Language is the passport for the integration of refugee children in their new life in Greece
Kim, Joy and Nagham have been in Greece for a few years now and thanks to their efforts and the preparation courses they took at the ELIX Study and Creative Employment Centre they managed to pass the Greek language exams.
For refugees living in Greece, learning the Greek language is a very important step for a smooth adaptation to their new life.
Knowing the great importance of knowing Greek, Kim, Joy and Nagham did their best and managed to successfully pass the exams and get the first and second level of the Greek language certificate, making their parents and, most importantly, themselves very proud.
The key to their success was their personal effort and willingness to succeed, as well as the significant help they received through the preparation courses held at the ELIX Study and Creative Engagement Centre in Patission*. The aim of those courses is to prepare the children to the maximum extent possible to learn Greek and to succeed in the Greek language examinations, giving them the passport to a better future in the country.
"I feel very happy," says 16-year-old Joy, who came from Nigeria four years ago, confessing that she sometimes doesn't understand the lessons very well, especially when expressed in a difficult language.
"Fortunately, I have friends in and out of school who help me with Greek. I also think it's okay to make mistakes. That way, I can learn," she says.
17-year-old Kim, who also came from Nigeria in 2018 and now lives in Greece, faces similar difficulties. "Sometimes I have a hard time with the language when, for example, chatting with my peers," she says, while expressing her joy for the positive result she achieved in the Greek language exam she took.
18-year-old Nagham, who came to Greece from Syria three years ago, feels equally happy, as one of her main motivations for attending the classes at ELIX and participating in the exams was to obtain a language certificate. As she says, "it might help me both to find a job in the future and to officially prove that I know the Greek language in case I am abroad."
Nagham has been attending the preparation classes for two years and her ultimate goal is to pass the national exams and get into university.
"My life in Greece is very, very nice. I want to continue living here, but at the same time I think that it would be better to continue my studies abroad because we will have more help there as refugees," she says.
The Greek Language courses that Kim, Joy and Nagham participated in, are led by ELIX and entail individualized instruction and support for students, practice on previous exam topics as well as all language skills tested, such as comprehension and production of written and spoken language.
As Joy reports, the preparation classes helped her to improve her reading and comprehension skills, while Joy and Nagham state that they helped them to improve their spoken and written language respectively.
Despite the difficulties they encountered during the test, due to the limited time available, the girls not only succeeded but feel eager and ready to continue with the next level of Greek language exam - both to obtain the diploma and to achieve their own personal goals and ambitions.
When we ask them what they would say to encourage other children who are learning Greek and preparing for the exams, they tell us:
"Don't give up! You have to study and work hard!" says Kim.
Joy stresses that “you have to try if you want to achieve something important and serious!"
Finally Nagham wraps up our conversation by saying:
"Don't say that something is hard and that you can't do it. It's enough to try. And if you don't succeed, you will try again until you succeed...".
*The preparation courses for the Greek Language Certificate are held at ELIX's Study and Creative Employment Centre in Patission and take place in the framework of the programme 'All Children in Education', implemented by ELIX with the support of UNICEF and co-funded by the EU.