Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mac Classics Graduate Student in Athens

Ms. Katherine Denkers (MA `12) spent her summer in Athens, Greece. She reports:

For the past two months I have had the privilege of living in Greece. Thanks to the support of the Department of Classical Studies at McMaster University and the Raynsford Eatock Award I was able to participate in the Summer Session of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens and I was able to get an early start on my MA thesis research while staying at the Canadian Institute in Greece.

The American School Summer Session is an intensive learning program where participants travel to nearly all of the major historical sites in Greece under the guidance of experienced and knowledgeable directors. While the Summer Session was an amazing educational experience, there were also a number of other benefits. Because the Summer Session students are housed at the ASCSA residence Loring Hall, there were many opportunities to network not only with the other Summer Session students but also prominent and expert scholars who were also staying there. The regularly scheduled tea and ouzo hours in the saloni at Loring provided a friendly environment meant for exactly this purpose.

Also, Summer Session student participants are encouraged to use the Blegen and Gennadius Libraries' resources. The access to these facilities and resources were invaluable to me in pursuing research for my thesis. I was lucky enough to be able to extend my stay in Greece beyond the end of the 6 week Summer Session by staying at the Canadian Institute in Greece. The Institute is within walking distance of the ASCSA libraries so I was able to continue my research. The hostel maintained by the CIG was just like being at home with a fully stocked kitchen, air conditioning and friendly staff. It was also another great opportunity to meet other people from all academic levels in the field of Classics.

Traveling all over Greece was both physically and mentally exhausting. One student in my group wore a pedometer for the duration of the trip and at final count we had each taken somewhere around 1 000 000 + steps! However, the hot sun and aching feet were easily forgotten when we were given the opportunity to run a race at Olympia, to stand on top of the Parthenon, or explore the labyrinthine corridors behind the throne room at Knossos. I can honestly say that besides being a wonderful educational experience it was also an unforgettable life experience as well.

(Photos courtesy of K. Denkers. Clockwise: K. Denkers and the Athenian Acropolis, K. Denkers in front of the statue bases from the Philippeion at Olympia, K. Denkers inside the Parthenon)