Seeking Sanctuary


Duration 8 days
Suggested group size 12 - 20 students / 2 Envoys Field Staff
Suggested ages 14 - 18
Experience Seeking Sanctuary


Seeking Sanctuary


In ancient Greece, seeking refuge in sanctuaries was sacred yet modern Greece grapples with being a primary entry point for refugees. Despite economic challenges, Greeks shows resilience, offering shelter and aid, particularly from war-torn countries like Syria and Afghanistan. In this program, students explore ancient philosophical ideas of sanctuary and cross-cultural understanding, meeting diverse individuals and organizations providing hope to refugees seeking a better life in Europe.

“"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle“


“Ancient myths invite travelers to wander through olive groves and ancient ruins through the cradle of Western civilization.“


Impact Statement Everywhere we go, we carry a promise – to engage with respect, act with purpose, and leave a positive imprint. As envoys of our journey is more than travel; Our footprint is light, but our impact is profound, creating bridges of cooperation and mutual growth across the globe.

Day 1

Envoys educators meet the students at the airport in Athens and take them to their accommodations. After a rest, we gather for a program overview and safety briefing. Later we explore the city on foot, then enjoy dinner with a view of the temple to Athena before a good night's rest.

Day 2

After breakfast, we visit the Acropolis or other ancient ruins like Agora, Propylaea, Temple of the Wingless Victory, Erechtheum, Porch of Maidens and Mars Hill. In the afternoon, we explore contemporary art at the National Museum and delve into Greece's refugee crisis at One Heart’s offices

Day 3

In the morning, we learn about the Greek Council for Refugees' human rights work since 1989. After lunch, we debrief and identify questions. In the afternoon, we visit Open Day Center of Athens, engaging with locals. Later we explore Athens in small groups, conducting empathic interviews.

Day 4

We set out for a day of service with a refugee aid organizations based in Athens. We wrap up our day of service in the mid-afternoon, and visit a museum or historical site of students’ choice. We end our day with our daily reflection session and a dinner of local favorites.

Day 5

We visit the Blue Refugee Center, learn about Thessaloniki's role in the refugee crisis. After lunch, meet at Aristotle University's Refugee Education Initiatives and Migrant Research Project. After exploring the White Tower, Byzantine walls, and Roman Forum we end with local specialties for dinner.

Day 6

After breakfast, we visit the Thessaloniki Solidarity Center that provides services free of charge to anyone in need. In the Afternoon we explore the city's waterfront and visit Byzantine churches. We travel back to Athens and have dinner on the way.

Day 7

After breakfast, we take a ferry to Hydra where we spend the day decompressing and exploring on this idyllic car-free island. Students swim, discuss perspectives, enjoy local food, and chat with locals. We return to Athens at sunset by ferry.

Day 8

We visit the Jesuit Refugee Service, connecting Jesuit spiritual philosophies to global human rights struggles. We hold a closing ceremony in a nearby park, reflecting on experiences, recognizing contributions, and making plans for future action. Next, we head to the airport to travel back home.

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Lenses of Inquiry



Engaging with individuals and organizations that are actively working to provide hope and peace to refugees, understanding the humanitarian efforts on the ground, and examining the challenges and successes in offering safety and opportunities for a better life in Europe.



Analyzing the current challenges faced by Greece as a primary gateway for refugees, in the context of the recent substantial influx, and delving into the complexities of the people's response, ranging from resilience and empathy to criticism of government policies and conditions in refugee camps.



Exploring the historical roots of sanctuary concepts, tracing back to ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, and understanding the evolution of the term 'asylum' and its association with temples and sanctuaries.


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