Why Greece is the new studies destination in the COVID-19 era

As Greece is gradually adapting to the new normality that COVID-19 will impose, dr. Christos Michalakelis, President of the Study in Greece Organization, explains in his interview with Greek News Agenda* what comparative advantages studying in Greece has to offer to foreign students. Greece’s effective management of the pandemic, its Mediterranean climate, the high-level curricula, as well as the low fees and the post-Brexit reality are only a few of the parameters that have to be taken into consideration by foreign students, and Study in Greece aims at diffusing them to a global public.

Dr Christos Michalakelis is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Informatics and Telematics, Harokopio University of Athens. He specializes in techno-economics and assessment of ICT and high technology investments, like cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). He teaches courses related to telecommunications, investment assessments in high technology markets, the economics of digital technology, mathematics, etc. He has previously worked for many years with the Greek Ministry of Education, as an IT manager, where he had participated in several projects concerning the design and implementation of information systems.

He is co-founder and the President of Study in Greece, the official initiative of Greece (Hellas) aiming at the promotion and support of internationalization and extroversion of higher education. Study in Greece is a not-for-profit organization focusing on the promotion of educational opportunities and activities in Greece for international students, the provision of information for studying and living in Greece and the development, support and implementation of educational programs and activities, acting as a cultural and educational bridge between Greece and other countries. Study in Greece is under the auspices of the Ministries of Foreign AffairsEducation and Religious Affairs, and Tourism.

What was the rationale for introducing Study in Greece Organization and what has the outcome been so far?

Our first and principal aim was to contribute to the internationalization of the Greek academic world by creating a portal of information, where foreign students interested in studying in our country could easily find all information related to the undergraduate and postgraduate programs and other study options offered by Greek universities, as well as useful information concerning living in Greece, thus acting as a “one-stop-shop” of information.

Study in Greece places emphasis on the English-taught programs offered by Greek Universities and other educational activities targeting the international audience. The action merits the auspices of the Greek state, which has early recognized the added value of the offered services. We are very happy to observe that the Greek state’s mentality is totally compatible with this spirit of openness and extroversion which characterizes our organization. As a matter of fact, within this enhanced framework, thanks to the strategy of internationalization adopted by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, the role of Study in Greece has been upgraded.

Nowadays, Study in Greece cooperates with all Greek universities and constitutes the official bridge which connects the Greek academic world with the international academic universe, not only by informing but also through the organization of conferences, Study Abroad programssummer schools and other activities, which aim to accompany and promote the programs and activities of Greek universities.

Could you please elaborate on the English speaking postgraduate programs?

English-taught postgraduate programs offered by Greek public universities, offering many perspectives to both institutions and students, constitute the key to this internationalization initiative mentioned above.

Eighteen universities in Greece offer about 140 Masters Programs taught in a foreign language (mainly English), in many cities and regions across Greece, like Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Lesvos, Volos, Crete, Peloponnese, etc., awarding degrees over a wide range of disciplines including, apart from Classics, Engineering, Humanities, Social Sciences, Medical studies, Technology, Economics, Business, Art, Music, Nutrition, and many others. This should be emphasized more, since there may be a wrong perception that Greece provides only studies focusing on Classics, which is not the case, since Greece is making substantial and continuous progress in scientific fields like the ones mentioned above, offering study programs of high quality. It should also be noted that the number, as well as the range of disciplines, of the English language programs, are expanding, as the universities have understood the importance of internationalization and extroversion.

Teaching methods vary between different fields and subject-specialisms, comprising large-group lectures as well as smaller seminar discussion groups and supervised practical work. Collaboration with other institutions (or their faculty) is not uncommon as Greek Master’s degrees emphasize expert teaching and professional training.

The main “problem” related to these programs, is that they lack international promotion, as there is low international awareness, despite the high quality of education they offer. Here comes Study in Greece, which has as its main mission the promotion and the raising of awareness about studies in Greece and the offered programs. Regarding the postgraduate studies, we have created an e-book, which includes a panorama of English language master’s programs in Greece. There, one can find all the program titles along with the appropriate information for each program, including application, fees, etc. Also, Study in Greece, in collaboration with the Greek Ministry of Education, has developed an electronic platform to host the Master’s Programs.

Read the full interview here.

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