As part of our course, we have the opportunity of doing a week-long field trip abroad studying a rural area, with the objective of improving its touristic potential. This year, we had the chance to go to Greece, and explore the municipality of Lavreotiki, south of Athens, identifying the challenges faced by the region in terms of tourism and hospitality.
We arrived in Athens on a Sunday evening in late March, and once our bags were dropped off at the hotel, we all decided to head to a local Greek restaurant, our hunger calling after a long day of travelling. Overwhelmed by all the different dishes we could choose from, we decided to share some appetizers, ranging from fresh anchovies, to tzatziki, and aubergine spread, amongst others.
The following morning, we met up with the two other groups participating in this field trip: Varna University of Management, from Bulgaria, and City Unity College, the Greek university welcoming us. There we listened to a talk from George Drakopoulos, CEO of Tourism Generis, who gave us an overview of the current situation of Greece. We also took part in team building exercises, getting to know the other students in preparation of the team work we would be doing later in the week. Our afternoon was then spent visiting Glyfada, the area we were staying in for the week.
Tuesday and Wednesday were dedicated to exploring on site of the Municipality of Lavreotiki, with visits of the town of Lavrion, its surroundings and the Temple of Poseidon. Now a seaside harbour town, Lavrion used to be an industrial town, with a large production of silver mining.
After a guided tour of the town, we got the opportunity to visit the old factories where the minerals were processed, as well as “the big hole”, where miners used to dig for silver, minerals, and marble. The following day, we took a scenic route along the west coast of the Attica region, leading us to the Temple of Poseidon, an archaeological site overlooking the Aegean Sea.
After sightseeing, it was time for us to get to work! In teams of two or three we worked to analyse the challenges faced by the area. Each team included students from the different universities, bringing us different insights and work methods thanks to the cultural diversity of the group: with only 21 students, we managed to have 11 different nationalities represented! Thursday and Friday were dedicated to working on presentations that we would need to make in front of the other students and the lecturers from all three universities. Most of us chose to work on the assignment in the rooftop garden of the hotel instead of the usual classrooms, allowing us to enjoy the nice weather and scenery while working!
On our final full day in Greece, we made our presentations in the morning, before heading into town where some of us ate traditional souvlakis for lunch, and then enjoyed a dip in the sea. The water is not very warm yet at that time of year, but it was quite refreshing and relaxing after such a fast-paced week!
Our last evening was spent all together in a Mexican restaurant, celebrating the end of the week and all passing the assignment in the morning. This gave us the opportunity to get to know the Bulgarian and Greek students outside of the more academic environment we were in during the week.
Eventually on the Sunday it was time for us to go home. The week has been an eye opener for many of us, discovering a side of Europe we are not used to seeing over here in the United Kingdom. Mixing with students from other countries was also a great experience too, as it broadened our cultural awareness, learning about each other’s traditions and habits.
This field trip was a fantastic experience, giving us tools and knowledge we are looking forward to using again in the future – as well as some great memories.
Want to know more about field trips and travel opportunities at Cardiff Met? Check out Toni’s trip to South Korea or Charlene’s year abroad in Malta.