Mets)
Thursday, May 24
Fly to Iraklion, Crete
Check-in at hotel
Visit to Archaeological Museum and Minoan site of Knossos
Friday, May 25
Cooking-class at Zaros village – Lunch in the village
Visit Ethnographic museum in Voroi
Visit “Peskesi” farm. Walk in the gardens and learn about the local production
Dinner at the taverna on the farm
Overnight in Irakleion
Saturday, May 26
Breakfast & Check-out
Bus to Anogeia village
Cheese demonstration and making of fresh cheese
Lunch at Arodamos taverna, the village speciality is the “Antikristo” dish.
Bus to Enagron & check-in
Tour of Enagron: Botanical tour with a presentation of Cretan herbs, stories related to them, ending with a herbal tea tasting
Free afternoon/evening, swimming in the pool. Dinner at Enagron (around 17 euros per person)
Overnight at Enagron
Sunday, May 27
Bus to Marathos village- Meet with local women’s association with a long-tradition of “Koubaro-koulouro”
Spend the day at Enagron and engage in the following activities:
Bread & Cheese making
Free afternoon, pool time
Bus to Hania & check-in at Kriti hotel
Overnight in Hania
Monday, May 28th
Walk and visit Hania’s central market
Bus to Tsagalarion monastery. Visit and perhaps talk to someone about their products
Bus to Marathi beach and free time in the afternoon to spend on the beach. Optional lunch there.
Return to hotel
Optional dinner at Glossitses taverna on the old port of Hania. It’s an organic food taverna, with fresh ingredients directly from the local producers
Overnight in Hania
Tuesday, May 29
Visit to Hania central market
Visit to Dounias Educational Farm:
Fresh cheese making, honey production, and other activities.
Optional dinner at taverna on the old port of Hania
Overnight in Hania
Wednesday, May 30
9-10:30am Bus to Falasarna beach
10:30-1pm Free time at Falasarna beach
1-2pm Bus to Anoskeli village for lunch
2-3:30pm Lunch at the traditional village of Anoskeli
3:30-4pm Bus to Anoskeli winery
4-6pm Visit the winery, walk in the vineyards, wine-tasting. Also, visit their traditional olive press and discus the production of Cretan olive oil
6-6:45pm Bus to Souda port
8pm Overnight boat back to Athens
Thursday, May 31
Very early arrival in Athens
Free time to prepare presentations
Visit to the Ancient Agora
Friday, June 1
am Presentation of projects
pm Farewell dinner at a local taverna
Saturday, June 2
Sunday, June 3
"I am currently a Junior at SUNY Brockport, pursuing a Bachelors degree in Political Science and a minor in International Studies. I decided to study in Greece because I wanted to learn about Greek food and culture in a non-traditional way. My reward for the investment of my time and money is memories that will last a lifetime, and knowledge of the region which can only be achieved through a hands-on learning process. Before studying abroad, I couldn't be 100% sure that I chose the right majors/minors. Within 5 minutes of landing in Athens, I KNEW I had made the right choice. International Studies is absolutely my niche and I have my study abroad experience to thank for that realization. After graduation, I plan to pursue a Masters degree in International Studies with certification in Middle Eastern Studies. I can not wait to have another wonderful learning experience outside of the U.S."
- Tiffany Staats, Past Participant
Summer 2018: May 21 - June 3, 2018