Foreign Study Program sponsors trip to Greece

By Carol Ekstrom

NIU students interested in the study of ancient civilizations will have a chance to go to Greece and Turkey this summer with NIU’s School of Art.

The trip is sponsored by the NIU Foreign Study Program, a division of the International and Special Programs.

NIU Art History Professor Dimitri Liakos started the program in 1971.

Liakos, a native of Greece, will accompany the group and serve as seminar director. He said he has done extensive research in architecture, mythology, art history and ancient poetry.

“Greece is my area of expertise. I have studied the art and architecture there for many years before I came to teach in the United States,” he said.

Jean Scherpf, an art history graduate, experienced studying abroad with NIU’s Foreign Study Program five years ago.

“When you study art history in a classroom, you see the art one-dimensional through slides and pictures,” she said. “But when you can experience it by being there, you are not only seeing it, but visualizing it too.”

Liakos said he agrees with Scherpf. “In order to appreciate art, you have to go where the art is,” he said.

Scherpf said she will see many of the same places she did during her last trip but it should be just as exciting as the first time.

“Delphi (Greece) is my favorite place to go,” she said. “It never loses its mystical presence. Every time you go, it is something different.”

NIU graduate student Cheryl Turnauer will travel to Greece for the first time. She said experiencing the culture will give her images she can use in her artwork.

“When you can get a feel for a country and a people first hand, you are able to sketch without guessing what the images look like,” she said.

Liakos said the program is strictly academic and it will concentrate on art history and archaeology. The students will receive three credit hours for the trip, with an option to do an independent study course for an additional three hours.

The trip will be June 27 through July 12. An optional four-day cruise on the Aegean Sea will be July 13-18.

The tour is open to all undergraduate and graduate students and faculty who are interested in studying ancient civilizations.