Majors: Classics and Physics
Year: Fourth year
Ancient Greece was home to some of the greatest stories ever told: comedies and tragedies centered on mythological muses, grand voyages and hard-fought battles define a culture of storytelling essential to everyday life.
These more than 2,000-year-old stories were read to Nam Vo by his father through childhood, sparking a lifelong passion for the classics and history.
Vo, a fourth-year classics and physics major, was recently able to indulge his love of antiquity and visit ruins he’d only read about during a spring break trip to Greece.
“The path is a little bit long and tiresome, but once you arrive at the destination—in this case, when you get to see the remains of a temple—it’s all worth the effort,” he said. “I was very moved to see [ancient ruins] with my own eyes.”
For Vo, studying abroad helped immerse him in the history beyond just the texts he enjoyed listening to as a child. He enjoyed the opportunity to walk and explore, taste Greek cuisine, and examine how present-day Greece co-exists with and preserves its ancient history. He was particularly interested in how the modern country presents its ruins, and especially how its people emphasize the Athenian Acropolis.
Vo’s love of classics came from his desire to learn about the world. Through his study of history in high school, Vo gained a deep interest in looking at the past through the lens of drama, poetry, philosophy and language to better understand humans’ development through time.
“I quickly fell in love with this way of viewing history, which I previously thought was just memorizing dates and facts,” he explained. “It was also in high school that I took my first Latin class, and also fell in love with the language.”
While his interest in physics may seem an odd bedfellow to classics, it all stems from a similar place: his desire to understand. Having studied physics since middle school, Vo enjoys the challenge of solving problems and testing hypotheses to better understand how the natural world works.
While Vo hasn’t completely nailed down his next move after graduation, he expressed his desire to remain in the field of classics, and will likely pursue a master’s degree in the field.
“One possibility for me is to come back to Vietnam to teach history or language,” he said, “or do some translatorial work.”