Karlie Tessmer on top of Mount Lepetymos on the island of Lesvos, Greece.


Dispatches from the field: Hellenic Studies' field school

This summer SFU students are reporting in about their experiences at SFU field schools and experiential learning courses around the world. They’re studying archaeology in Portugal, contemporary art in Berlin, design in Italy, history in Greece, international cybercrime in Scotland…and much more.  

Watch for their reports in our social media channels and in SFU News online.

August 22, 2018

Third-year SFU student Karlie Tessmer has just returned from seven weeks in Greece where she attended SFU Hellenic Studies’ Greek field school.

The program, a collaboration between SFU and Douglas College, featured classes in Athens and in the small town of Molyvos on the Aegean island of Lesvos.

Here’s what Tessmer, who is majoring in sociology and anthropology, had to say about the field school, which was her first European experience:

“I am profoundly touched by the experience I had in Greece. Whether it was in the classroom, on a field trip, or adventures during our free time, this experience has connected me with history in a way I never thought possible. It challenged me mentally, physically and emotionally.”

“Each day in the bustling city of Athens provided an entirely new cultural experience. It was particularly impactful for me to connect the topics we studied in class to the city as we explored it…the historical aspects explained to us by our instructors, highlighted the city’s liveliness and profound cultural presence.”

Athens at dusk.

“Molyvos provided an entirely different cultural and learning experience. I spoke with folks about local life, tourism and the 2015 refugee crisis. A local hotel owner visited our class to discuss her experiences during the crisis, which is still a contentious topic for many on the island. By discussing these difficult topics, I developed a new understanding of how this event significantly impacted the lives and livelihoods of the people who experienced it. Moreover, engaging with the locals created a humanizing effect, which caused me to reflect upon my Canadian view of a distant event, and allowed me to focus on the people and their experiences.


Molyvos village harbour, Lesvos Island, Greece

My two months abroad gave me an opportunity to reflect and grow, and to become a more engaged and thoughtful world citizen. For that, I am forever grateful to Hellenic Studies.”

More dispatches:

Students dig up the past at bioarchaeological field school in Portugal

Absorbing culture in iconic Berlin