The Real Thing

I spent two weeks in Ikaria having had the program recommended to me by a colleague. I’m a professor of ancient Greek and so know something both about learning and teaching languages: I thought the course was fantastic. The teaching style was dynamic and thorough. The teachers demanded a lot, but it never felt like too much and this they did always with patience and good humour. Their teaching style was enviable (to me as a teacher of languages) and their commitment to our learning was total. Before attending the course, I had no knowledge of Modern Greek beyond three hours of Pimsleur audio files (which by the way are excellent). In two weeks, we managed to cover almost all aspects of Greek syntax, and were given ample opportunity to practice speaking and writing through interactive exercises that were well conceived and really fun. I spoke a lot, wrote a lot and also laughed a lot. There were also the traditional teaching practices that I really appreciate, like dictation. As for the other students on the course, they were all mature and extremely committed to learning, and very helpful to a beginner. The environment fostered by the school is collaborative and constructive. The activities outside of class were a lot of fun, too, and gave further opportunity to practice speaking Greek. We went on a beautiful hike, visited a unique monastery, cooked a few times, watched a film, sang Greek songs and danced. As for the location, the remoteness of Ikaria is perfect for people who want to hunker down and learn and leaves this beautiful island unspoilt by excessive tourism. I wish I could have done the course longer this year. I would certainly take another course here again and hope to do so next year.