Becoming a Traveler: Writing in Greece (Athens, Poros)

Major Discipline(s):
Summer Session I (May 28 - June 23, 2018)

A course on Creative Writing for Non-Fiction (Athens, Nauplio, and Poros Island)

When asked what makes good travel writing, author Rory Maclean stated: “A book that is written from the heart. As a reader, I want to know how a journey affected the writer, what he or she learned through the trip, and how he or she was changed by the experience”.

This course will use the study and practice of creative non-fiction forms to introduce students to new ways of engaging with the world. We will also explore various questions that arise when writing travel literature for the page or the screen: How does one write about a foreign country or people with a sense of respect for diversity? In what ways do our expectations and our actual perceptions of a place juxtapose, merge or align? How can one build a narrative that offers an argument? And, how do we translate this argument for different media – from the essay to the short documentary?

Finally, by using Greece as a lens to examine the ways authors draw on the rich myth, history and literary tradition of the place, students will hone their critical thinking and writing skills, as well as learn how traveling is first of all a process that makes the authors discover more about themselves.


This class will have two central aims: (1) to study the genre of creative non-fiction from a literary and critical standpoint, and (2) to become practitioners of diverse non-fiction forms from travel writing for the page to documentary’s developers for the screen. Accordingly, in addition to reading literary and investigative travel writing about Greece, as well as understand the structure and purpose of the documentary form, students will also be producing and sharing their own writing in a workshop setting with their peers. As such, much of our discussion will focus on analyzing the craft and techniques implied in the writing of non-fiction forms. Specifically, we will:


  • Develop analytical skills, learning to look at the world as writers and critics.
  • Examine how to find the driving questions that can focus and propel an investigation.
  • Study the literary elements of travel writing for the written and the audio-visual forms (e.g., how to construct the narrative, how to create rich characterization, how to balance in-scene writing with exposition, how to utilize retrospective analysis to bring insight to your work, how to develop themes that give your writing meaning and depth, and how to craft diverse forms of travel writing).
  • Expose the difficulties that arise when writing about people and places that are new, and how we might do so with honesty, integrity, respect and intellectual rigor.
  • Hone skills at critical self-assessment and reflection on the writing process, as well as to develop skills forresponding to peer work. 
  • Produce creative, complex, analytical and artful writing about travel and place, both of varying length and in different forms.



This course requires a minimum enrollment of 8, with a maximum enrollment of 15.
CYA reserves the right to cancel any course that fails to achieve minimum enrollment by April 1. Students are advised not to purchase non-refundable airline tickets before early April.

Credit/Fee Discounts

60 contact hours

Fee Discounts:
Students who submit their application for admission with full payment postmarked on or before March 1, receive a reduction of $100.
Students who enroll and participate in more than one CYA summer course receive a reduction of $100 per course.

Essential Information

The course starts in Athens on May 28 and ends on the island of Poros on June 23. Students should arrange to depart Athens at least one day after the course ends.

Enrolled students will have access to detailed information prior to departure that will include directions to the Academic Center and other practical information about residing in Athens. CYA recommends the following websites for general information about Athens and Greece: and  For information on the island of Poros:


Students are housed within walking distance of the CYA Academic Center in either CYA student apartments located in the Pangrati neighborhood of central Athens or in hotel accommodations arranged by CYA. CYA apartments are simply furnished and equipped with a full kitchen and air-conditioned bedrooms. Towels, linens and housekeeping service will be provided. Hotel accommodations will be in simple 2- or 3-star hotels, double- or triple-occupancy, in air-conditioned rooms with breakfast included.

The CYA Academic Center is located next to the Athens Marble Stadium and houses classrooms, the library, the student lounge and cafeteria, computer facilities (including wireless access for those students who choose to bring laptop computers), laundry facilities, and administrative offices. The Academic Center is accessible Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., Friday 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., and Sunday 5:00-9:00 p.m.

A full mid-day meal will be served weekdays in the CYA cafeteria between the hours of 12:00-3:00 p.m. On Poros, a mid-day meal will be served at the hotel or a local taverna on weekdays. A welcome and a farewell dinner are also included.


Arrival: Monday May 28
9:00 a.m.: Check-in begins at the CYA Academic Center. Pick up information folder from Student Affairs and course materials from the Librarian.  Transport to CYA apartments or to CYA-arranged hotel accommodations.

6:00 p.m.: Orientation session at the Academic Center followed by an open house offering students the opportunity to meet their Professor and fellow students.

Tuesday May 29: Class begins
Last Day:  Friday June 22
Final Examination
Farewell dinner

Departure:  Saturday June 23
Student housing available until 12:00 noon.