There are few students who would object to a trip to the Greek islands. The idyllic resorts, the languid days, and the sparkling beaches – they all speak volumes of a time of leisure and fun. But there is more to Greece than that. In fact, educational excursions here offer students a prime opportunity to stretch not only their bodies in the sun, but also their minds in the light of learning.
Athens and the Classics
Athens is a city with one of the longest continuous histories in the world. But unlike many of its peers in this category, in its ancient hey-day it was the crucible of Western classical thought and culture. Students on school tours to Athens can look past the crowds, clogged streets and vibrant bric-a-brac of modern life, and spend time pondering the enormity of this classical contribution in the Parthenon or Agora or under Hadrian’s Arch. The fact that ancient Grecian culture permeated throughout the Roman Empire, laid a philosophical foundation in the Middle Ages, and formed the backbone of the Renaissance means it is an enduring influence even today.
Crete and History
The Athenian claim to classical fame indeed resounds loudest from the nation’s past, but students on school tours to Greece can also be educated by perhaps an even more significant ancient cultural icon. The myth of the Minotaur is as famous as the philosophising of Aristotle, and while less ink has been spilled over it, the culture on Crete from which this myth sprung pre-dated the famous Athenians. The ruins of Knossos are well worth a visit so that students can begin to understand how the roots of classical culture go much deeper than may be commonly assumed.
The Islands and Geography
The islands of Greece, from Santorini to Mykonos to Corfu, may be best known for waters as clear as crystal and beaches drenched in unrelenting sunshine. But beyond the opportunity for students on school tours to enjoy these delights, the islands can also do wonders in educating young learners in geography and ecology. The volcanic formation of the bays and hills must be seen first-hand to give a proper impression of the wonder and scientific detail of their formation.