About the Greece: Food & Culture Studies of the Aegean Summer 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 email@example.com 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 and Culture of the Aegean
Budget sheet for Undergraduate Program Summer 2019: $4,374.82 (Estimated)
- Tuition (3 Credits)
- Program Acceptance Fee
- Pre-departure orientation materials
- On-site orientation
- Accommodation in double or triple occupancy hotels
- Some meals
- Transfers to/from airport on arrival and departure if students arrive on a group flight
- Transportation between Athens and Crete
- In country transportation
- Program activities and excursions
- Entry fees to sites and museums
- 24 Hour Emergency Assistance
- SUNY International Health Insurance*
- Brockport's Study Abroad Office Services including a Brockport Faculty director
- 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.
We strongly recommend that you purchase trip insurance to cover loss of luggage, cancelled/ missed flights, missed/cancelled program, etc. In the event that you cannot attend a program (for example, with a medical emergency or U.S. State Department Travel Warning) such insurance can cover loss of program fees resulting from a cancelled program.
*This summer program is contingent upon having a sufficient number of participants enrolled in the program.
Students will earn 3 upper-division credits.
Monday, May 17
Arrival in Greece
Bus to hotel if arriving on group flight
Walking orientation to hotel area
Welcome Dinner at a traditional taverna
Tuesday, May 18
Orientation at the Athens Centre
Walking orientation to central Athens & central market (Varvakeio Agora)
Dance class at the Athens Centre
Wednesday, May 19
Visit to Acropolis
Visit to Acropolis Museum
Olive oil tasting at 4 Seasons
Thursday, May 20
Bus to Lavrion, boat to the island of Kea
Bus to the island town of Ioulis, walking orientation to town. Lunch in Ioulis
Free time for beach
Pm: Visit to Red Tractor farm, see products made from island acorns and other products, visit the facilities
Friday, May 21
Free morning (beach time)
Visit Aristaios traditional shop and engage in various activities: visit to a traditional watermill. Visit a private folklore museum, owned by his family, Andreas Mouzakis will talk to you more about the history of the island. Dinner in their private museum garden
Saturday, May 22
Boat from Kea to Lavrion
Bus to Argolis
Visit to site and museum of Epidaurus
Bus to Nafplio: lunch at the beach & free time
Bus to Nafplio & check-in
Karonis ouzo tasting
Overnight in Nafplio
Sunday, May 23
Skouras winery in Argos
Bus to Mani
Bread making in traditional oven in a village
Visit local kafeneio of the village: Greek coffee and spoon sweet: here we can do a workshop on food sustainability with treasure hunt at the food stores. Discussion at the kafeneio
Overnight in Mani
Monday, May 24
Visit traditional olive oil
Cooking workshop for local pasta and lunch
Guided visit to a traditional Tour and discover the history of Mani
Sea salt collection
Visit Diros cave: flooded caves of extraordinary beauty. Neolithic site, abandoned in 4BC after an earthquake. The caves form a complex network of underwater passages
Lunch on the beach
Bus to Athens
Presentations at the Athens Centre
Depart for the U.S.
Bus to airport for group flights only
"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 2020- May 17 - 27, 2020