The Greek Experience

The Study Abroad Office (SAO), Global Carolina, and the Mycenaean Foundation (MF) announced in 2019 the first year of the USC Consortium in Greece program (Greek Odyssey). Faculty and students were in Mycenae and Nafplion, Greece for three weeks during Maymester 2019, teaching and learning at the American Center for Archaeology at Mycenae (ACAM). Students participated in courses about geology, archaeology, and oceanography. Each course gave students the opportunity to experience hands-on learning, whether they practiced unearthing treasures underground or visiting volcanic sites.

Allen Miller, Ph.D, USC’s Vice Provost and Director of Global Carolina, notes: “Homer’s depiction of Mycenae is the birthplace of the European storytelling tradition and thus in many ways the birthplace of our shared civilization. USC’s Greek Odyssey program offers students the extraordinary chance to experience this site directly, while living in a beautiful town on the Aegean coast. Students have the opportunity to learn not only about the history of Greek civilization and the practice of hands-on archaeology but also to take courses in the many scientific and technical disciplines that form the core of the modern practice of archaeology. This is a program for every student, from any major.”

USC supported the participation of two faculty members, Howard Scher, Ph.D, and Michael Bizimis, Ph.D, from the Geology Department in their courses Geological Oceanography and Cultural Geology, respectively. Scher expressed the following about his experience teaching with the program: “The Maymester program with the Mycenae Foundation was fantastic. The students seemed to have a great time in our classes and on field trips. Nafplion is a great place to live, and the Melathron of the Foundation was a great place to teach. All of the field trips were planned extremely well and were topical, interesting, and still flexible enough to make last minute alterations when we found something interesting on our travels.

“We have seen a significant increase in our undergraduate study abroad numbers over the last five years,” says Magdalena Grudzinski-Hall, Ph.D, Director of Study Abroad at USC. “Our students are seeking out more academically engaging opportunities abroad that complement their work on campus. The USC Consortium in Greece is a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn more about the field of Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, and Classics, combined with an exceptional education abroad experience supported by a partner that we trust and who meets our level of academic standards.

For the inaugural year, seven students – from disciplines in Dance, Marine Science, and Anthropology –  and two USC faculty members participated in the program. Both faculty and students experienced the numerous excursions, whether they were cruising the bay in Nafplion, touring museums and ancient buildings in Athens, or having a grand dinner at the aforementioned Melathron. Program Manager, Jenna Rees-White, expressed, “I could not be more pleased with the accomplishments of the Mycenaean Foundation and the American Center for Archaeology at Mycenae this Maymester. Our students have reported that they had thrilling and unparalleled experiences, and they are enthusiastic about their fellow USC students attending this program in the future.