More York Aviation Majors Intern in Greece

York College students continue to enjoy study abroad experiences and Greece has become the place to be for Aviation students at the college.

This year, as in last, two CUNY Aviation Institute at York College students ventured to Greece for the internship of a lifetime at Athens International Airport. Under the supervision of Hellenic American University, Rong “Jamie” Jiang and Ming Ping Yong, both seniors, spent most of summer 2016 working with and learning from the pros at Athens Airport; and living on the campus, where Dr. Triant Flouris, a former director of the Aviation Institute at York College, is provost.

“It was a great experience,” said Jiang, who hails from the southeastern part of China and has lived in the United States for the past eight and a half years. “It was an opportunity to live in a different country – a completely different world from the United States. I like the weather and the people. Everyone speaks English so it’s easy to communicate.”

For Yong, who was born in New York City but moved to Malaysia at the age of two when her parents returned to that country, everything about the Greek experience was enriching.

“We found out how different departments work together in a small airport but could be brought to a large airport such as JFK (Airport where they have worked) as well,” said Yong, who moved back to New York at 15 to attend high school.

Both students relayed that between shopping, travelling to other parts of Greece and participating in a commencement ceremony for Hellenic students, they had no time for boredom.

The young women worked Mondays through Thursdays and spent the long weekend travelling every week. In addition to more local travels, they took numerous modes of transportation to see the ancient ruins and other places of interest.

“We took bus, ferry, metro, rail road, small commuter planes…” said Yong explaining how they got to places such as Santorini and Mykonos. “It really was a valuable experience; not just because we studied, but because we can put it into our everyday life.”

According to Jiang, not enough students at York know about the study abroad program in general. “I wish more people could experience it,” she said.

According to Dr. Chris Hsu, director of the Aviation Institution at York College, establishing the internship program at the Athens International Airport was an exciting achievement for the Aviation Institute.

“Unlike internships in the United States, where students are assigned to intern at a department for the entire period and learn deeper knowledge of a single department's operations, the internship at Athens International Airport provides students a broader view of the entire airport's operations,” said Hsu.

“Students start in the customer services department in the first week of their internship then shift to different departments including Customs and Border Protection, Ground Handling, Traffic Control, and Cargo Management.  After they completed the internship, they had a whole picture of the airport operations.”

The internship was sponsored by Hellenic American University and TD Bank.

“This was a great experience for our students because they had the opportunity to compare the airport operations between the United States and Europe and share their valuable experience/opinions in class discussions,” said Hsu. “I hope we will be able to keep receiving sponsorship to send students to this kind of internships in the future.”