Daily Archives: February 2, 2016

One click away from speaking Greek


Stella Bompotsiari teaches Greek to people from all over the world through her online school, Greek LOL

“The idea of an online school has always been on my mind,” says Stella Bompotsiari, the founder of Greek Lessons OnLine.

Stella studied Greek literature in Greece and then started looking for a master’s degree that would inspire her and help her make a difference in the future of education.

In the meantime, Stella travelled to many countries around the world, broadening her horizons, until she decided to join her brother Panagiotis in North Carolina, USA.

While in the States, she found that there were many people – not necessarily of Greek background – who wanted to learn Greek and even enrol in a language school.

“I realised that joining a Greek school is not always feasible for a plethora of different reasons,” she says, explaining that she has since then been trying to find a way to make learning Greek easy for people of all ages around the world.
“In 2005, I applied for an E-Learning Master’s Degree, offered by UCL, Institute of Education in London. My studies in E-Learning opened my eyes to a whole new world in education.”

Stella was very inspired by these courses, and with her partner, Pavlos Ksinas, she started looking at how a Greek online school could operate.

Like all Greeks, after acquiring her MA, she wanted to go back to her country and find a job to implement all this new knowledge in her way of teaching, but life had other plans.

“The financial crisis, along with the high unemployment rate, were of course constraints in this effort, making me feel like I was the most useless and unsuccessful human being in the world,” Stella stresses.
“However, not having a full-time job as a secondary school teacher meant that I had more time to do things I liked. Thus, I did what I liked the most. Together with Pavlos, we started working seriously to design our online Greek school.”

And this is how Greek LOL was born, aiming not only to teach the Greek language using the most effective method but also to bring students closer to the Greek culture and history in the most interactive, easy and fun way.

Stella and Pavlos created a website which offers student-centred live, private and group lessons as well as separate classes for young and adult students of all levels.

“Our method of teaching and learning the Greek language is very easy for all people to follow as long as our students have a computer and a high-speed internet connection,” Stella says.

All the Greek lessons are conducted via a specially designed virtual classroom with the use of up-to-date learning materials according to the age and the level of each student. The lessons are not delivered via Skype, but using a videoconferencing environment with an integrated interactive board, where both teachers and students in the online classroom write and complete exercises.

Apart from the online classroom functions, the online school of Greek Lessons OnLine does not merely assign a teacher to deliver yours or your child’s lesson. There is a specific program of study, which is being followed by all teachers and is always adapted to the needs of each student.

“Our educational material is constantly being updated and enriched with songs, videos, quizzes and many more educational tools,” Stella goes on.
“We employ amazing tools to teach the language and to enrich the vocabulary of our students. In addition, the school management is closely monitoring the conduction of all courses and especially for young children, we are constantly in contact with the parents. We want to be sure that we do everything for you to learn Greek.”

The teachers working for Greek Lessons OnLine are very experienced, qualified and the most suitable people to design your Greek online course, tailored to your own needs – the hours you wish depending on your level and requirements you might have.

“Even native Greek speakers can sometimes get lost among broken English and Greek,” Stella adds.
“The Greek language is something more than just ‘Yia sou’ – it consists of grammar, syntax, expression, and what is more, passion.”

Greek LOL educators enrich their lessons with quizzes, flashcards, videos, and songs as a commitment to making Greek language learning easy and enjoyable at both ends. Despite the physical distance, Stella and her teachers all feel really ‘close’ to their students, who are active, constantly interacting with the materials and not just passively watching their teacher.

“The first time I had the chance to see one of my students in person was when Leonardo from New Mexico visited me in Greece,” she remembers, admitting that it took her a while to realise there was no screen between them.
“Our students come from many different parts of the world, yet we all share the same passion for Greek language and culture. How amazing is this?
“I am based in London and our other teachers live in Greece, France and Italy, while our students come from Australia, Morocco, Doha, Lebanon, France, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, New Mexico, New York, Washington DC, Texas, Alabama, Oregon and so on.”

