The Greek Key: Getting Acquainted in Athens


  • J. Hunter Augeri
  • Eirene Efstathiou
  • Maria Michou
  • Jan Motyka Sanders



Athens, Greece, Cultural landscape, City, Study Abroad, Education Abroad


Greek Key: Exploring Athens as a Cultural Landscape serves as an interdisciplinary course aimed at giving students a first-hand understanding of an authentic Athens by way of guided walks. The modern facade of the city is leveraged by taking into account history, politics, socio-economic influences, as well as alternative approaches to studying the urban landscape. Learners are encouraged to respond to their immediate experiences and observations in a variety of expressive media. These involve writing in an effective voice, the compilation of a personal narrative of a selected route with non-textual means, the construction of a photomontage, as well as formal academic responses.  Readings selected both from the international critical discourse on contemporary urban culture as well as from Greek literary production assist students’ critical focus on their study abroad experience of Athens. Placing under discussion not only particular aspects of Greek society but also the ways individual background shapes each person’s perceptions of cultural difference the class aims at providing learners with the skill and enthusiasm of exploring a foreign culture as this is inscribed on its physical real physical environment. Along the way, Greek Key learners become acquainted not only with the city of Athens but also with themselves, challenging their very own cultural expectations and beliefs. 


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Author Biographies

J. Hunter Augeri

Hunter Augeri recently earned his BFA in Multimedia from The University of the Arts. Hunter came to Athens to study art and architecture at the Arcadia Center for Hellenic, Mediterranean and Balkan Studies in the Fall 2009 semester. The circuitous streets of Athens and its stark neoclassical structures are the subject of his latest project, The Athens Malaise, a short film about the architectonics of exile and despair. 

Eirene Efstathiou

Eirene Efstathiou is a Greek-American who was born and raised in Athens. She studied painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she received her Studio Art Diploma in 2003 and Tufts University where she received her BFA in 2005. She is currently a MFA candidate at the Athens School of Fine Art. Efstathiou has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Greece and the United States. The recipient of the 2009 DESTE Prize, her work is represented in public and private collections in Europe and the United States. 

Maria Michou

Maria Michou was born and raised in Athens, Greece. She studies Architecture in England (Kent Institute of Art & Design, RIBA I, Oxford Brookes University, RIBA II) where she also acquired a MA in Architecture and Cultural Studies. Focusing on architecture as lived experience, both her commissioned and academic projects dwell into spaces as places people use, desire, remember. She has worked on renovations and new constructions both of commercial as well as private projects, and has been teaching The Greek Key: Experience Athens as a Cultural Landscape since Fall 2009. 

Jan Motyka Sanders

Jan Motyka Sanders has been the Resident Director of the Arcadia Center for Hellenic, Mediterranean and Balkan Studies, in Athens, Greece since 1994. Sanders first arrived in Greece as an undergraduate study abroad student and returned frequently for research and archaeological excavations. She holds a BA in classical philology and an MA and PhD in classical archaeology. Sanders has been a permanent resident of Greece since 1988 and a dual national since 2004. She alternates her teaching responsibilities at the Arcadia Center between The Greek Key and classes on the material culture of ancient Greece. 


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How to Cite

Augeri, J. H., Efstathiou, E., Michou, M., & Motyka Sanders, J. (2011). The Greek Key: Getting Acquainted in Athens. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 20(1), 121–136.