INFO-I 400 Digitizing Cultural Heritage in Paros, Greece: Student Reflection

ancient ruins in Greece
A beautifully lit town where RISE students studied abroad.
The rocky coast of Greece.

On June 3, 2012, my life changed forever—I left the country to embark on an adventure to Paros, Greece. The day before I left, I reflected on the time I spent filling out the application. I remember wanting to go on the trip for the longest time, but I initially thought a student like me would never get chosen. A friend of mine kept pushing me to apply to this Greece trip. I applied and I hoped for the best. I applied for a passport that same day. On February 8, I found out I was selected to go to Paros, Greece, and my passport came in the mail that same day.

I left from Indianapolis to Philadelphia and then from Philadelphia to Athens, Greece. We spent the first two days in Athens. We visited the Parthenon, Acropolis Museum, Temple of Zeus, a beautiful garden, and the heart of Athens.

Then on June 6, we took a ferry to Paros, Greece. The ferry was huge, much bigger than I expected; it could’ve easily fit dozens of cars. When we finally arrived in Paros, we headed to the hotel to drop off our things and went exploring. Around 2 p.m., we headed back to the hotel to nap because in Paros 2–5 p.m. is naptime. It felt good to have a three-hour nap.     

On June 7 and 8, we had an anthropology lecture, which was very helpful for understanding the people in Paros better. The lecturer’s name was Orit, and she was a very sweet and knowledgeable person. I noticed how extremely friendly everyone was. Another thing we did these two days was tour the Aegaen center where my classmates and I worked on our project. I worked on Adobe Premiere to edit some beach videos. It was nice to get some good practice of what I would be doing. Then the group and I headed to take a bus and boat to Naoussa, which is a place north of Paros. Also it is 10 km east of Parikia. The beach was absolutely gorgeous, and I got some amazing photos and videos of the beach. After Naossa, I began working on more videos to get some more practice.

On June 11, the group and I went scouting at the Folklore Museum of Cycladic in Aliki, which is absolutely breathtaking. I was excited to start shooting videos, but I was enjoying each day to its fullest and taking it one day at a time. 

I spent June 12–14 working a lot with the video of the man we interviewed at the Folklore Museum. I am truly grateful and happy I was part of this team, and I must say hard work always pays off. Then on June 15–18, the girls of our group and my professor went to Santorini. When I was in Satorini, I got to be in a hot spring, climb a volcano, and watch a sunset and sunrise. It was an amazing experience.

On June 21, we had a free day, so the group and I went to the outside movie theater that is right behind our hotel and saw the movie Dark Shadows.

On June 22, we woke up early to go snorkeling and boating. I was able to get some gorgeous photos, and the captain and co-captain prepared us a delicious meal. Then we went to the archaeological site. We got an interview and B-roll done.

The next day, we went to the Ancient Marble quarries, which was very beautiful. We found a cave and we all climbed down there very carefully. It was definitely interesting and so much fun. Then we headed to an area where there were objects carved from marble. I know for a fact my jaw dropped when I saw these objects. Then we headed to the city Lefkes where we visited a graveyard/cemetery. It was very quiet and peaceful there—very beautiful, yet so sad. Later that night we went to Aliki where they had a Fire Jumping Festival. Yes, you read it right: a fire jumping festival. We watched the boys jump over the fire, and I joined in with the locals for the dancing. I felt welcome even though I didn’t know the dance moves. This festival was a lot of fun.

June 24 was pretty much a work day to gather all the things I needed for my video reflection. Later, some of us attended our anthropology teacher Orit’s dance. Just seeing the community gather around for this event was so much fun. June 25 and 26 consisted of work on my video reflection, and I was able to get it done. On June 27, I went to explore a beach and a city with two of my classmates.

Paros, Greece, was a life-changing experience. It was probably one of the best experiences in college. And looking back, I am glad I applied and went on this incredible adventure.