Purchase adequate travel insurance.
You will have to make your own travel arrangements for travel to and from Greece. For those flying from North America you will have to change flights in Europe. Check the internet for special offers of Air Canada, KLM and British Airways. Often, London is a good place to change planes. You can take a cheap flight to London and then take an Easyjet flight to Athens. To book flights on the latter, you must visit their websites directly, because they do not sell tickets through travel agents.
For those of you coming from Italy you have the opportunity to take the boat from Ancona (Superfast or Minoan) to Patras and then take the train or bus to Athens.
In any case, if you need to reach me in Athens, you can always reach Margriet Haagsma on her cellphone: tel (##-30-)697-6200539).
Travel registration at the UofA
All UofA students need to register at the UAlberta Travel Registration prior to departure: https://internal.international.ualberta.ca/studyabroad/main/WorkTravelPortal.asp
You need a valid passport. No visas are necessary. Please make sure that your passport is valid for the entire duration of your travels.
You will be asked to provide information about any medical conditions when you register. You will also be asked to sign a liability waiver at the introductory meeting which is scheduled to take place in April at Dr. Haagsma’s house in Edmonton.
Good health care is available in Greece but private hospitals are very expensive. Check your health care coverage to see if additional insurance is required. In general, some extra coverage is strongly recommended as provincial plans are unlikely to be adequate.
Bring your medications and add some basics: tylenol, advil, bandaid, sunblock etc.
Shots are not essential for travel in Greece. However an up to date tetanus shot is advisable.
Tap water in Greece is safe to drink, but not always very tasty.
The local currency is the Euro, worth about $1.40 Canadian. It is of course possible to purchase Euros in Canada, but you are not allowed to bring too much currency into the country. It is easier to use your card (credit or debit) at an ATM, available in all larger towns in Greece. The best ones to use are: Ethniki Trapeza (National bank of Greece), Eurobank or Alpha Bank. Do NOT bring Traveller’s Cheques; it will take forever to exchange them for cash. A money belt or neck pouch for your money and travel documents is highly recommended.
We will stay for one week in Athens. The majority of you will stay in the Canadian Institute in Greece and several of you in other ‘foreign schools’ in Athens. During our travel days (July 8-18) you will stay in good hotels with free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning (sometimes) a pool.
Clothing and things to bring
Temperatures in July in Greece are always high. During the day it is ca. 25-35 C or higher.
Bring strong light-weight boots, t-shirts, sweaters and shorts. Don’t forget your swimming gear. Something to cover your head is essential to protect you from the sun.
It is handy to have a small backpack to bring on site visits to store personal items, sunblock, water etc. It is advisable to display our Canadian identity. Buy a sticker with the maple leaf and stick it on your backpack. An extensive list of things to bring will be handed out during our information session in February.
You will have to beware of theft during your stay in Athens and during the trip. Several years ago, one of our students was robbed of his laptop by a taxi driver, who drove off without unloading his computer. Be very wary of Athenian taxi drivers! If you need to take a taxi, be sure that the driver turns on his meter (this is important!). Lately, there is a flat fee for a drive from the airport to the city: 35 Euros.
Also: do not leave any valuables (computers, cameras) in your hotel room if you can avoid it. Always carry your valuables on you, preferably in a pouch under your clothing.
Canadian Institute in Greece
With this application, you will have to hand in two recent passport photographs and a cheque of $25 to pay for the membership of The Canadian Institute in Athens. In return you will receive free entrance passes for all sites in Greece and national museums (valid for one year)!
Daily routine and food
In order to avoid being on site during the heat of the day we will start our day early. Breakfast is at 7PM and we will take breaks in the afternoons (siesta).
If you have any dietary needs, inform Margriet Haagsma as soon as possible.
During our first week in Athens you will need to take care of your own breakfast and lunch. During our travel days breakfast is included with the hotel stay. Lunch will need to be bought separately. During the trip we will always have our dinner together except on Sundays. The cost of dinners is included in the program fee, except those on Sundays.