jeudi 14 juillet 2011

Des étudiants grecs témoignent, avec clairvoyance et honnêteté, de certains problèmes dans les mentalités grecques

Greece’s young seek better life abroad
Thursday, 14 July 2011 07:42

The Greek economic crisis is forcing young people to move away from home and get married later in life.

GREEK students Dimitris Sannas and Elisavet Doulia take only a second to answer a question on the future prospects of their homeland:

“Bleak, frighteningly bleak. All of my friends want to go abroad. Greece’s fat years are behind her and it’s all downhill from here,” Doulia says.

Doulia, who studied communications, has applied to a master’s programme in art history at an English university. She will pack her bags in September. She says that she is tired of the fact that in Greece, finding work depends on knowing the right people.

“And the problem isn’t just that there’s no work here. I don’t like the mentality of Greeks. People are used to swindling here and to an all-too-easy life. There are government officials who don’t even go to work but still collect a pay cheque.”

Sannas, who has lived in Finland for three years and studied social work, feels similarly. He says that it was easy to find an internship position in Athens, but permanent positions are few and far between. A move abroad, preferably to Britain, seems inevitable.

“Greeks have been emigrating for decades now. This country doesn’t give its young people a chance. The older generations are afraid of new ideas, they want to protect their own jobs,” he laments.

Longer at home

Bachelor’s studies and schoolbooks are free for Greek students. But recently professors have begun to request payment for study materials. The government does not offer financial aid to students, so they generally live at home with their parents until they graduate. Sannas says that the economic crisis has forced young people to put off flying the nest even further.

“Young people don’t dare to get married or start a family. It’s impossible to live alone in Athens on current salary levels. The rents are insane.”

Doulia explains that Greek parents put aside savings for their children’s education. Although teaching is free in principle, in practice parents have to pay for language courses during primary school in order to pass the secondary school entrance exams.

“Now the government is planning to privatise universities in order to make studying a business. It will take this country further in the direction of inequality,” Sannas adds.

For him the most important incentive for moving to Finland was the tuition-free master’s degree. He felt at home in Tampere and would be happy to return to Finland if finding work did not require flawless Finnish.

Police lethargic

Sannas and Doulia agree that if Greece is to survive its current economic malaise, it will need to change all the way down to its grass roots. Corruption must no longer be accepted.

“We have no controls. People can evade taxes quite freely and the police don’t lift a finger,” says Sannas.

He is angry that the middle class is once again forced to pay for the mistakes of Greek politicians. The country’s rich survive unscathed because they bribe decision-makers.

“Politicians should open their purse strings and do their part for the good of the country.”

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