University offers poetry, language and literature

Students of Greek origin put pressure on Macquarie University in Sydney to found an independent Greek studies department in 1997, as Elisavet Kefallinou told Kathimerini. Kefallinou is head of the department, which teaches four years of Modern Greek language, literature and poetry. It’s a flexible system. «A student may do the language course alongside studies in another department. That’s very common, as many third-generation Greeks want to improve their Greek.» That is the case of law student Nikos Lazarou, 22. «I did Greek from primary school to the first year of high school when I stopped it to prepare for university entrance exams. So I’ve got a lots of gaps, especially in pronunciation, since we mainly speak English at home.» Kefallinou uses technology as an aid. «Students can get all the material online whenever they miss class or want to revise.» The numbers are falling, however. «It’s strange, but Ancient Greek is more in demand at the moment in Australia, since it is an elective for those who study ancient history.» «By contrast, there’s limited interest in Modern Greek,» said Kefallinou. «The introduction of tuition fees has put students off. Many of them have to work while they study; learning Greek seems a luxury.»