Opa! Grade 8 Students Return from Unforgettable Greece Trip

At the start of Summer Break, a group of Grade 8 students who had been learning about Greece and all things Greek travelled to the beautiful Mediterranean country. There, students tied what they had learned about in school to explore historic sites, learn more about the culture and perform environmental service work. 

Below are some reflections from some of our Grade 8 travellers:

by Alyssa C.

Being able to experience the opportunity of travelling to Greece with the school is something I will never regret doing. I wanted to travel to Greece because I’ve always admired and was interested in Greek mythology. I thought that going to Greece would allow me to learn more about Greek mythology, Greek culture and widen my knowledge of Greece. As well, I thought that being able to travel with classmates and friends would be a really fun experience!

In Greece we spent seven days in Kyparissia, two days in Nafplio and one day in Athens. In all three places we were able to experience and enjoy several different things. One aspect of what we did in Greece that I really enjoyed would be the views and scenery we got to see. Some days we would hike to different hills, castles and islands. Once we finished the hikes, below us would always be this amazing view of different parts of Greece that you would admire. Another thing we did in Greece that I really enjoyed was looking at several ancient ruins. In particular, I enjoyed going to ancient Olympia and seeing where athletes used to train daily. As well, I enjoyed how we got to not only visit and look at the ruins, but we were fortunate to have a tour guide to tell us the history behind it.

Although we went to many incredible places in Greece, one major highlight of the trip for me was meeting and playing with the locals in Kyparissia. I enjoyed being able to see the smiles on their faces when we played and talked to them. Also, I enjoyed how the locals welcomed us to Kyparissia and joined us in several of our excursions.

From all these experiences, something I learned as a global citizen from this trip is to take any opportunity you get to travel to different places in the world. If you’re meeting locals or just visiting different places, there’s always so much to experience. I think that this trip really highlighted to me how important it is, and how lucky I am, to be able to visit different places far from your home.

I think that I gained many new experiences and new friends from this trip. Being able to travel to some place new with the school was very exciting, positive and enjoyable! There are so many aspects of the Greece trip that I am thankful for and it means a lot to me being given the opportunity to travel with the school. I look forward to travelling to Greece again in the future!

by Alex R.

The SMUS Greece trip was a fantastic experience for everyone who went. The great food, unbeatable views and heartwarming atmosphere only cover half of this once in a lifetime trip. 

I chose to go because I thought it would be a good chance for me to take some responsibility and be with friends far away from home. This trip really helped me prepare for life on my own. We visited many iconic Greek sites, including the Acropolis, Temple of Apollo and Pylos Bay. However, my favourite sites to experience would have to be the Neda river and the Palamidi fortress; the breathtaking views just made me never want to leave! 

The trip also taught us a lot about European culture, from the extremely thin roads to the entertaining locals. I gained a lot of experience, understanding and knowledge from this journey, and I would especially recommend this opportunity to next year’s Grade 8s for that reason.

The fact that I have the opportunity to travel to Greece with my school really makes me feel lucky and grateful. It feels good to be able to make a positive impact halfway around the world, doing service work in different areas.

Overall, the Greece trip was a wonderful opportunity which no one deserves to miss out on! 

by Avery V.

This trip was so full of highlights; some very big, such as going to the Acropolis and Olympia (the site of the very first Olympics), and some small, such as joking around with friends and belting out song lyrics during van rides to our various destinations and adventures.

What made this trip so great was that it was a perfect blend of big and small highlights. We did many incredible things and visited many incredible places but what made it so different from any other trip is that I was extremely lucky to spend it with such amazing people. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to do this, and it means so much, especially being a new student to SMUS this past year.

Along the way I learned many things about Greece and myself as a learner. I found myself being more drawn to the artistic and cultural side of Greece. I also grew closer to my peers and made many new friends, creating a new tight-knit community that gave us all the opportunity to learn more about the people we’re about to transition into Senior School with.

by Geoff L.

I decided to go on the Greece trip this year because of my interest in ancient Greek history and my love of traveling. I have always wanted to go to Europe, and Greece was on top of the list of places to go.

Looking back on the trip there were so many great moments and adventures the group had. Some of my favorite moments were the long van rides where my friends and I socialized, listened to music and enjoyed the breathtaking sights. Another special moment would be when we went to the beach near Kyparissia and enjoyed a breathtaking sunset  and saw loggerhead turtles come onto the shore and nest. Later on in the night, we fell asleep on the beach to the sound of crashing waves and the night sky full of stars.

One last great moment was when we stayed in Nafplio and got to enjoy the early nightlife, dance and experience the general atmosphere of the town. Through the many days in Greece, we traveled through nature and towns alike and I gained some strong memories of certain places. One of those places was the Neda river. Our group walked up through the Neda river and we took in the beautiful, colourful and bright surroundings. The highlight of the river for me would be the two waterfalls that the group walked by.

Another location that was one of my favourites was the sea around Pylos. The reason the sea was one of my favourite locations was because of the deep blue water, ocean breeze, jaw-dropping cliffs and peaks of the small islands we traveled to.

During the trip, I learned the importance of language in regards to being a global citizen. Because we (the SMUS kids and the locals in Kyparissia) all spoke English, we could communicate jokes, stories and much more. With a language barrier, it would have been impossible to share some of the experiences I had and wouldn’t have allowed for as many good times and laughs.

From this trip, I learned that you should always be adventurous and be the one to take the first step forward. Whether it was swimming or climbing cliffs, I always enjoyed convincing my friends to come to try new things with me. After coming back, I realized my perspective of Victoria changed a little and I realized how much faster-paced a bigger city like Athens was. Because of this, I learned to enjoy Victoria more and I’ve come to appreciate the slower place.

Traveling with SMUS meant a lot to me because I was representing the school. It kept me focused and mindful of the way I acted wherever we went. Traveling with SMUS also helped me realize the magnitude of traveling across the world and spreading a positive image of our school. It made me feel like I was part of something bigger and made me happy to be a part of it.

The Greece trip was an amazing experience and I highly recommend it to any future Grade 8s looking for an amazing time with an even more amazing set of teachers and friends.

by Jonah J.

This trip to Greece was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had so far in my life and it was amazing that I was able to spend it with my friends and peers. I’ve been on trips with my family before and those were good, but going on this trip with my friends made it a totally different experience. Spending all of your time with your schoolmates tends to bring you closer with them and that was true for me.

My favourite part of our trip was our excursion to Pylos Bay. It was my favourite day because it gave me the best taste of all Greece had to offer: ancient ruins, sandy beaches, amazing views and, most importantly, gelato!

Years into the future the thing that I will value the most from this trip will be the memories. I made so many with all of my friends and I’m going to be grateful for that forever.

All the people that we met in Greece were nice and friendly to us and it really made me think that if everyone was like that then the world would be a better place. It encouraged me to try and be friendly and nice to everyone that I meet. This trip was amazing for so many different reasons and I am forever grateful that I was able to be a part of it.

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Kyle Slavin
Kyle Slavin is the school's storyteller. Through words and photos, he shares with the community all the amazing things that happen on campus.

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