By Ioannis Kalimeris ’22 (Athens, Greece, placed by American Councils in Sauk City, Wisconsin)
The FLEX program is something that all alumni will cherish forever; however, FLEX does not end when one returns home. The new alumni learned what it really means to be a part of the FLEX alumni community upon returning to Greece, where they were warmly welcomed by the older alumni and became involved in various projects. In this spirit, I organized the FLEX Appreciation Day event at the American Councils office on October 23, 2022, to increase networking among alumni. Six FLEX alumni and two ALEX (American Leadership Exchange) alumni attended.
After everyone arrived, they had the opportunity to learn more about each other through an icebreaker activity where all alumni introduced themselves and shared a song that reminded them of their exchange year. Furthermore, the alumni played an exchange-year-themed bingo game, which brought up numerous fun memories and stories. For example, Athina Mirchosravi ’20 told the group what it was like living with seven dogs and two cats as part of her host family.
The participants then joined a brainstorming session where they exchanged ideas regarding potential projects to help their communities. For example, ALEX alumna Zoi Kafeza ’22, the City Representative of Patras, discussed an upcoming animal shelter volunteering project. I also announced a future psychology workshop presented by my American psychology high school teacher. The final activity of the anniversary event was an American politics and history Kahoot game, where all alumni demonstrated the knowledge they gained while abroad.
The anniversary event was a success; the participants made new friends, shared their stories, and made plans as future alumni. I am thankful for this event, and I am glad the alumni could take a break from their busy lives! Though FLEX Appreciation Day has passed, I remember this day and become excited for the future of the FLEX alumni community in Greece. Though we are a small community, these alumni have already done and will continue to do amazing things.
Athina Mirchosravi ’20 (Athens, Greece, placed by NWS in Wheeling, WV)
Zoi Kafeza ’22 ALEX (Athens, Greece, placed by Gulf Coast Diplomacy in Pensacola, FL)