UC Davis Summer Abroad


Status:  Not Offered in 2018

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Travelers in Greece


UC Davis Summer Abroad Greece, Faculty Bio Photo, Aliki Dragona

Aliki Dragona

University Writing Program


A full-time lecturer at UC Davis, since 1990, Aliki Dragona was born in Paris, France, and raised in Athens, Greece. She holds a B.A. (University of Athens) and an M.A. and Ph.D. (State University of New York at Binghamton)-all degrees in English Literature. She is also a certified literary translator (CRIT/TRIP SUNY Binghamton). She has taught composition and literature courses both in the United States and in Greece. Aliki has been teaching Travelers in Greece since 2002. A native speaker and long-time Athens resident, she enjoys teaching her students about her country's rich culture and history and she believes that traveling with students around the country while reading about it is the only way they can immerse themselves in the culture and learn about it in a profound and significant manner. Currently, apart from teaching upper division writing for the University Writing Program (UWP), Aliki Dragona is also the Faculty Director of Faculty-Led Programs at UC Davis Study Abroad.

A Message to Students and Parents

"I was born in Paris but raised in Athens, in the neighborhood of Nea Smyrni. My father was Greek but had been born and raised in Romania; as a 12-year-old, his father immigrated from the island of Cephalonia to Romania, and his mother, another descendant of Cephalonian islanders, had been brought up in Bulgaria. After World War II, they left Romania and settled in Athens. My mother, also Greek, was born in Athens, her parents refugees from Smyrna (Izmir) in Asia Minor. Both my parents spoke several languages and because of their jobs, consistently entertained guests from all over the world. My favorite childhood activity was to tag along with my parents when they took international friends to the different museums and archeological sites. Because my parents valued bilingual and multicultural education, I was sent to a Greek-American school for middle and high school, Pierce College: The American College of Greece, whereas my brother was sent to an equivalent Greek-Italian school. Sending me to the US for my graduate studies felt natural to our family, and as an international student, I felt right at home immediately. Teaching a Summer Abroad program in my homeland was the next natural step for me, one that brings me full circle back to my origins. I teach what I love most, the history and literature of Greece, to young American students who are learning to love the world around them.

I absolutely delight in teaching students abroad, and I cannot think of a more satisfying experience for me as a teacher. I often tell my students that one of the main reasons I teach abroad is my small contribution toward world peace. When my students are immersed in another culture and study it intensely for 4 weeks, they realize that what unites us all is our humanity; when they try to understand another people and their views, they glean that their efforts are acts of generosity and compassion that bring them closer to practicing peace."

What Students Are Saying

"One of the most fulfilling, intellectual, personal, social and educational experiences I have had."

"Aliki is perhaps the most ideal person to have come to Greece with.  Her personal experiences and stories about growing up here and also having lived in the US really help us understand both Greece and America."

"Absolutely loved the program and I feel lucky to have been able to go on all of the field trips and tours with such wonderful guides.  Aliki's passion for the subject and for the country is very charming and makes the journey through Greece much more memorable.  I wouldn't change a thing."

"One of the best professors at Davis."

"Perfect mix of lecture, field trips, and self discovery."

"Nobody else could do what Professor Dragona does."

"This program was very well planned and was the perfect mix of academics and wonderful summer experiences in a foreign country."

"Overall, best experience so far that I've had growing up."

"The program was planned to the T! Aliki is a very knowledgeable, accessible and approachable person and I can't imagine having done it with anyone else. All the reading made my experience as a traveler all the more worthwhile and important to me."

"[This program] has shattered stereotypes and allowed me to embrace a culture that is so different from the U.S. bubble!”

"This was a life altering experience. I feel like I've become a lot more knowledgeable and experienced."