For Antigoni Vasilopoulou ’15, studying Greek culture and history was personal. When she was 11 years old, she moved with her family to California from Larisa, a city in the Greek state of
Thessaly. At Loyola Marymount University, she majored in psychology, and added a Modern Greek Studies minor after discovering her Greek “home away from home” in the program.
Why did you decide to minor in Modern Greek Studies?
I learned about the program and decided to meet up with Dr. Liappas, who was the head of the department of the time. Since I left Greece after having completed the 5th grade, I never had the chance to study in depth my country’s history, literature, politics, etc. That is something that the program could offer to me – a part of Greece that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, and I was very grateful since not many universities offer Modern Greek Studies programs.
What did you study in the program?
The program offered Greek History and Politics, Literature, Poetry, Greek Orthodoxy (Religion) as well as the Greek Language. Since I came from Greece and was fluent in the language, we decided to incorporate the mandatory language lessons with literature and writing to expand my Greek vocabulary. The professors of the department were very accommodating in helping me incorporate my interests into our weekly lessons.
How did the program’s Modern Greek Studies community impact your experience at LMU?
For me it was one of the best parts of my experience at LMU. I felt very comfortable speaking to the professors, Demetrios Liappas and Christina Bogdanou, about any academic steps I wanted to take. They also advised me on scholarships available through the program, and other opportunities that they thought would be of interest to me. I felt like it was a slice of home since I spoke Greek to them and interacted with them on a daily basis. They also offered me the opportunity to do my work study hours with them which was great. Being a commuter, it was difficult to get involved in clubs at the university – but the Greek Studies program offered me so much more.
What you are you doing now, and what are your professional goals?
Currently I’m working and paying off loans as well as saving up money for my master’s degree which I will start applying for this fall. I still work at my church’s Greek School which I also did during my time at LMU. I teach the Greek language to young children of ages 7-12 – the next generation of Greeks in America!