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Multicultural Perrotis College Team Cooks in Turkey

The Educational Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) is part of the European Commission. The EACEA organizes various youth activities, or programs, across Europe. It addresses these programs as, so called, actions. Each one of these actions is divided furthermore in sub-actions. The Youth Exchange project is a sub-Action of the Youth in action program. The main goal of the Youth Exchange project is to offer a unique opportunity to the groups of young people, who are from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, to meet and learn about each other’s cultures, as well as to live and work in an international group-setting for a certain interval of time.

One of the activities organized by the Youth Exchange project was the Cooking Cultures event that took place in March, 2012, in Eceabat, Turkey. It encompassed groups of individuals from six different countries: Turkey, Greece, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic and Latvia. Participants’ age ranged from 20 to 25 years old and the entire event lasted for eight days. Each group had four participants and a team leader, a total of five individuals per group.

The Greek group was the only multicultural group that participated at this project – two members from Greece, two from Albania and one from Romania. All the other groups had members from the same country. The five members of the Greek group were: Rodica Arpasanu, Anna Tintzoglidou, Sheme Llodos, Irilda Popofski and Kostas Kallitsis, all students at Perrotis College. First of all, Rodica Arpasanu is from Romania and she is in the last semester of her studies. She studies International Business, which is a division of the International Agribusiness Management pathway. Apart from that, Rodica is working as a research assistant for the Dean. Secondly, Anna Tintzoglidou is from Greece. She is also at the last semester of her studies. Her specialization is Marketing Management for the Food Industry, which is a division of the International Business pathway. Anna also works as an assistant at the Office of Institutional Advancement at the American Farm School. Thirdly, Sheme Llodos is from Albania and she is in the last year of her studies just like Anna and Rodica. She is studying Precision Agriculture which is a division of the Environmental System Management program. Sheme also helps with any kind of projects related to agriculture and she is a very environmentally-conscious person. Furthermore, Irilda Popofski is also from Albania and she is in the second year of her studies. She wants to follow the Marketing Management for the Food Industry degree. Last but not least, Kostas Kalitsis is the second Greek individual of this group. He is also in his second year of his studies and his interests are in Precision Agriculture.  

Each day two of the groups had to prepare a meal. One of the groups would cook for lunch whereas the other would prepare dinner. The Greek group cooked a delicious meal for lunch. All the members of the group were engaged in the preparing process. Some would cut, some would peal, some would wash, but everyone was directly involved in the entire process. The meal was served on two put-together tables where the food, including dessert, was prepared. Cooking was not the only fun-activity of this part of the program. Every time before the two designated groups would engage in their “magical” cooking endeavor, everyone would gather around in the same room and play some fun games. Not only did the games help meet and get to know one another but they were also a “warm up” for the cooking time. Everyone wanted their meal to taste delicious and be perfect so there was a lot of tension and anxiety amongst members. The games helped get rid of that anxiety and relax and simply perceive all of this in a different view – as a fun activity.

Additionally, each group had a dedicated evening when members of each group would introduce themselves and tell a little bit about their backgrounds and experiences, followed by complimentary appetizers. This evening was called “Cultural night”. Basically, every night was a cultural night due to the number of groups that participated in the program. Members would discuss their origins, their educational background, how they found out about the program and other information. We, the representatives of the Greek group, introduced ourselves, provided some personal information on each individual of the group and presented Perrotis College. In addition to the curriculum offered at Perrotis College, we provided information on some of the activities, organizations, products, events and social life during our academic year. To conclude our discussion and presentation on Perrotis College, we offered traditional Greek foods (stuffed cabbage, “sweet in a teaspoon”, the American Farm School tsipouro and hilopites). But, the climax of the program was our trip to Troya and Canakale where we were honored to enjoy the beautiful scenery and rich history of both cities.

The program not only helped us create good friendships with people from all over Europe, but it also helped us to better understand and appreciate our own culture. We realized the importance and intrinsic value of what culture actually means to people, to us. It defines who we are. We are very grateful for this unique experience and would definitely embark on a similar journey if we were given the opportunity.

Anna Tintzoglidou
Perrotis College Class of 2012

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