Berklee in Greek Tempo

Sean Glass
April 18, 2007
Sean Glass
Berklee students during the study abroad program in Athens during the spring 2007 semester.
Office of International Programs
Office of International Programs

It may be 1:00 a.m., but you would never know it by the youth and young at heart that gather at this nocturnal cultural center. The country is Greece, the city is Athens, and the area is Psirri. On the outside, it's a rundown post-industrial part of town, but take a trip down one of its dark arteries and you are in the heart of Athens after dark. You will find a continuous string of clubs and bars, each with decor as unique and magnificent as the next, winding towards the center, which is packed full of trendy locals all dressed to suit, and teens with full emo/rocker hair. This is the Athens night life that is said to rival that of New York. Whether it does or not is certainly a matter of opinion, but on any given night you can find something to intrigue your senses.

Speaking of senses, it would be wrong to continue without mentioning something about the Greek cuisine, namely the infamous gyro (pronounced "year-o"). If you think you've tasted the wonder of this flavor-packed pita in the United States, you have certainly been misguided. At only about 1.60 Euros (a little more than two dollars) it is the signature fast food of Athens—cheap, filling, and easy to eat while walking, a major selling point in this largely pedestrian city. Seasoned pork marinating on the familiar skewer sliced thin, with tomatoes, onions, and french fries pilled onto buttered and grilled pita bread make up this delicious treat. However, it's the homemade tzaziki (like cucumber sauce), salt, and a dash of paprika that make this Greek meal almost irresistible.

If quick is not your fancy, however, by far the best food to find would be outside of Athens. Two destinations of note are Delphi and Olympia. Stop into any local restaurant, called "tavernas," and you will be treated to one of the freshest, most delicious meals Greece has to offer. With most ingredients homemade or homegrown, these places serve with pride that you can taste.

Provided that you can manage through the thick clouds of smoke that wafts around the heads of Athenian beauties and peer through the layers of smog and rows of traffic that rummage the city at any given hour, you are certain to find a beauty and flare like no other place in Europe. And one glance at the prominently lit Acropolis at night will leave no question that the 4,738-mile trip was well worth it.

Paris Strother, a contemporary writing and production major, has certainly found her Greek tempo, even if it is in 9/8. She has been performing with Greek locals at local bars and clubs, and even formed a group, affectionately titled the Paris Strother Quartet. Rock guitarist and performance major Rob Craft has felt the warmth of the spotlight's glow as the lead guitarist of a much-anticipated concert attributed to the music of Pink Floyd. Professional music major Marian Wilson was also front and center, after being asked to donate her skills to the task. The performance took place at the Nakas main performance venue.

Other Berklee students have been spending their time connecting with the world around them. Trips to Paris, Rome, Vienna, Amsterdam, and even Turkey have all been taken in the name of musical, cultural, and, of course, recreational exploration.

For more details about Berklee's International Study Abroad (ISA) program, visit or call (617) 747-2700.