Get to know our tour managers, well-traveled and fascinating individuals who make your ACIS experience truly exceptional. Today we’re happy to introduce you to Jeff Vanderpool. Jeff is a professional photographer and author of our newly published Teaching with Photography Lesson Plan:
Where did you grow up, and where have you lived over the years?
I grew up in Athens, Greece, and we moved to the U.S. when I was in middle school and high school. I spent my college years in the U.S. and worked for a couple of years in NYC before relocating to London where I settled for ten years, before eventually ending up back in Greece.
What’s your educational background and how many languages do you speak?
I studied philosophy and classical civilization in college and fell in love with the art of photography. I completed an MA in photography and image theory upon moving to London. I speak English and Greek as native languages and am fluent in Italian and Spanish.
Can you tell us something interesting about yourself that others may not know?
I am generally a very open person and like to share all my experiences. I find that the more I share the more people feel they can share with me, and therefore, I’m also learning and experiencing along with them.
What’s a misconception about Greece you wish you could erase?
Greece = Acropolis and islands! There is so much more!!!
How long have you been working with ACIS?
I have been working with ACIS for about five years, most of which I have done since relocating to Greece.
What do you do when you’re not guiding for ACIS?
I specialize in heritage photography which is essentially the use of photography for the conservation and presentation of monuments old and new. Most of my clients are Non-profits, educational institutions, archeological excavations, and private individuals involved in some way or another with Greece’s vast cultural and natural heritage.
What are some of your favorite places to travel?
When I was in my twenties the world seemed a vast place and I didn’t know where to begin. I traveled as much as I could and pretty much indiscriminately. Wherever there was an opportunity to go somewhere new I would seize it. I have now settled more to the places that I like and the are more meaningful to me. I would, therefore, say that of greatest interest and one of my favorite places to travel, is Turkey. I also like to travel overland (mainly by car) in Europe as you gain a much deeper understanding of how geography and history affect the cultural diversity of Europe.
What are some of your most memorable experiences with students on tour?
My most memorable experiences have always been with groups that are curious and adventurous. I find that these are also two basic requirements for travel and learning! So my most memorable experiences are generally those where I have also discovered something new because there is always something new to discover when you are with the curious and the adventurous!
One that stands out is a visit to a Frankish Castle in the Peloponnese in Greece. The castle was not part of the guided tour of the site we were visiting as it was perched high up the mountain and there were more significant ruins down below. The group however unanimously chose to venture up despite the challenging nature of the climb. We were all rewarded with one of the most spectacular views of the Laconian plain (the region where the city of Sparta is located) and a great castle to explore as well!
What impact have you observed travel make on students on your tours?
In concise terms, travel broadens your horizons. I find that when you travel you are in a heightened state of awareness. This is because you are out of your element (your familiar surroundings) and therefore much more aware of what is going on around you. Students will therefore always have an experience that informs them in some way. And the more they engage with their surroundings (inquire, explore, interact, etc.) the more they come away with. This is where my role lies, as I feel it is my job to help them to experience as much as they can. I have not been on a tour yet where I have had someone that has not been enriched in some way by their experience.
What would you tell a parent about sending their child on an ACIS educational tour?
Don’t hesitate! A week or so traveling can often equal months in a classroom!!
FREE LESSON PLAN
Teaching with Photography
4 Photo based activities to do with your students and enhance your curriculum.