Warnings: Things that you need to think about in advance

You are required to have a passport which will be valid for at least 6 months past the end of the trip. U.S. citizens do not need a visa to travel to Greece. If you are not a U.S. citizen, we will have to check.

There is no flexibility on when we leave and you have to be there for the whole class. Please check your schedule carefully.

Do you have any special concerns such as health or diet issues? You'll have a chance to indicate those when you apply but always feel free to talk openly with me. You won't be the first to do so.

Caveats

There is a considerable amount of walking. You will need to carry your luggage a few times, sometimes up or down stairs. Not every hotel will have elevators. Sometimes the bus can't get to the front of the hotel.

Greece hasn't even begun to consider handicapped accessibility. Sidewalks can be uneven. Roller bags can be awkward. See if you can't backpack it (but many students do just fine with roller bags).

Pack light. Leave room to bring things home. Rick Steeves has put it well: "No one takes more on their second trip to Europe than they did on their first."

Food can be cheap or expensive depending on where you go.

For the winter break class: Greece is not a tropical country. It will be in the 40s, can dip to freezing, can be overcast and there will be rain.

This is not a plush five-star trip. Hotel rooms will be smaller than in U.S. Beds likely will be firmer, there may be only one electric outlet, bathrooms will be smaller.

(But Greece is generally a pretty safe place.)

Athens is not everyone's favorite city. It is crowded and overbuilt. Some of us appreciate its funky charm. Many do not. But it is where so many significant sites are.

Isn't Greece falling apart?

They are suffering with unemployment equal to the U.S. during the Great Depression. They are a first-world country, but a poor one. However much they are suffering it doesn't seem to have damaged their hospitality or their pride. Frankly, economic conditions in Greece have little impact on our trip. Banks are open, ATMs work, our local provider is on the ball.

Isn't this just a vacation?

This is a class (with readings, assignments and homework), not a vacation. But it will be a fun, inspirational class. Some have said it was the best thing they did in college.

The class is not an automatic "A". Read that again. Only those who show serious interest and a positive attitude earn an "A".