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Two Lander Students Complete Study Abroad Semester in Greece

March 25, 2015
Two Lander University students from Summerville shared a learning experience in Greece last year thanks to the newest addition to the university’s popular Study Abroad program.

Stephanie Conley and Shauna Bailie Fletcher spent the fall 2014 semester studying at the University of the Aegean in Rhodes, one of five universities and learning centers affiliated with Hellenic Studies Paideia. The program is described as offering the most cultural immersion programs in Greece and in any other European country. Classes are taught by Greek faculty members from state universities and institutions in Greece.

Professor of Spanish and Lander’s Study Abroad director Dr. Carlos Mentley likened Paideia to Lander’s international opportunities in Spain and Italy where students experience new languages, customs, food and culture. But, he added, it is unlike other programs because the Greek schools have fewer Americans enrolled.

Fletcher, a sophomore biology major, and Conley, a junior majoring in early childhood education, took a few classes together and the curriculum included courses in Greek language and Greek mythology.

Fletcher described it as a valuable learning experience that taught her to be a better listener, which she said was very important because of language differences. Students in the program are required to attend classes but learning isn’t confined to the classroom. Fletcher and Conley participated in a 10-day study tour of Greece and took advantage of opportunities to travel elsewhere. Fletcher said, “I fell in love with traveling. I met people from all over the world.”

Conley said she really enjoyed the experience because it enabled her to learn a great deal about Greek life and culture. She added, “As a future educator, I think it’s very important to gain as many cultural perspectives as possible to be able to help my students learn to be accepting of people of diverse backgrounds.”

Ilias Tomazos, director of the Center for Hellenic Studies Paideia said the program gives American students the opportunity to study in Greece and connect with 4,000 years of western civilization. Tomazos was very impressed with Conley and Fletcher. He said they were excellent students, adding, “I wish I could have students like Stephanie and Shauna every semester.”