Instead of investing your time in the long drive to Greek school, Greek Lessons OnLine is bringing the teacher to your own home, guaranteeing security and consistency.

“We also take the responsibility of providing you and your children very high quality lessons, which you will appreciate from the very first free trial session.
“Imagine this as opening a window to the beauty of knowledge, from the safety and comfort of your own home.”

For more information head to the Greek Lessons OnLine website at http://www.greek-lol.com or phone +44 7477 473 475.

source:neos kosmos

Aussie lifesaver forced to watch Lesvos refugees drown


Volunteer returns to Melbourne with harrowing account of asylum seeker deaths.

A Melbourne lifeguard who volunteered to help asylum seekers crossing from Turkey to Lesvos says he saw 31 people drown this month because they were in international waters.

In the first month of 2016, Lesvos remains the primary gateway into Europe for the greatest migration surge since the Second World War.

More than 850,000 people, most fleeing conflict in Syria and Afghanistan, entered Greece by sea in 2015 according to the UNHCR, and already in 2016, another 35,000 asylum seekers have arrived – most through Lesvos – despite freezing winter temperatures and storms.

Earlier this month St Kilda Surf Lifesaving Club’s captain Simon Lewis spent nine days on the island as a volunteer in a joint venture between the Greek Lifeguards and the International Surf Lifesaving Association.

On his return he told reporters that his team helped save 517 people in 10 days but that he witnessed one horrific event that would remain with him forever.

Mr Lewis said he had to stand by helpless as 31 asylum seekers drowned beyond Greek waters because his team was not allowed to intervene.

“That’s the nature of lifesaving, we put ourselves in that situation to help prevent people from drowning and yet because it’s across the way in international water, you’re restricted and can’t actually do anything about it,” Mr Lewis said.

Unless asylum seeker boats are sinking, volunteers are unable to assist because helping people cross international borders illegally could see them charged with people smuggling.

One more heartbreaking case that Mr Lewis encountered was a mother trying to throw her child five metres to safety.

“We realised what she was about to do, you know, throw us the baby and so we had to pull away from her and put some distance between us. Just seeing her face, that heartbreak.”

Mr Lewis said he was aware of about 2,000 refugees who made the perilous journey to the area in the time he was there.

“These boats are the dodgiest. [They are] built like an inflatable boat, with a fake Chinese engine, they all have fake life jackets on.
“These people make the journey because they think it’s better than being on land, and that says everything to you [about] their situation, to try to get to freedom, because it’s a better option than anywhere else.”

Mr Lewis ran a crowdfunding campaign that’s raised more than $22,000 for a new rescue jet ski for local Greek lifeguards.

This week Greece responded furiously to proposals to modify the Schengen agreement, which would see the country’s borders sealed off from the rest of Europe.

EU interior ministers meeting in Amsterdam on Monday discussed moving the southern frontier of the passport-free travel zone, which includes most of the EU, to the north, and deploying joint police forces along the FYROM-Greece border.

European states are increasingly putting pressure on Greece to do more to limit the influx of migrants into Europe.

Greece’s migration minister Ioannis Mouzalas denounced the plans, calling it an “experiment” that would turn Greece into a “cemetery of souls”.

Source: ABC/Newsweek

Pep Guardiola is gone so is it Louis van Gaal, Ryan Giggs or Jose Mourinho for Manchester United?


Manchester United had been expecting to see their rivals Manchester City win the race to get Pep Guardiola as their new manager, but the confirmation intensifies the debate over which man should be tasked with taking him on. We take a look at the Old Trafford options now…

It wasn’t so long ago that City were seen as the noisy neighbours with their statement signings. They were the ones being slapped down by Sir Alex Ferguson as he stepped in to ensure that Dimitar Berbatov made his way to United instead. Winning those power plays wasn’t so easy for City.

In 2016, that landscape has changed. The acquisition of Pep Guardiola, smoothly done with the acquiescence of Manuel Pellegrini, means City are now making their high-profile upgrades from a position of strength and it’s United left scrambling to keep up.