I came to this island knowing little of what to expect. I traveled halfway across the world, across the Atlantic Ocean, to a country I’ve never been to before. It’s my first time leaving the U.S. and traveling to a country different from my own. In the beginning, I applied to the program on a whim and I was ecstatic that I was accepted into … Continue reading A History of Destruction – What Future Awaits?
When I was thirteen I visited the coastal Alaskan town of Yakutat for a photography trip with my dad. On the beach there were signs to look out for wash up items on the beach from the 2011 Japan tsunami, some of the items included dolls, soccer balls and a lot of trash. I was shocked to see these items on a beach in Alaska when the tsunami occurred over 4000 miles away. This was my first and only experience with a tsunami. Six years later I came here to Greece and learned about the tsunami from the Minoan eruption and my curiosity was piqued again.
Continue reading “The Minoan Tsunami: Two Theories, Past and Present”
Figure 1: The Vasilissis Amalias Avenue (Hellenic Parliament Building) in Athens, Greece (11), pictured above, has been the focus of a number of riots and protests in response to the Greek Debt Crisis that plagued the country following the 2007-2008 financial crisis. In the late months of 2009 the Great Recession was triggered with the accumulation of structural weaknesses in the Greek economy, and the Greek government undercutting its government debt and deficit level (11).
Figure 2: The European currency, the euro (pictured above) was implemented in 2002 replacing the Greek currency, drachma. The introduction of the euro into peripheral countries like Greece was done with the purpose of reducing trade costs and increasing overall trade volume across Europe (9). However, as labor costs rose in peripheral (less developed) countries like Greece, core (more developed) countries like Germany took away from these peripheral countries (12. As a result, Greece’s trade deficit rose significantly (1).
Figure 3: The streets of Plaka (pictured above) in Athens, Greece are filled with tourists. In 2009, following the global financial crisis Greece fell further into debt as its two main income sources, tourism and shipping, fell by 15% (1).
Figure 4: Overlooking Athens, Greece. With the country facing a great decline in private investment and high currency debt, Greek wages fell nearly 20% from 2010 to 2014 through deflation. As a result of falling wages, reduced income, and a rise in debt-to-GDP ratio, a severe recession fell over the country. Unemployment rose to nearly 25% from a quoted 10% in 2003 (1).
Figure 5: Even with significant cuts in government spending, and the country returning to a budget surplus in 2014, the country would be hit hard in 2015 as banks closed for weeks to prevent a complete financial meltdown (1). As a result, citizens lost their jobs and homes, and businesses and homes like the one above fell into ruins.
Figure 6: Protest signs outside the Athens University in Plaka. Following the 2015 election of Prime Minister Tsipras (11), Greece was facing its third government bailout. By the end of June, following multiple negotiations on the bailout an agreement had yet to be made and the Greek stock market closed in addition to the banks that had closed weeks before. On July 5th a majority voted to reject the bailout terms. As a result, stocks dropped with the prospect of Greece falling out of the EU. By the middle of July an agreement had been made by Eurozone leaders. However, many large debt holders and citizens who had voted on the decision were in disagreement with the negotiation terms and results (1).
Figure 7: Now in the middle of 2017, the Greek finance ministry has reported Greek government bonds approaching pre-2010 levels. While this provides evidence that Greece could be returning to some sort of economic normalcy, many people are homeless and without work (1). 71% of the homeless population in Athens became homeless in the last five years and 21.7% in the last year alone (5,6,7). Whether it’s selling flowers or playing music in the streets, many people are left finding other ways to make extra money since there are few programs that offer aid.
Figure 8: The projected tourist view of Greece is often of the ancient ruins in Athens or the white buildings and blue roofs of Santorini. However, lack of proper housing, a high homeless rate, and declined job opportunities are still the reality of many Greek citizens.
Continue reading “Turmoil in the Streets- The Greek Government Debt Crisis Plagues the Country for more than a Decade”
I thought my travel journal would be filled with pages and pages of my thoughts and experiences by now but I’ve had few minutes to spare. We’ve been going all day everyday. Planning, doing, more planning, class, answering questions, reading, editing. It’s the most fun I’ve had teaching a class and the most rewarding of any teaching experiences I’ve had. My expectations before we arrived … Continue reading The Pioneers of NAU in Greece
There’s the saying “a wise man built his house upon a rock,” and the people of Sparta did just that when choosing the location for Ancient Thera. Our class recently went to the ancient Spartan’s house upon a massive rock: the site of Ancient Thera.
Continue reading “A Spartan View”
There are thousands of volcanoes we could have gone to, each with its own unique lure. Hot springs in Iceland, jungles in Central America, romance in Italy. The “chosen” one had to have historical significance in the western world. It had to be relatively easy to get to – I am not willing to take 9 students to remote locations in Indonesia or Africa. What location combines tectonics, volcanism, archaeology, good food, leisure, and cultural enrichment all at once? My vision narrows to the Mediterranean. Santorini: the most beautiful island in Europe.
Continue reading “Why go to Santorini?”