A group of HWS students recently returned from a three-week study abroad program across Greece, exploring the connections between ancient cities, sanctuaries and life. Led by Associate Professor of Classics James Capreedy, students traveled to more than 20 archaeological sites, seven cities and towns, several museums and spent several days exploring the city of Athens.
“Learning ancient history can be an active pursuit, and by experiencing how a culture receives and presents its own history leaves a stronger and more lasting impression than classroom lectures alone,” Capreedy says. “Students left with a greater appreciation of how diverse a country Greece is in its history, geography and culture.”
In addition to Athens, students spent eight days in the cities of Veroia, Pylos and Naupflion. Through the course of their travels, the group stopped to view ancient ruins and experienced a range of cultural offerings. Some of the highlights included visiting the tombs at Vergina, where Phillip II and Alexander IV were buried; Delphi, site of the famous Oracle of Apollo; the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, built in 5th century BCE; the Acropolis and new Acropolis Museum; and running the “stade” at the ancient stadium in Olympia.
“By being in a ‘living classroom,’ students were more aware of the spaces they read about and asked questions that went beyond the analysis of texts and images,” explains Capreedy.
Students agree. “Being able to study things in person rather than just from pictures in a book was an incredible opportunity that I could not pass up,” says Kevin Teel ’17, who graduated summa cum laude in history and completed an Honors project “Liberal or Republican: Hamilton and American Identity.” Teel will return to campus in the fall to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching.
While abroad, students were also enrolled in a classical civilization course taught by Capreedy called “Sanctuaries and Cities: the polis culture of Ancient Greece.” In addition to exams, students were required to provide an onsite presentation.
“Academically, this study abroad experience gave me hands-on learning in the classical/historical fields that few undergraduates in my position are able to experience,” says history major Ryan Carson ’18. “In a limited amount of time, I felt that I was no longer just a citizen of the United States but rather a citizen of the world. It fundamentally changed the way I look at the world.”
The program is coordinated in conjunction with CYA Athens. The Colleges also offer several other short-term study abroad programs.
Hobart and William Smith offer the top study abroad program in the nation, according to Princeton Review’s 2018 edition of “The Best 382 Colleges.”