On June 9th 2011, the Heritage Greece group of 2011 finally arrived in Greece at roughly 2PM. Feelings of excitement manifested on the day we received the great news that we were selected as participants for this year’s group. It was truly suspenseful waiting for June 7th to come by, and this group is certainly the highlight of all of our summers. For many of us, this opportunity has enabled us to see Greece for the first time. I noticed great expressions of excitement from my fellow peers as we finally boarded the transfer flight from France to Greece, as well as a great deal of exhaustion due to the tenuous amount of time we have spent traveling via vehicle or flight in the past 48 hours. Once took our first few steps in Greece however, many of us experienced a great adrenaline rush due to finally reaching Ellada, the ‘mother’ land in which many of us seek to gain a stronger connection and understanding.
Once we arrived in Greece, we were enroute to DEREE- the American College of Greece within a half hour. Our expectations were high due to the DEREE’s excellent reputation as a historical and leading university in Greece, and when we arrived, these expectations were surely exceeded. I, and many others immediately fell in love with the campus. The great mountains of Greece, and overall landscape amazed me. We received a few hours to rest, unpack, and adjust to the residence halls at the DEREE. The apartment which holds up to five people exceeded my standards, and I was extremely impressed, and grateful for the hospitality that the DEREE and National Hellenic Society are providing us.
After a few hours passed, we met with a DEREE Greek ambassador named George who gave us a very thorough tour of the DEREE campus. He provided us with information about the DEREE’s historical background, as well as provided us a great deal of cultural insight on Greece’s culture as well as customs. After touring the academic, administrative, recreational, and academic buildings and resources, we then ate dinner with various DEREE faculty members and students. We were able to mingle with other students, faculty, and Greek students, and received an exceptional special performance from two Greek DEREE students. After, they performed several contemporary and traditional Greek songs; we headed back to the DEREE, which concluded our first day’s activities in Greece.