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The home of Greek language and culture in Sofia

01 May 2013 / 09:05:55  GRReporter
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GRReporter is mainly aimed at being a place that provides a space for the meeting of two cultures and a means of communication and understanding of the Bulgarians and Greeks. It's nice when we meet a fellow-thinker, such as Petya Zagorcheva, founder of Aristea - Centre for Greek Language and Culture.

Meet Petya

She is only 29. Her name is Petya Zagorcheva and she grew up in Bourgas. Petya’s life is divided between two things she loves - teaching Greek language and culture, and collecting and playing music: two seemingly incompatible things, but according to Petya they are alike. Ever since the 4th grade, Petya has fallen for the rhythms of hip-hop, soul and funk music. She re-recorded audio tapes and sought and compiled songs. Later, she learned a lot about this culture and met the most popular bands and DJs in Bulgaria, as well as guest artists from abroad. She started playing music in one of the most colourful places in Sofia and later in Athens, and even on the island of Crete. Petya’s hobby became her job, when she decided to organise hip-hop concerts in Bulgaria on her own. Her efforts were successful, but she said: "To me, my friends and fans’ smiles are the most important thing; I do not care about money". Therefore, she focused on a different area without stopping playing music at parties. Petya has a degree in Modern Greek philology – she graduated from university with honours and started teaching in private schools, later in Athens, and today at Sofia University. Her development as a teacher proved to be as successful as that in the music industry. Petya said that teaching and playing music are quite similar: "You should always have a plan and method of action, select an appropriate task/song for everybody, diversify and keep an eye open for reactions and objections." Creative and acting as a stimulant for young minds, Petya combines the power of her young and fiery spirit, ambition, relentless optimism, effort and desire to make more dreams come true, not just her own.

Aristea - "a meeting point" ("το στέκι μας") for people and ideas

The Centre’s name combines the root of "distinction" and "courage" which is found in well-known names such as Aristotle, Aristophanes, or words like "aristocracy." Students in language schools know what "Άριστα" is, since they have all received at least one "excellent" mark.

"According to the common vision of Hellenist linguists, the same root is also found in ἀρέσκω (μου αρέσει) - "I like", from where the Bulgarian word "(х)аресвам" comes, too, " explained Dr. Dimitar Iliev, professor of Greek language at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski.

Are you intrigued? Aristea’s goal is teaching Greek (but also Bulgarian to Greek-speaking students) in a pleasant and enjoyable way. The methodology relies on people's ability to learn from each other! "I believe that when one studies a foreign language, a new world opens before them, and, as a consequence, they start seeing their own world differently as well. That's why the motto of Aristea - Centre for Greek Language and Culture is "Know your neighbours in order to love them!" And why not "Know your neighbours, in order to love yourself!" said Petya. The goal is to shorten the distance between the two neighbouring countries and maintain excellent intercultural communication. The goal of Aristea is to provide high quality training in Greek and Bulgarian, free access to the channel for sharing and obtaining different types of information related to Greece, as well as organising a variety of interesting activities for people who are studying Greek in whatever way, or who are interested in our southern neighbour.

Mediterranean recipes

Petya told me that they often gather and prepare traditional Greek dishes. We hope to begin a joint column and provide you with recipes of the most delicious dishes, so that each of you, our readers, could enjoy Mediterranean cuisine in your home and share it with friends and family.

Aristea’s Library

Aristea’s Library has opened its doors for all inquisitive readers who are interested in Greece. You can borrow a book to read at home, or use the materials available in the library for the preparation of papers, projects and theses, etc. There is also a large collection of DVDs, which you can borrow. Here is a list of the books in the library.

A fun break

Chat of the day: "Κάνω ό, τι μου κανπνίσει" - "I do what I smoke?" Yeah right, the literal translation is something like that. I hope the picture won’t mislead you - it's not like the Bulgarian "smoke". Greeks have another meaning: "Κάνω ό, τι μου κανπνίσει" actually means "to follow one's fancy". Well, sometimes it’s not a bad idea, right?

Joke of the day:

A conversation between two blondes:

"And what made the biggest impression on you in Venice?"

"The Venetians - strange people, their city has been flooded, but they are singing!"

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