Job shadowing in Greece
Host Organization: Association of Active Youths of Florina – Greece
Job-Shadower: Maria Conceição de Morais Santos (Cooperbom Turismo) – Brazil
SEEDS Project allows not only sharing experiences through training courses but learning from the organizations through Job shadowing which is a useful activity to explore how the organizations work. By spending time with the team it is possible to observe all surrounding interactions which provide more insight than just reading a job description or asking someone to describe what they do at the organization.
While on job shadowing, it is also possible to ask questions and experience the activities and know about new projects ongoing and normal day-to-day activities.
The job shadowing is certainly an amazing opportunity for the participant to experience and learn the necessary social cooperation among organizations for standard operating procedures in the field of social economy and entrepreneurship, and the skills that are needed to perform the job and be successful in the projects for the communities. Through this exposure, the participant becomes able to gain insight into the field of social economy and entrepreneurship best practices, It is an important activity for shaping the future success of the organization and for his/her professional life.
The present report describes the job shadowing that took place in Florina and Thessaloniki (Greece) and Bitola (FYROM) from 20-26 of September, 2015, which provided the opportunity to visit Educational Institutions (primary schools and universities) with specific organizational concepts to promote high quality in teaching and learning common disciplines and/or social economy and entrepreneurship programmes, also NGOs and social enterprises with the concepts described.It was important to understand how the Greek education works from the primary school to the university and how the Greek NGOs work and the operating procedures as well.
Day 1– Visit to the 1st School of Nea Magnisia- Thessaloniki
The 1st School of Nea Magnisia is a primary school where I could learn about the history and its importance in the context of the local community. I also had the opportunity to learn about the election process in Greece ongoing that day.
Day 2– Arrival in Florina
It was arranged to meet briefly with the greek team in order to adjust the schedule and procedures for the activities during the job shadowing week according to the timetable of each organization and perspectives.
Day 3– Visit to the University of Western Macedonia– UOWM
The University of Western Macedonia is a multi-campus university based in Northwestern Greece (Florina), established in 2004 by four departments that had previously formed part of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and holds one of the three most important primary education department in Greece. The Department grants a degree, which gives the holder the opportunity to be appointed as a teacher in primary schools.
A group of students future teachers was asked about their impression on the course and they are totally committed with their passion and the opportunity to become a teacher of primary schools. However, they are aware of the bad conditions of the structure of the building where the University works and keep their focus on the excellence of the course and their passion for the primary education.
Interesting the conceptual method of making books at the Art Department headed by Professor Efthimia (Efi) Papageorgiou who is responsible for the Laboratory of Education on the Book, working on the handmade book project, an interesting method of creativity and developiment of students skills.
Day 3- The Pontian Association of Florina (Εfksinos Leschi Florinas) and The Association of Pontian Students of Florina (Sillogos Pontion Fititon Florinas)
At the Association of Pontians in Florina (Εfksinos Leschi Florinas), I had a meeting with the President Mr. Tasos Antoniadis and Vasileia Mavridou, President of Association of Pontian Students of Florina (Sillogos Pontion Fititon Florinas). The Association of Pontians in Florina represents the Pontian Greek People, they were very kind and I was motivated to ask questions about the Pontian Greek – group who traditionally lived in the region of Pontus on the shores of the Black Sea and in the Pontic Alps of northeastern Anatolia- an their history. Pontian Greeks haveGreek ancestry and speak the Pontic Greek dialect, a distinct form of the standard Greek Language which, due to the remoteness of Pontus. The group has undergone linguistic evolution distinct from that of the rest of the Greek world.
The Pontic Greeks had a continuous presence in all the region of Pontus (modern-day called northeastern Turkey), Georgia, and Easter Anatolia from at least 700 BC until 1922.
Day 4– Interview at the local Radio of Florina and the Visit to the 5th Primary School of Florina
I arrived at the local Radio Station EPT Florina at 10:50am to the interview by Sofia Zouzele under her invitation. She asked me about my activities in the Job-shadowing, my impressions on the working I was doing there, the Seeds Project and its goals. The interview was held live at 11am, local time. At that moment I could realize the importance of disseminating the project in the community through the Radio and how far could it reach.
