Due to the generosity and overwhelming support of the IU OVPDEMA Office, I was lucky enough to spend three weeks during this past summer studying the history of Democracy and the Greek Crisis at the American College of Greece in Athens, Greece. While I was there I got to spend time in class with other IU students learning about Ancient Greece and how democracy functioned, met with current and former politicians, learned about initiatives within the city, and visited many important archeological sites throughout the country.
One of the best things that I got to do while in Athens was visit the Greek Parliament. While visiting it, we got to take a guided tour that took us through both the older and newer parts of the building. The Hellenic Parliament, originally built in 1836, was the home of the Greek King, Otto, and his wife, Queen Amalia. Some parts of the building are original and have survived several fires throughout the last two centuries but much of the building was renovated in the 1930’s to serve in its current capacity.
Following the first half of guided tour, we walked onto the floor of the Greek Senate, called Assembly Hall (no, not the one located in Bloomington) and got to sit in the seats of the Members of Parliament and discuss the current state of Greece with Notis Mitarachi, the current representative of the island of Chios. He spoke with us for over an hour on the Greek economy, the crisis facing the country, and other policy issues we had questions about. As the tour concluded, our group departed through on of the main doors, and we all proceeded to the front of the building to watch the change of the guard. This symbolic ceremony lasted for about ten minutes and then we all went off to explore the city.
Other highlights of my trip included visits to the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora. The Acropolis, home to the temple of Athena, is the most recognizable Greek structure in the world. We climbed the old marble steps, took pictures of the temples and the surrounding views of the city. The Agora, or translated as “market place” in Greek, is the place where Ancient Athenians would meet to discuss politics. Some structures in the area have been restored and rebuilt to give visitors an idea of what the area may have looked like thousands of years ago.
My time in Greece will not be forgotten, and neither will the support of the IU OVPDEMA. Without the scholarship, I would not have been able to have this awesome opportunity or all the memories and knowledge that have come out of it. The IU OVPDEMA scholarship has helped so many others, just like me, to go on so many transformative trips to areas all over the world.