Greece, Service and Refugee
- Tuesday, October 23, 11:15 am, Cedar Rapids, Linn 1152
- Thursday, October 25, 11:15 am, Iowa City Campus, Room 205
The Course: SOC-115 Social Problems
You will begin with predeparture course meetings in the United States before you travel to Greece. The social problems course will help you recognize local and international social problems contributing to and arising from the Syrian refugee crisis in Greece and, more broadly, the EU, including origins of the crisis, factors exacerbating the crisis for the refugees, themselves, as well as how the displacement is affecting Greece as the host country.
The Crisis: Since 2015 more than one million refugees, fleeing war, persecution, natural disasters, and poverty, have traveled to Greece in search of safety and a dignified life in Europe. Lacking safe and legal alternatives, they put their lives in the hands of smugglers and risk everything during perilous sea and land crossings. In 2016, a series of international political policies have limited immigration out of Greece and consequently, more than 60,000 people are currently trapped, scattered across detention centers, abandoned buildings, and makeshift camps. Substandard living conditions and lack of adequate food, medical care, and information have heightened anxiety, depression, and uncertainty, but you can help.
The Service: This program is planned in partnership with Cross Cultural Solutions (CCS) a non-profit volunteer organization with locations around the world. Student volunteers will work at the Ritsona refugee camp’s distribution center, a critical dispensary of milk, hygiene products, and clothing. The Ritsona camp is one of the largest refugee camps in Greece with more families coming every day. Over the last year, many international organizations have pulled aid even though the need has never been greater. CCS volunteers, supported by the local team, operate the distribution center and help families meet basic needs. This is your opportunity to fulfill fundamental human rights for refugees with compassion, dignity, and humanity.
Located at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and Asia, Greece boasts the longest coastline of the Mediterranean Basin and 227 inhabited islands. The birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature, historiography, political science, and major scientific and mathematical principles, the country retains world-renowned landmarks and historical sites to explore. Your home base in Greece is the town of Chalkida, a welcoming town filled with small shops, museums, and historical sites. The town enjoys a promenade, delicious authentic Greek restaurants, and a nearby beach within driving distance. In your free time you can you can take in Greek culture on pedestrian boardwalks or take in a Greek sunset along the waterfront. You will find opportunities to immerse yourself in Greek life as you straddle two cultures between the town of Chalkida and the
nearby refugee camps where you will volunteer.
- Service-learning experience with Syrian refugees working alongside non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
- Gain a deeper understanding of the lives and experiences of the world and Iowa’s refugee population
- Explore the beauty and culture of Greece during your free time
- Included Athens weekend excursion