Global Education

South student revisits her roots in Greece

By Lydia Emmanouilidou
Published: April 2010

During my childhood, I did not live in a wealthy neighborhood and did not receive the education that Newton has to offer.

Instead, I lived in a small village called Mylotopos, located in the northernmost part of Greece and completed first grade in a multi-grade classroom at the village’s only school.

My parents wanted a better future for their children, so they decided to leave the small village and move to Athens, the world-known capital of Greece, where I lived for most of my life.

But my parents were not satisfied. After turning 12, my family immigrated to the United States. Upgrading from a small village to the capital of Greece and then to the United Sates, has awarded me with a global and diverse perspective.

While undergoing these extreme changes during such crucial period of my life, I had no choice but to take advantage of the circumstances, which have affected the development of my personality and aided my growth as a culturally open-minded individual.

After moving here, I attended Brown Middle School and was immersed in a situation that I was entirely unfamiliar with. I had to accommodate to the English language and new beliefs, two foreign aspects of life, during my adolescent years.

You would think that after all this effort to become accustomed to the American culture, I would be content with spending the rest of my life here. But I am planning to go back- at least temporarily.

I never really considered taking a year off before college. After all, the reason my parents decided to immigrate to America was to give my siblings and me a better chance at an education.

I figured that the best way to take advantage of the education I am able to receive here would be to graduate college, continue on to graduate school, and then move back to Greece.

But just a few weeks ago, my father brought up the subject of taking some time off before I go to college and spending that time in Greece.

I was surprised, and, although the thought had briefly occurred to me already, I considered the possibility very unlikely and unrealistic.

The decision that will affect the next year of my life was made in less than 5 minutes. I am departing in August, living in Greece for about six months, and coming back in January to attend Northeastern University.

Some people might find it strange that instead of exploring the world, or going on City Year, or spending this time doing community service in the a third-world country I am going back to Greece, but I am exceptionally proud of myself for making this decision.

I hope that during my stay, I can get in touch with my culture and grow to appreciate the advantages and rights the United States has granted me.

In order to fully take advantage of this experience, I will be living in my own apartment rather than staying with friends and family, and will be attending a school in Athens during the weekdays.

Needless to say, I am planning on spending most of my time with the friends I had to leave numerous times.
But I am also hoping to gain a realistic perspective on daily life in Greece, an aspect of real life I have not gotten to experience as an adult because I only had the chance to visit Greece during the summer.

Moving from Greece to the United States has made me realize that I can withstand any obstacle and adjust to any environment regardless of the circumstances and has allowed me to mature in a different way. I just cannot wait to see the positive ways which moving back will affect me.

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