In Class News

January 18, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Classics Students Help Publicize New ‘Greek in Greece’ Summer Program

Efstathia Athanasopoulou with OHIO classics students on College Green

Visiting Greek scholar Efi Athanasopoulou (left) with OHIO students Shannon McLaughlin, Jericha Tumblin, Kelly Bilz, Alayna Gould and Micaela Eberhard in front of the Class Gateway on College Green

These days, not even the ancient Greek messenger god, Hermes, could outfly Twitter or Facebook to alert followers to a new initiative at Ohio University to study Greek in the seaport city of Patras, Greece.

The inaugural OHIO-Patras Greek-in-Greece study abroad takes place this May.

“For the last 2,500 years classicists have not had much need for social media,” quips Dr. James Andrews, Associate Professor of Classics & World Religions, and co-director of the program with Dr. William Owens, Associate Professor and Chair of the department.

Homer, Sappho, a few others were all the far-off friends you needed. But lately these same classicists have found that, if they want to communicate effectively not just with the Ancients, but also with their students, colleagues, and others interested in their activities, they had better get themselves social media accounts.

Messenger from Patras Connects OHIO Students to Ancient and Modern Greeks

Recently OHIO’s Classics professors played host to one such social media messenger, Efstathia Athanasopoulou, a Ph.D. student at the University of Patras, who serves as the program coordinator and web manager of the OHIO-Patras Greek in Greece program on the Greek side.

Athanasopoulou flew from Greece in early January to attend the annual meeting of the Society for Classical Studies in Toronto. Her own research concerns a form of ancient drama called the satyr play, and the SCS meeting was a good place for her to discuss her research with scholars.

But Athanasopoulou also dedicated a great deal of her time at the meeting to networking, on behalf of the OHIO-Patras study abroad program, with classicists from throughout North America. She took time to visit Ohio University after the conference to share her research in a colloquium, to meet with colleagues and students, and to discuss enhanced collaborative efforts in publicizing the program.

Classics students making signs

OHIO students making signs for use in the ‘Greek in Greece’ marketing campaign

On one of those days on the Athens campus, several OHIO undergraduate students enthusiastically got on board to assist Athanasopoulou in program marketing endeavors. They spent a Friday afternoon planning video clips and photo ops around campus and created signs to indicate why they personally want to continue their Greek studies during a summer in Patras.

These media materials will be used for the program’s promotion and outreach,” Athanasopoulou says. “The OHIO students were really enthusiastic, creative and dedicated to the task today and we had a lot of fun,” she explains. “I’ve already produced promotional YouTube videos with the help of UPatras students and faculty members. What I’ve learned so far is that the classics are on fleek (attractive) if you approach them with a critical and imaginative eye!”

One of the videos, for example, shows an unusual aspect of the program in Patras, called “Language Buddies.” These are a group of students at the University of Patras who will assist the OHIO students as tutors and friends. And because the Ohio students will have completed at least two semesters of Greek, they will be able, with the help of the Language Buddies, to adapt their knowledge of ancient Greek to the needs of such day-to-day activities as shopping, dining, calling for taxis, visiting ancient sites, and of course, hanging out on nearby beaches or enjoying the vibrant night-life Patras offers.

Athanasopoulou also manages the “Greek in Greece” program’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, and in addition works closely with University of Patras faculty members and staff to get the new language program off the ground.

How to Apply

Study abroad costs for students to participate in the five-week summer program are approximately $7,000, which includes in-country travel, room and board, and all incidentals. Financial aid is available. Students from other colleges and universities are encouraged to apply. Applications are due Feb. 16, 2017. To learn more, contact OHIO’s Office of Global Opportunities Greek in GreeceJames Andrews [], or Efstathia Athanasopoulou [].

Why Study Greek in Greece? OHIO Students Share in Their Own Words

Kelly Bilz with sophia sign

“What fascinates me about Ancient Greek is that it expresses similar ideas and issues about the human experience, which we continue to deal with in the modern world today. I chose the word “sophia” (meaning “wisdom”) because, first and foremost, the Greek in Greece program would help me improve my ancient Greek skills, as well as help me gain some Modern Greek knowledge. Using a Greek word best demonstrated my previous experience with Greek and my willingness to continue learning it. The photo project was a lot of fun because everyone had great energy – especially Efi! We really bonded over our mutual love of Classics” – Ohio University undergraduate Kelly Bilz (B.A. Honors Tutorial College Classics, Class of 2018)

Logan Crum with humanity sign

“’Humanity’ is deeply significant to me in the context of my studies (language, literature, culture and history). Crossing the Atlantic to meet strangers over a shared love for scholarship and humanity is such an amazing representation of global community. I hope to continue building relationships with people from cultures both far and near so this community can grow. Ancient Greek is a challenge to learn, but (as is often the case when tackling such a challenge) the reward is sweet. When you study Ancient Greek, you get to pronounce sounds that we do not use in modern English. Translating ancient words also allows you to peer into the world that surrounded humans from several millennia in the past. Efi was wonderfully enthusiastic about building an international community. She urged us to connect with students from Patras and develop relationships through scholarship. Her visit taught me the astounding impact that a few friendly human beings can make together. In today’s world, it is more important to make friends and share ideas than it ever has been, so let’s get to it! “ – Ohio University undergraduate Logan Crum (B.A. Honors Tutorial College Classics, Class of 2020)

Jericha Tumblin with experience sign

‘Experience’ encompasses everything the program offers, from experiencing the Ancient Greek language in its original context, to experiencing the culture and connecting with people across the Atlantic. I’m fascinated by the morphology, how each word is made up. And though there are rules for the forms of the words, there’s always a few words that escape the rest. – Ohio University undergraduate Jericha Tumblin (B.A. Honors Tutorial College Classics, Class of 2019)

Shannon McLaughlin everything sign

When I chose my word for the photo, I was thinking about what it was about ancient Greek and Classics as a whole that I enjoyed most, and I honestly couldn’t pick just one thing. What fascinates me most with ancient Greek is the sound of it as it is spoken. I realize that despite thousands of years and miles apart, I’m hearing the same words that were spoken during some of the earliest known events of history. – Ohio University student Shannon McLaughlin (B.A. College of Arts & Sciences, Classical Civilizations, Class of 2015)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *