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Language program strengthens Greek culture

By Louise Errington

Tauseef Mohammed is a Greek language student at CDU Tauseef Mohammed is a Greek language student at CDU

Experiencing the ancient history and culture of Greece first-hand has been an enriching learning opportunity for a group of students of the Greek language.

Some 11 Charles Darwin University students recently participated in the 7th Greek In-Country Language Program, which included study tours of Athens, Macedonia, Crete and Kalymnos.

Bachelor of Teaching and Learning/Bachelor of Arts student Tauseef Mohammed said the three-week intensive course was a great opportunity to immerse himself in the culture, lifestyle and language of Greece.

“Daily interaction with the country’s people meant we could apply our language skills in the social context, as well as in the academic context,” Tauseef said.

A first generation Australian of Pakistani background, the linguistically talented Tauseef speaks Punjabi and Urdu in addition to Greek and English. It was his love of languages and close connection to Darwin’s Greek community that motivated him to take up Greek language studies at CDU.

“There is a very small Pakistani community in Darwin,” he said. “I found I made a lot of Greek friends through sport and school. Surprisingly, elements of the Punjabi and Greek languages are quite similar, and I think that made it easier for me to learn Greek.”

Third generation Australian Greek Petros Gerakios completed the program for the first time, and said it was an important part of keeping in touch with his roots.

“Being immersed in the Greek lifestyle made me feel closer to my cultural heritage,” Petros said.

The program combines coursework, cultural experiences, field work and lectures from participating Greek universities and CDU staff.

It is available to students undertaking a Diploma of Languages, Graduate Diploma in Language Teaching or a Bachelor of Arts. It is also available as an independent studies unit or an elective as part of other higher education studies.

The program was made possible through funding and support from CDU, the CDU Foundation, Northern Territory Government and the Northern Territory Greek community.

For further information about the Greek In-Country Program, visit W: www.cdu.edu.au/creative-arts-humanities/greekincountry.