greek youth

The Younger Generation



gather vocation responsible
crisis strategic ingredients
asset promote approach (2)
boost exclusive adjustment
peel give up high-flying
fake allowance get used to
can tell in common phenomena
proud in essence courageous
awful embassy fundamentally
suicide conceal correspondence course
patient face value





Ioanna Kapatou is responsible for gathering together the ingredients before classes begin.

The twenty-year-old wants to become a chef and started attending this vocational school in Athens last year.

But are restaurants a secure place to work in times of crisis?

The young Greek woman is taking a strategic approach.

Ioanna Kapatou: “Our food is a great asset for marketing our country. I mean we have such great food that it’s definitely a resource when it comes to dealing with tourists, when it comes to boosting our economy.

It’s something that Greece should promote because we have food. I mean it’s just up to us to promote it in the right way.”

But first the fruit and vegetables need to be peeled.

All of this is quite an adjustment for Ioanna Kapatou.

Before the euro crisis in 2010, she was at the exclusive American School in Athens.

Then her family lost their money, and Ioanna was forced to give up her high-flying plans of an international career.

Nowadays the beginnings of the euro-crisis seem like a bad dream.

Ioanna: “We were all worried; we didn’t know what was going on. We couldn’t understand because we were very young.

And so we were very uncertain.

I remember money was less. Definitely. We could tell because I had more allowance and everything.

A lot of kids started to go out and work. I did too. I mean I got my first job when I was 15.

And such things didn’t happen Greece . . . these phenomena were new.”

Ioanna has got used to the new Greece. It’s a poor country that has little in common with the land that her parents grew up in.

Ioanna: “I miss the fact that I didn’t grow up in all this wealth and having a good time — all the time.

But in essence I understand now that what they did was fake.

It wasn’t real. I mean it was sort of like they lived a dream, from which they woke up.

And I think it’s harder to get used to the things now if you lived back then.

For me, it’s easier because I grew up this way.”

Home life has changed too. Ioanna lives with her mother now. Her parents got divorced.

Xenia Kapatou works for an embassy and is also a chef.

She says it’s a hard job — not one that she necessarily would want for Ioanna. At the same time, Xenia is also proud of her daughter.

Xenia Kapatou: “Of course, my daughter doesn’t have the same kind of opportunities that we had before the crisis.

But is that really so awful?

If Ioanna had things as easy as I did when I was 20, she and her generation might make exactly the same mistakes as we did back then.”

She hopes that Ioanna’s generation will be able to fundamentally change Greece for the better.

Xenia: “This generation is being forced to see the world more realistically. That’s why they are prepared to take steps that my generation aren’t courageous enough to take.”

That includes not taking things at face value.

In that spirit, Ioanna is doing a correspondence course in statistics at the University of Pareos.

The twenty year old says that figures can tell you a lot.

But also conceal things.

Ioanna: “Whenever you have such a huge crisis in a country, your suicide rates go up. And in Greece so far, no one has ever mentioned suicide rates in Greece.

And using the metro every day, we hear a lot of stories about the suicides that happen, but no one talks about.

On her journey to school each day, Ioanna can see just how much her home city, Athens, is suffering from the ongoing crisis.

There are no quick solutions for unemployment and economic decline.

And yet this first time voter hopes that Alexis Tsipras and the opposition movement Syriza, will be able to change things for the better.

Ioanna: “I don’t think it’s Tsipras, just because it’s Tsipras, I think because it’s anyone new.

We want new people, younger people on the political scene. We want to see something different.

It doesn’t matter nowadays if it’s left or it’s right, ideologically; it’s just different. We want something different.”

Greece’s future is also a frequent topic of conversation at school.

Ioanna has to pay for her vocational training, and wants to make sure she is making the right investment.

Giorgos Makriplidis, Omiros Vocational Training Institute: “It could take another ten years before our labor market is back to normal.

Young people aren’t patient. They have their lives in front of them. I don’t blame them for that.”

Ioanna doesn’t want to wait ten years. In the evening she works as a waitress in this cocktail bar to help pay for her course.

This young woman is certainly doing her bit for her own, and for Greece’s future.

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1. Ioanna is currently training to be a chef. Yes or no? What does she say about Greek cuisine?

2. Has Ioanna’s life changed? How has it changed?

3. “But in essence I understand now that what they did was fake. It wasn’t real. I mean it was sort of like they lived a dream, from which they woke up.” What did she mean?

4. Describe her family life.

5. The young and old generations are different. True or false? How are they different?

6. Ioanna is voting for Tsipras of the Syriza Party mainly for ideological reasons. Is this correct or wrong?

7. Is Giorgos Makriplidis, the director of the vocational institute, optimistic or pessimistic about the future? How does he see the future?

A. Why does Greece have economic difficulties? What is the solution?

B. Is it easy or difficult for young people to find work nowadays?

C. Have the situation changed over the past few years or decades? If yes, how have they changed?

D. There is a generation gap. The younger and older generation is very different. Do you agree?

E. What jobs are in demand in your city or country?

F. Is something (cuisine, cultural, natural, skills) that your country could promote and export?

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