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Kamila Kolasa

International Co-op Assistant
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Marketing

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Greece
Great Greek food is based on succulent combinations of unique but basic fresh ingredients, spices and fresh olive oil.

International Co-op Student Experience

“WOW is all I can say about this experience. It's funny because I was essentially completely unqualified for the job - at least that's what I thought until my supervisor said: ‘Actually, you're extremely qualified as you have a very good attitude and are willing to learn’."

“So, take that as some advice. If there was one thing I learned, it is to never underestimate your capabilities - if you have the right mind set then almost anything is possible to achieve.”

- John Grant, Communication Alumni Employer: NBC Olympics, Athens 2004 Olympic Games, Greece

Intro

It is considered Mother of western civilization as well as the birthplace of the Olympic Games, philosophy, democracy and delicious food. Greece. Thousands of years of history are preserved in her culture, traditions, architecture, art, language and food. Greece is a smaller EU country located in the south of Europe, on the Mediterranean Sea. This location provides all of Greece with similar weather with little change. It has a subtropical or Mediterranean climate which means the summers are long, hot and dry and is usually rain-free for three to four months. The winter is the wettest season with little or no snow. Greece’s geographic location also accounts for its culture which is a combination of Western and Eastern characteristics.

Greece is not only a land of beauty and sparkling turquoise waters, small picturesque bays and villages, covered by mountains and fields of olive trees, with relaxed and hospitable individuals who enjoy celebrating everyday life with delicious food and great traditions... But with a population of 10,722,816 people, Greece is a continually growing and expanding country with a ravishing mix of the old and new.

Interesting Facts

  • The official name for Greece is Hellenic Republic

  • Athens is the capital an d Mount Olympus is the highest mountain

  • Greece is a religious country: 98% Greek Orthodox and 1.3% Muslim and 0.7% other religions

  • 80% of the Greek landscape is composed of mountains

  • There are about 3000 islands in Greece, however only a few hundred are inhabited

  • There are about 63 different folk dances

  • The yo-yo toy originated in Greece about 3,000 years ago

  • $1CDN = 219.232GRD (Greece Drachmae obsolete)

Many Greeks are very superstitious. Superstitions include:

  • The evil eye – it is believed that someone can catch the evil eye from someone else’s jealous compliment of envy. To avoid catching it people may wear a little blue marble glass charm with an eye painted on it

  • Spitting – Greeks believe spitting chases the devil and misfortune away, so when someone is talking about bad news others around him or her spit or say “ftou, ftou, ftou.” Also, if someone compliments a baby, child or an adult for their beauty they have to spit on the complimented person three times

  • “Touch Red” – when two people say something together they immediately say “Piase Kokkino” and have to touch something red. It is believed that saying something at the same time is an omen and that the tow people will get into a fight or argument if they don’t do this.

Traditions

  • What holiday is more important than a birthday? A Name Day. This tradition celebrates a person on the day of their ‘name day’ as listed in the calendar. On this day, friends and family visit the person without notice, offering best wishes and small presents. This day is more important than a birthday!

  • Another tradition is called “Apokries.” This is a two week feast, beginning from the Sunday of Meat Fare and ending at the start of Lent, called “Kathari Deutera” or Clean Monday. People dress up and celebrate in the streets and bars.

  • Easter is the most important celebration, even more than Christmas. During this time the Greeks dye eggs red and godparents buy new shoes, clothes and a candle for kids and newborns. Streets and the exteriors of houses are whitewashed and the tomb of Christ is decorated with thousands of flowers and taken out of the church and carried throughout the village or neighbourhood toward the cemetery for a procession. Easter Sunday is a special day for families and is accompanied with a lot of roasted lamb and wine.

Food 411

Great Greek food is based on succulent combinations of unique but basic fresh ingredients, spices and fresh olive oil. Recipes for traditional Greek food have been handed down from generation to generation and are based on the tradition of sharing.

  • Olive Oil – an ancient tradition and present in most dishes!

  • Dolmades – grapevine leaves stuffed with rice and vegetables, often meat as well

  • Spanakopita – a combination of feta cheese and spinach stuffed in fillo pastry

  • Horiatiki – also known as the “Greek Salad”

  • Moussakka – a dish with layers of ground beef, egg plant, onions, tomatoes and cheese

  • Avgolemono – a Greek version of the classic chicken soup, with rice, lemon juice and egg

  • Gyro – slices of barbecued meat seasoned with fresh herbs and spices and served with tomatoes on a pita bread

  • Tzatziki – dip made from yogurt, cucumber and garlic, used with pita bread or salad

  • Baklava – a popular desert made with layers of fillo pastry, nuts, sugar, syrup, honey and cloves

Beyond the Blog

  • Log onto Going Global – a website resource that aids students in finding work integrated learning all around the world. Here you can meet with people working or studying globally and access different country guides and necessary resources and tools start up your career, future and expand your horizons!

  • Visit the International Co-op website!

  • The International Opportunities Fair is coming up soon! Be sure to register ahead of time

About the Author

Kamila Kolasa

International Co-op Assistant
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Marketing

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