An amazing visit was held at the 5th Primary School of Florina where I was welcome by Mrs. Voula Golia (teacher and principal) and Mrs. Gianna Panagiotopoulo (English teacher). The pupils aged 10 to 12 years old were very smart and addressed me lots of questions about my work, the project and of course, Brazilian culture, mainly football and players. I could explain a little of Brazil’s geography in the context of Biodiversity, pointing the Atlantic forest on the map that was on the wall of the classroom. I was surprised because when they asked about my hometown, I could find it on that map written ”in greek”, a happy surprise for all of us. The 5th Primary School is located in the north part of Florina and it has a history of more than 80 years as a public Primary School, receiving funding from the government, following all the criteria in every aspect. The schooling ages from 6 to 12 years old and the school has a total of 130 students and 20 teachers. Special attention is due to students with special educational needs and the immigrants also receive it.
The School is committed with many projects and one very interesting funded with support from the European Commission is the project ”People who Changed and Shaped of World” from which the English Teacher Gianna Panagiotopoulou gave me one booklet sample of the final result ”Taking Over – The Greek Kitchen” the Visual Art school project. According to the teacher, the project is Part of Comenius Multilateral School Project carried out by 6 schools from Turkey, Poland, Spain, Bulgaria, Greece and the UK. Focused on great people who changed and shaped our world throughout history. The project Visual Arts activities held between 2013 and 2015 in Florina Region (Greece) and Dobele Region (Latvia) partners in both region, working together to improve the quality of primary education, exchanging mutual experience and adopting good practices in the field of local art education and task-based learning. In this project, art is viewed as an integral part of the community life, focusing on the local artists of Florina and Dobele, revealing the social reconstruction practices, involving students with different cultural background toward equal opportunities to education and incorporating them as part active of the local society.
These European partnerships are different. Comenius is a program between European Schools and Comenius Regio is a cooperation between two European educational authorities.
Day 5– Visit to the NGO Sfera Macedonia (FYROM)– Bitola
Association Young Volunteers Firefighters SFERA – Bitola, first was a project in the Association for Preventive Work with Children, Youth and their families, in July 2009 the project became an independent NGO – Association. The Youth Club/Brigade became one of the biggest voluntary organization in Bitola with 167 volunteers working with teams on different local and international projects.
NGO Sfera Macedonia works on projects funded by the European Commission like “Youth in Action”, working on youth exchanging, training, seminars and EVS (European Voluntary Service). The general goal of this NGO is through non formal methods to educate the population in FYR Macedonia about the protection of the environment, cultural and natural heritage, with the purpose to raise the awareness of all age groups about the importance of healthy lifestyle and the benefits that come with it. From 20-28 of September 2015, they were working on the project ”Upcycle 4 Better Lifecycle” and I had the opportunity to talk to some of the 40 participants, young people from eight different countries – Serbia, Czech Republic, Turkey, Croatia, Romania, FYR Macedonia, Hungary and Spain. According to Katerina Popovska (project coordinator) and Milcho Duli (president), the participants were talking, learning and sharing about upcycling, waste management, how to re-use not so unnecessary stuff and also how to get to selfemployment. The project was organized by the informal group ActiTmel Network Initiative from Czech Republic, hosting by NGO Sfera Macedonia and funded through Erasmus+.
One of the most interesting part of the project and also the main goal was to gather young people from different nationalities, backgrounds and experience, sharing and collecting life-changing ideas into a very important life-changing and environmental challenged project, with most of the activities being outside. In such experience they could feel the real change that they could provide in their realities.
I also could take part of one session where I made some handcraft together with them. It was really amazing!
Day 6– Visit to Aisec Organization at the University of Macedonia- CampusThessaloniki
The visit to the Aiesec Organization was profitable and I could learn more about the work of that NGO which is located in 5 continents in 106 countries, at over 1,100 universities, with 30,000 members worldwide. In the office which is located into the University of Macedonia, campus Thessaloniki, in the economics department, I met students volunteers who told me about how the Aiesec Organization works.
