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Nonfiction Undergrads Spend Winter in Greece

At the Temple of Apollo in Delphi on the first snowfall of the season.

This winter, John D’Agata led a group of intrepid undergraduate nonfiction writers on a once-in-a-lifetime literary pilgrimage through Greece. This study abroad program, The Land of the Muses: Traveling Like a Writer, gave students a twelve-day exploration of the sites of Athens, Delphi, Mycenae, and Olympia.

“The NWP has a long history of incorporating travel into the curriculum,” D’Agata said. “In the past, the program has hosted students on trips to France, Iceland, the Philippines, Australia, and Cuba. We wanted to revitalize that tradition, and since my own research involves Greece right now, we figured that’d be the best place to start.”

Students delved into literary history, exploring some of the western world’s most famous landscapes and monuments, while working on their own writing through on-site reading and writing exercises.

The trip included a private tour of the Acropolis Museum, outings to the sites of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum, and roadtrips to the ancient religious site of Delphi, the prehistoric city of Mycenae (home of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra), Plutarch’s hometown of Chaeronea, and Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games, where students participated in the Literary Olympics, consisting of a series of rigorous competitions, including Backward Speed Walking, Writing on the Spot, and Poses of Strength.