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    Posted June 17, 2012 by
    Athens, Greece
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    What does it mean to be Greek?

    More from IKoutakis

    Is it because I am Greek? Racism Greeks face in European educational institutions


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     IKoutakis says Greeks are now facing certain prejudices in light of their country's economic condition. 'I think that Greece has never truly been in good terms with certain European countries, and the crisis is a manifestation of more exposed feelings towards Greeks,' she says. Greece's elections for prime minister were held on June 17, she does not have much faith in the political candidates in office. 'I think the candidates are extremely tiresome and uninspiring. The only way the economic state of Greece may change, is if we have candidates who are not out there for their personal interest, but rather candidates who can gain the trust of the nation,' she says.
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    Those I have worked with consider me to be overqualified for the Greek market. Hence last year, I decided to pursue my PhD elsewhere. A friend in the US mentioned a program in Switzerland that seemed perfect for my academic path. He had already been accepted. When I asked them for information pertaining to the same program, only giving them my nationality details, they said they had no such program in their school. I told them about my friend and they never replied. I then began applying to universities in the UK. When applying for a scholarship, my adviser agreed with the many positive responses pertaining to my research that was focused on ways that Greece may solve her problems. He told me to present half of my work to the board and claimed there would be another deadline...but there was not. During this time, friends who have already left the country and have sought new homes in other European countries would inform me that they had a very difficult time finding homes to rent, as people refused them due to their nationality. One friend in particular claimed that he was willing to pay six months in advance, but the landlord looked at his passport and back at him and said, "Sorry, no". When I apply for jobs abroad, I do not mention my nationality and they show interest. When they ask where I am from, they claim the position has been filled. The situation in Greece has not proven to be kind either, given that as a Historian/International Relations analyst, there are not many positions available, especially since I graduated from American universities, and not the national public universities of the country, another disadvantage in their eyes. The financial stress of all the above led me to miss my flight back home last week due to a heart episode clearly related to stress. The question is, we can't stay here, we are contained in our country, so what should we do? It is with much disappointment that I see many universities do not provide Greek history departments, and Greece needs to firmly take a stand about the educational values it has provided in an international sense, in History, Philosophy, Medicine, Science etc. Stastics have shown that Cypriot and Greek students are the greatest number in institutions of the UK. In effect, as long as we pay a university it seems that we are accepted, but if we apply for a scholarship, then we are seen as the Greeks who want money. Most of my acquaintances are without hope, frustrated, worried, stressed and confused. They are wondering why they are being punished when all they did was keep their head down during their college years and do what they were told. I was a top graduate and today have never felt more uncertain about my future. I am not only a Greek citizen, but a South African citizen at that, which makes things even harder. In Greece I am not Greek enough, and abroad I am 'too' Greek.
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