The Network of Aiesec is spreading in Greece through the following universities:
Athens University of Economics
University of Piraeus
University of Athens
University of Macedonia
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
University of the Aegean
Aiesec is the world’s largest, independent, non-partisan, non-profit, volunteer, student organization and is an international platform for young people to discover
and develop their potential. AIESEC offers unparalleled experiences in developing leadership skills to its members, creating an international network of agents of change in order to bring a positive impact on society. AIESEC operates over 4000 exchanges per year worldwide, giving opportunity to young people to live a unique experience working abroad through the International Practical Training Program. Simultaneously, organizes over 350 conferences and provides over 5,000 leadership positions within the organization, thus contributing to the development of the members, enabling even more people to take initiatives and act through the Agency. The activity of AIESEC is the Programme for International Practical Training. Basically, it is the possibility for students and recent graduates to live and work in one of the 100 countries that make up the network of AIESEC, for a period from 2 months to 1 ½ year, by participating in the program, the students get to know the culture and lifestyle of the country, Contact with people with different cultures and Practical application of theoretical knowledge. The AIESEC organization was founded in 1948 and is based in Greece since 1956.
Day 6- WE in Thessaloniki
“WE” was an initiative of young people active in the fields of action sports and culture. According to Athanasios Krezios, Founder and CEO of Alpika S.A and WE, it is a multi-space for promoting sports and cultural activities in an old warehouse for the army which had been out of operation for more than 8 years, it was rehabilitated and open in may 2015, a place where there is one large room, no walls, a cafeteria and a stage for events, totally connected. The crew’s philosophy is to create a space where culture and sports feeds each other. It is an interesting space for enthusiasts, with a ski simulator, a boulder wall for climbing, a BMX and a skate field and now is ready for people of Thessaloniki for their spare time having Kirko as partner at the same space, performing and teaching circus techniques tailored not only for kids but also for adults.
Day 6- Kirko in Thessaloniki
“Kirko” is a social cooperative on the field of services. It has 5 board members and works at the same space of WE organization. It coordinates and organizes activities aiming at giving the opportunity to children and adults to get acquainted with the “secrets” of artistic circus. Well-experienced circus and street theater artists help them practice and discover the magic of circus. The idea came on 2013 but the statutes date is on 24 February 2015.
At Kirkos, children and adults can experiment in mixed circus techniques like hula hoop, juggling and also in balancing techniques such as stilt walking, unicycle, Rolla Bolla and other activities.
Day 7- Lampsi NGO Organization for Children with Cancer
Lampsi Organization was founded in 1987 (under Decision 1364/1987 of the Court of Thessaloniki) from parents whose children were infected by neoplastic disease and is based on the voluntary work of its members and to support awareness among citizens, professionals and organizations. An amendment to the statute, which became the 4238/1-11-2012 Court of Thessaloniki, the club was renamed “The Sparkle Association – Parents Of Children with Diseases Neoplasmatikes Northern Greece”.
Visiting the Lampsi Organization, I could realize the difference that a group of parents engaged for a cause can do for children with cancer disease in Greece. Based in Thessaloniki. According to Kiki Polixronidou who has been working for two years at the organization, all the members are the parents of children who are ill or became ill from neoplastic disease.
Day 7- Anna Lindh Foundation Hellas (ALF)- National Network Meeting 2015
On the 26th of September, the Greek National Network Meeting of Anna-Lindh Foundation (ALF) took place at the Vergina Hotel in Thessaloniki in which the Association of Active Youths of Florina, my host organization, was taking part as a partner participant.
The Anna Lindh Foundation is an inter-governmental institution whose purpose is bringing together civil society and citizens across the Mediterranean to build trust and improve mutual understanding, co-financed by the 42 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean and the European Commission, governed by a Board of Governors composed by representatives of those countries. The organization runs the largest Network of civil society organizations involved in the promotion of intercultural dialogue across Europe and the Mediterranean. The organization supports diverse projects in the field of Education, Culture and Media.
Job Shadowing has revealed to me as an interesting interchanging of experiences and best practices of working of the organizations in Greece.
Job shadowing is a very useful activity that allowed me to explore the best practices of working of the organizations visited by spending time with people committed with the purpose of social economy and social entrepreneurship and using non-formal education as a tool that provides more insight and acknowledgement than formal education preparing community to work field.
While job shadowing, I was able to ask questions and experience the trials, triumphs, small nuances, and normal day-to-day activities while visiting the Greek NGOs and Educational Institutions. Also I got a broader look at the organizations, as well as their people and job functions.
I also was able to experience and learn more on how the project leaders approach the work, the necessary social cooperation, operating procedures in a standard way, and the tools that are needed to perform the projects by having an inside look into the NGOs and Educational Institutions in a dynamic way.
I had a great and satisfied job shadowing experience with potential benefits for my organization and for my own professional life in the field of social economy, social entrepreneurship and non-formal education.