Speak Greek as much as possible!
Our director of studies, Stella Bompotsiari Vri shares her experience with Alexandra Karakopoulou-Zisser
At some point, quite by chance, I was listening to the radio broadcast of my friend Chistos Syribeys, when I heard something really interesting. Something that I had never heard since then, even though I was an expat. There was and there will always be a very significant need for us to spread the correct teaching and learning of our valuable Greek language. Thus, without wasting time, I contacted the station in order to acquire more information, speak with the people in person, those amazing people who are responsible for the current project of “Greek Lessons OnLine”. I also conducted a Google search in order to learn more about them and looked up on Facebook. My interest was rocketed, since when I accessed their website (www.greek-lol.com), I saw a very well made video of a trial lesson. In this video, I noticed that there was an extremely good and beautiful lady, explaining what Greek Lessons OnLine is about and that is the point where I was already convinced! This great innovation that I absolutely had to share with everybody! That amazing lady, Stella, is one among the two founders of Greek LOL. It would be best though to listen to what she has to say through her interview.
How did you come up with the idea of Greek LOL? The idea did not come out of a sudden. Like all things in life, this idea was gradually developing in my mind. In 2007, I decided to undertake an MA degree (MA in ICT Education, Information and Communication Technology, UCL Institute of Education) because I thought it was extremely interesting. This is how I laid the foundations of my company. Following this, I collaborated with my current partner, Pavlos Ksinas in order complete our online lessons project. It was really time consuming, however we eventually managed to create the company within some years. If you can only imagine that the idea has been circling my mind since 2007 and we actually started in 2012…
I assume that you have faced many difficulties… Yes, we did and we still are.
How is it for you to be working based in London and to be running such a project, that is related to teaching the Greek language in foreign countries? It is definitely a bit more different than it was, when I was based in Greece. I believe that when one is in a foreign country, like me for example, this can motivate him/her to work in a more systematic and organised way. To be honest, I perceive this to be something greater than just a job. As opposed to Greece, I can now get a better idea of how much love there is for Greece and the Greek language, especially for people (Greeks or expats) who have not been in Greece for several years. I then realised the great importance of what I am doing.
The love you have for the Greek language, helps you to do your work better… Yes, I see things from a different perspective now. Almost every day, I experience how much love there is for Greece and the Greek language from the people who live abroad. This truly makes me love my job even more!
I can understand the value of this project to you. Which countries are most interested in your work? We have students from many different countries around the world.
The most distant country? I would say Santa Fe (USA) is the most distant but for us actually, there are no distances!
Which is the favourite greek word of your students? The expression “kisses” (in Greek: φιλάκια). They all know it and use it after the completion of our lessons. They actually write this in the emails we send each other as well.
What do you forsee for the future of the greek language? I can say that a great effort is required in order to retain the language and learn how to speak Greek properly. This is a problem that is often observed. People might speak Greek but they do make mistakes. I truly love it when students are determined to learn the language properly.
What are the future plans of Greek OnLine? Our plans are focused on facilitating even more students to learn Greek. Teaching and learning of the Greek language is being achieved through the most easy way with our services, easy, quickly and online without missing a single thing in quality. A lot of people find it difficult nowadays to physically go to a Greek school or go for a private lesson once or twice a week. In some countries, the distance is so long that it does not help them at all.
What advice would you give to someone that wants to learn the Greek language? Do not be afraid to make mistakes when speaking Greek. Speak the language and you will learn it. Listen to yourself speaking Greek as much as possible.