On a college campus, the term ‘Greek’ can mean several things. Students at UC Irvine may associate the word with the pretty people with huge wooden letters and matching sweatshirts who seem to like camping and barbequing on Ring Road. For others, the word Greek conjures up images of tiny togas, mythical creatures and tragedies performed in outdoor theaters.
However, in the past few years, a new connotation has come to be associated with the word. Thanks to high profile publicity, like the movie ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding,’ the 2004 Summer Olympics and Paris Latsis, Paris Hilton’s ex-fiance, it has become increasingly clear that Greece is actually a country.
Located in the Mediterranean Sea, or more precisely, the Aegean and Ionian Seas, Greece is a modern country of approximately 11 million people. In fact, Athens, its capital city, even has a smog problem. It is one of the most mountainous nations in Europe, and is host to several beautiful islands, which are a top choice for European vacationers. Greece is also a member of the European Union and uses the Euro as its currency, making it a strong member of the largest international organization in the modern world.
Surprisingly enough, there are a few ethnically Greek students on the UCI campus, and their ties to their heritage are often strong.
Jenny Kantzavelos, a first-year undecided/undeclared student at UCI, has grown up deeply connected to her Greek community. Specifically, she has been a member of a Greek folk dance group called Levendia for more than a decade.
‘It’s based out of St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church, in Anaheim,’ Kantzavelos explained.
And her decade of dancing has not been unrewarded. ‘We toured all over Greece [last summer] performing at all these different villages.