by Raphael Haase
One thing really amazed me about Greece during my last one week trip: They speak English and they’re not arrogant. Frenchies, I am looking at you 😉
(Though I must say that I met some very open and totally not arrogant French couchsurfers in Athens.)
The Greeks that I met seemed a little embarrassed about their country. They were telling me about how bad their education system is. How it essentially is very unjust also as it forces everyone to take private lessons. The Greek students in high school apparently have private teachers for every single of their subjects (maths, foreign languages – and even for their own language!).
Also, it is apparent that most of Greece’s current trouble is caused by a lack of discipline of many people (not working the next day after some soccer games for example) and the fact that the government was not just a little dishonest with their people and the rest of the world. Every government in Europe is at least a little dishonest. Germany in particular likes to abstract away detail from the people. That is a good thing. But past German governments have also hidden away the facts behind their decisions and delayed necessary decision. The Greek government(s) went one step further and just reported entirely wrong numbers about their economy.
Given all that, the Greek are very open and friendly. They honestly welcome foreigners to their country. They speak English very well. Even on the country side.
This is a totally different experience to for example Spain. The Spanish I met always seem to have trouble with other languages (except couchsurfers). Also, it seems ridiculous to me that they really want different languages inside of Spain (Castilian, the real spanish, Catalan and some other fun languages). Come on guys, languages are tools, not ice cream flavors.
All in all it was a really nice experience in Greece and I am glad that we have them in the EU. As I keep insisting: Not having them in the EU would not make things better. Germany is slightly better at managing money, so we should should share the knowledge with them, because we need them as allies and they need us. There is big competition out there.