"Greece, an Unforgettable Odyssey" : a book to be published by Zayed University media students


June 2, 2015

Inspired by Aristotle who wrote in the Nichomachean Ethics, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them,” a group of six undergraduate students from Zayed University (ZU) have travelled to Greece to engage in a new exciting learning experience.

The journey to Greece came to teach students how to brand and market tourism destinations, as part of their tourism and cultural communications course at Zayed University.

“Greece, an unforgettable odyssey,” is the fruitful outcome of this journey. The book, which will soon be published, documents the trip through still and motion pictures and includes useful notes taken by students.

Maryam Al Awar, Rowda Al Sayegh, Hamda Al Shaikh, Marwa Mubarak, Shamsa Alsaaidi, and Maha Al Amri, students at the College of Communication and Media Sciences, have expressed their thoughts and feelings during the seven-day trip to Greece.

“The trip to Greece was very insightful. It showed us how to discover new places and experience other cultures. Going to Athens, learning all about the historical sites and visiting the Acropolis Museum gave us a new concept of how a historical monument can be turned into an iconic tourist destination and attraction. It was truly an unforgettable odyssey,” Maryam Al Awar, a tourism and cultural communications at Zayed University, said.

Students had the chance to visit Athens and Santorini Island in Greece between May 7 and May 13.

The study trip proved that practical education is an effective instructional methodology to teach tourism and communication courses instead of traditional and theoretical teaching methods.

“I am passionate about photography since a very young age, and having the opportunity to merge my artistic skills with my tourism studies meant the world to me. As a professional photographer, who is enthusiastic about traveling all over the world to capture culture, Greece was one of the best destinations I have visited so far to photoshoot,” Rowda Al Sayegh, said.

“As a tourism and cultural communication student, this trip gave me a futuristic look into what my career could entail. We have learnt a lot within our classrooms at Zayed University; however, experiential learning is always different and unique. Within one week, I was able to learn many lessons and concepts. This trip has enriched my learning experience and will always be embedded in my mind and heart,” she added.

Students were also part of several field trips within the UAE, as part of their course requirements.

“During previous years, I have taken students to one-day field trips within the UAE to learn how to brand and market their historical and tourism destinations. We visited Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Masdar City, Burj Khalifa, Arabian Travel Market, Deira Soul and Abra ride as well as Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding amongst other sites. Students had to conduct assessments following their interviews with tourists, pilgrims, and tourism stakeholders,” Dr. Filareti Kosti, Associate Professor at the College of Communication and Media Science and Primary Faculty Coordinator of Greece trip, said.

After returning back from Greece, students had to create a destination promotional campaign to apply and implement their learning experience.

William McCarthy, Assistant Professor at the College of Communication and Media Science and Secondary Faculty Coordinator, was also part of the Greece trip.

“It is my fourth time to travel to Greece along with Zayed University students and I have to say that this journey was quite different compared to previous trips conducted to the United States and Japan,” McCarthy said.

“Our trip to Greece has equipped our students with the expertise, commitment and skills required for management, marketing, and tourism. Field trips are a great method to engage students in practical and real-life exercises and assignments. Significant opportunities are waiting for graduates with the resourcefulness, creativity and responsibility developed through the tourism and cultural communications major. It prepares graduates to operate in diverse environments, confront challenges and find solutions,” McCarthy concluded.