Recently, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki developed a new Summer Study of Modern Greek as a Foreign language, satisfying the two-year requirement of American colleges and universities for graduation (for detailed program, see Bulletin No.119, July 2014).
The plan is for students, Greek-American and non-, to attend two three-week sessions — totaling six weeks for the summer, for two consecutive summers, fulfilling the foreign language requirement of their home institution. One of the significant advantages of the program is that American colleges and universities accept the transfer of credits from other institution but not the grades. Thus, as long a student “passes” the courses, the home academic average is not affected.
Now, the University of Patra has decided to establish a similar program, so that students interested studying in Greece will have a choice of locations.
Whereas Thessaloniki is Greece’s second largest city, and the University located within it, the University of Patra campus is about 9 kilometers — 10 minutes — away, in the small college-town of Rio, near the new bridge connecting Peloponnese with central Greece. The campus is very nice, the buildings very good, the town friendly and welcoming, and with a long and beautiful beach nearby. Its location makes it ideal for easy access to Southern Greece — including Crete, to Athens, the Ionian and even the Aegean islands, and to Northern Greece.Patra itself, Greece’s third largest city, is cosmopolitan and easily accessible. There is a modern train that commutes between Rio and Patra every half hour for 1 Euro each way, although students ride free with their student identity card.
In order for either or both — and hopefully both — programs to be implemented on their starting date of Monday, June 15, 2015, each must have the “minimum” of twenty students for its first class. If this requirement is not fulfilled, the programs will not begin, and will be cancelled of course. It is realized that if the programs do succeed in the first year, there will be no difficulties for subsequent years. This is a proven experience of study abroad programs which usually encounter some difficulty for the initial term, but then are hugely successful due to the wonderful experiences related by returning students. The deadline to submit applications directly to the university of choice is March 1, 2015, thus request of application materials must be made early to allow for preparation and any requests for clarification.
Although it is vitally necessary that the Hellenic Link widely and strongly advertise these unique opportunities, as perhaps the last chance for the Greek American generations away from the first to prevent loss of their Greek identity and heritage, it is just as of absolute necessity that the Hellenic Link membership take the initiative to promote them within their own surroundings. If every member recruits just one student: son, daughter, nephew, niece, godson, goddaughter, grandson, granddaughter, the 20 student minimum requirement for the first year will be reality. In addition, it is also vitally necessary that every Hellenic Link member explain these programs each in his/her own church community. A request to be given just 10 minutes at the end of a church liturgy will do wonders. Another, potentially most effective way to inform the student community of these highly attractive Greek language and culture opportunities is via the active assistance of “Hellenic Clubs”:
Many universities and colleges across our nation, and especially in the East Coast, have campus “Hellenic Clubs.” Some of these clubs have as many as around 100 members. Students of these clubs need to become aware of these summer language opportunities in Greece. This can be accomplished via two ways: 1) the clubs become aware via information directly to them by the Hellenic Link (for example, by this Bulletin and the printed announcements of the Greek universities), and 2) Hellenic Link members near colleges and universities with Hellenic Clubs request of Club leaders for a short presentation in one of their meetings. The Clubs and their individual members can then spread the GOOD NEWS on campus among their fellow-students.
As informational background of this educational development, it is important to note that the initiative of the two Hellenic universities, as is specially tailored to fit the requirements of the U.S. higher education, has been encouraged by contacts and collaboration with the Hellenic Link. The interaction led to the gradual development of an informal network of support for the formation of curricula and their further implementation. The network frame appropriately comprises administrators and faculty members of several Greek universities, members of the Academy of Athens, and researchers of the Hellenic National Foundation of Research, with the active consulting participation of the Hellenic Link, Inc. Our colleagues in Greece involved in this endeavor, have been motivated to offer their time and effort for the purpose to mitigate the dire need and quest of the Greek American community for Hellenic Education. It is only natural that they anticipate the energetic response of the Greek American community and support for the programs of great value generated precisely for the benefit of Greek American, including interested non-Greek American, students. Likewise, it is natural, but also a duty of all on the American side, concerned about the preservation in knowledgeable appreciation of the Hellenic patrimony in America, to enthusiastically do what they personally can to secure an ample enrollment of students in these new two Greek language and culture courses.
It is now up to the Hellenic Link membership and all supporters of the Hellenic ideals to show this spirit and degree of leadership challenging every one of Greek origin and philhellene orientation.
The team of the esteemed colleagues, members and co-workers of the Hellenic Link, who diligently contribute to the above work here in the United States and In Greece,
I salute with admiration and gratitude,
Costas Efthymiou, Ph.D.
President, The Hellenic Link, Inc.