Erickson Bridges: Paideia Institute’s Living Greek in Greece Program, Selianitika Greece

Research Travel Award Winner (Graduate): Summer 2017

This summer I was fortunate to receive a grant from the Teasley Family Antiquities Fund to attend the Paideia Institute’s Living Greek in Greece (LGiG) program, an intensive two-week program in which students of Ancient Greek strive to achieve fluency in spoken Ancient Greek through an immersive classroom environment.

My journey to Greece began in early August, when I flew to Rome for a few days to visit some of my favorite classical landmarks and museums and begin to immerse myself back into both Europe and the modern reception of classical antiquity. Shortly thereafter, I flew off to Athens to join the rest of my colleagues in the program, who ranged from undergraduates just starting their Greek studies to professors who had been teaching Greek for decades. I was also fortunate enough to have some of my fellow Duke PhD students participating in the program with me, namely Tori Lee, Clinton Kinkade, and Tom Cole.


After a few days in Athens, the program departed for the Peloponnese and the Hellinikon Idyllion, a scenic coastal retreat in the small town of Selianitika dedicated to fostering the study of the classical world. There, I participated in one of the more advanced classes offered at LGiG, led by Paideia postgraduate fellow and instructor Joseph Conlon, in which we both read and discussed in Ancient Greek the Theogony and Works and Days of Hesiod. Additionally, the program provided us with a short trip to Boeotia and the ancient site of Delphi, seat of the famous Delphic Oracle of Apollo, as well as to Mt. Helicon, the mythical home of the Muses praised by Hesiod in his works.


Living Greek in Greece was an immensely rewarding experience, where I had the opportunity not only to practice and improve my Greek in a novel and engaging fashion, but also to better immerse myself in the world of the ancient Greeks: breathing the air they breathed, speaking and hearing the words they spoke, even walking on the same paths they once walked. I am very grateful to have had the chance to engage with the ancient world in this extraordinary fashion, and I cannot wait to bring the lessons I’ve learned in Greece into the classroom here at Duke.