By Shanice Lewis
Mountain hikes, beach days, and trips to historical monuments filled the summer of two York College students who interned in Greece at the Athens International Airport.
Thinley Wongmo and Dianna Rodriguez lived in a spacious apartment near the Acropolis and Parthenon for two months as they worked at the Hellenic American University and the airport. The students were assigned tasks by Dr. Dimitris Apostolidis, the student advisor, as well as Dr. Flouris Traint, the provost and travel host.
Wongmo and Rodriguez worked in different departments of the airport juggling several tasks at once. “Every week the director of the aviation business unit assigned me to a new area. I was put into airside operations, baggage handling system operations unit, aircrafts planning and scheduling, customer service, safety and operation,” said Rodriguez.
The work environment was much like having a behind the scenes look of the area, “where others dream of working in,” Rodriguez said.
When off duty,Wongmo and Rodriguez explored the country. They visited the Plaka, the Greek Parliament, and the Constitution Square.“We grew accustomed to walking long distances and taking the public transportation system” said Wongmo. “We made spontaneous hikes up the Lycabette Mountain, shopped for souvenirs for our families and traveled to other islands.”
Despite the current crisis in Greece, the two York students still had a good time. “It was a historical moment for Greece. I witnessed the protests and riots all first hand,” said Rodriguez.
The sites they took in amazed the students and the food they ate during their stay. Rodriguez raved about the food and some of her most memorable moments.
“We traveled the coast and watched the waters crash onto the sides of the cliff and saw Poseidon’s Temple,” Rodriguez said. “We ate out a lot. There were so many places to eat out at, but we always got souvlaki. We had pistachio, gelatos, seafood, and just so much food.”
Wongmo, a Junior and Aviation Management major, was not always interested in the field. She was originally a nursing student that happened to attend an aviation club meeting with a friend. “After attending many club events and doing research and also talking to aviation students and professors, I finally decided that this is what I really wanted to do,” she said.
Rodriguez had long been on the aviation path. “I graduated from Aviation High School (in Queens) and got accepted into a specialized five year program where I received my aircraft maintenance license,” she explained. Rodriguez credits her “amazing teachers” for getting her where she is today.
All photos provided by Shanice Lewis