Any plans for summer? No? Then apply for the Summer University of AEGEE-Athina! Next to the Greek capital you will visit Santorini – a place of superlatives. It is the most beautiful Greek island, its “sunset of Oia” was nominated the most beautiful sunset in the world – and it has a real volcano. The date: 22nd of July till 5th of August. Spyroula Masiala, President of AEGEE-Athina, promises a great time: “We are working really hard in order to make this summer unforgettable to our participants.”

SU Athina Santorini sunset
Santorini sunset

Golden Times: Spyroula, why will the SU of AEGEE-Athina 2013 one of the best Summer Universities this year?
Spyroula Masiala: First of all, this year we will spend one week on Santorini, the most beautiful and famous island in Greece! Participants and organisers will have the chance to see Santorini’s sunset, which is awarded as one of the five best sunset in the world. Moreover, the theme of our SU is unique, too! It’s not only a cultural SU, it’s something more!

Golden Times: What is it?
Spyroula: It’s about how to explore culture, how to create it like an artist and how to promote it.  Most people think that Greek culture is only Acropolis, Greek dances, frappe coffee and souvlaki, but it’s not only that! Greek culture is all over in the city of Athens, it’s a beautiful painting on a wall in the center, it’s a homemade meal, it’s a night out with our friends, it’s  a T-shirt with drawings and signatures or a jewellery that we can make it by ourselves and give as a gift to our friends. Greek culture is an experience that our participants can take with them in their minds, in their cameras and in their bags after leaving our SU!

Athina Spyroula Masiala1
Spyroula Masiala

Golden Times: The title is “SUper volcano: Culture explosion”. Why?
Spyroula: We wanted a title based on two things: the island which we are going to visit and the theme of our SU! Christos Gkagkas, one of our organisers, has the idea to name our SU “Super volcano: Cultural explosion”. The whole team agreed on this title, because Santorini is what remains after an enormous volcanic explosion and in Greek, “super volcano” means a volcano which is active, like the one on Santorini. The second part of our title, “Culture explosion” is about the theme of our SU. We are going to explore our culture, use the existent culture as material in order to create something better.

Golden Times: On Santorini will the participants just go sunbathing or do real exploring?
Spyroula: Our participants will live a great adventure with us. They will visit an active volcano, they will learn everything about the history of the island. They will swim at the Red Beach, swim in the dark blue water and under the red and black mountains. They will walk through the traditional city alleys, called Calderimia, and see the white Cycladic architecture houses. Moreover they will discover how people built the traditional houses into the rocks and they will admire the most beautiful sunset in the world. Finally, they will discover what “glenti” means, as we are going to dance all night in the famous clubs in Santorini, an island with intense night life as well.

SU Athina volcano
Volcano eruption on Santorini in 1939

Golden Times: Have you ever been on Santorini yourself?
Spyroula: Unfortunately, not. It is one of the must-visiting islands in Greece, not only for its sunset but also for its history and its beauty. I suppose this summer is my chance to discover if the phrase “Santorini is the paradise on earth” is true!

Golden Times: Will the participants be able to look right into the volcano?
Spyroula: Of course! There will be a cruise to the island of the volcano, Nea Kammeni, and a special tour, too! We will come close to the volcano crater and basically take a look right into it.  Also, they are going to learn everything about its history and how Santorini was created after the explosion.

SU AthinaGolden Times: You are also going to make an island treasure hunt. Can you tell us already what it will be about?
Spyroula: The main idea is a treasure hunt through the five Venetian Castles of Santorini. We are going to give some clues and our participants will try to solve a mystery in the castles in order to get their treasure. It’s going to be a really funny experience for them and of course the winner will get a prize! I can’t say more, because we try to keep the details as a surprise and my SU team would kill me.

Golden Times: Is it the first event that AEGEE-Athina organises on Santorini?
Spyroula: Yes! One month ago, one of our active members, Konstantina Anagnostopoulou, had the idea to visit that island as the second destination for our SU. At first, it was something like a dream, because Santorini is a very famous island and a lot of tourists visit it every summer, so we were not sure if we could find a proper place or gym to host us. She made the first contacts with the City Hall and they were so helpful and willing to support us – and now here we are, ready to visit the island that people claim, that all the travellers should visit once in their lifetime!

SU Athina Acropolis

Golden Times: How many days will the participants spend in Athens and how much on Santorini?
Spyroula: They will spend one week in Athens, from 22nd until 29th of July, and then one week on Santorini, from 29th of July until 5th of August. We will travel with super-fast boats to Santorini, so we will not spend the whole day travelling and we will have enough time to visit the centre of the island on the first day. The 5th August will be the departure day, but since the trip will be really fast, the participants will have the chance to book a flight in the same afternoon and go back to their homes.

Golden Times: What will the group see in Athens?
Spyroula: Athens will be full of cultural and fun activities, too. We are going to visit all the famous monuments and historical areas: Acropolis, Parthenon, Erechteion, New Acropolis Museum, Athens Historical centre, Roman Agora, Ancient Agora, Panathenaic Stadium, Greek Parliament, the National Garden and Zappeion. Moreover we will have thematic tours in the centre and in beautiful areas around in Athens in order to show our culture in a different way.  Finally we will visit the biggest fun park in Athens and the most famous nightlife areas, because Athens is a cosmopolitan city, which combines the ancient with modern and the East with West culture.

SU Athina Monasthraki Square in Athens
Monastiraki Square in Athens

Golden Times: You mentioned also a lot of cultural activities. Please pick your favourite two!
Spyroula: It’s really hard to pick only two, because all the activities are very interesting. But, I would like to highlight the multicultural dance workshop and the video making workshop. In the first one, the participants will have the chance to learn how to dance Greek dances and how to have fun in a Greek way – and all of us will have the chance to learn how to dance traditional dances from other countries and find some similarities between our cultures. In the second one, we will have the chance to learn how to make videos and how to promote our culture through a camera. After the training session, there will be a thematic tour in the centre and the participants and the organisers will have the chance to prove what they have learned and surprise the trainers with their skills. Of course, there will be a video competition and a participant will return with a special award back to his or her home.

Golden Times: Your team is probably already working hard on the SU. How is it going?
Spyroula: Our SU team is great. We are working really hard in order to make this summer unforgettable to our participants. We are working on the fundraising right now and of course the programme, the workshops and all activities, which we are going to offer. Of course, as typical AEGEEans we don’t forget the social program, because we are going rock the days and the nights of our participants!

Golden Times: What else should potential participants know about the event?
Spyroula: I can guarantee to all participants that our SU team is working really hard in order to make a super SU for them and if they think that their summer should be full of sea, sun, adventure, culture, new ideas and fun, they should apply for this Summer University! So it’s time to get your hand dirty and be (G)re-Culturated!