Update #4 – from Greece: “after corona-period”…. we hope!

kalo kalokairi

Τι κάνετε;  Καλό Καλοκαίρι!
How are you?  Hope all is OK and we wish you a nice, sunny as well as healthy, summer.

Maybe this year it will be not a “Greek summer” for many of you, because of too many travel complications? We understand!

For those that did decide to travel to Greece, even when it is not that comfortable as other years,  we wish you a great Greek holiday.
For those that registered for an Omilo course in Syros, we are looking forward to welcoming you soon.

After our update of a month ago, we have received several essays about your “corona story”, from all over the world. They are now all added to one blog article, and corrected (although there were very minor mistakes, so congratulations to all of you for the beautiful writing!)

We hope the stories will now soon change, and you will get a break from the corona measures.

So how things are organized in Greece?

A lot of students are wondering how we survive, and others think we can write positive newsletters because they believe we get financial support. 🙂  So a small update on how the situation is in Greece:

As we have mentioned before, there is no financial support from the Greek State to Omilo,  which seems to be something a lot of students from abroad can not believe…

We guess Greece is not the only country, where you have to be creative in order to survive, but once again, with this corona crisis, it became again very clear that the differences related to “financial support”, between North European countries, and South European countries are huge….(We only mention Europe at this stage, since we get mostly feedback from European students.)

In Greece, for employees that were “fired” due to closure of the companies they are working for, or due to “not enough work”, the government gave a one time 600-800 euro support, and hopefully, they will be hired again when the companies can start operating normally. But nobody knows… and unemployment benefits are very limited.  Public employees were probably in the best position this time, and fortunately, also pensions were paid on a monthly basis.

For businesses like Omilo, falling under “education”, where it is expected that you can also teach online, the government apparently decided there was no support needed, since also public schools were teaching online, and public teachers are paid their normal salaries. Unfortunately, the Greek government has no clue that our students are not living in Greece….and most of them only want to have their lessons in Greece with sea view….and not online from their living room. (We are also not a public school or university, where lessons are “obliged to follow”, or needed in order to succeed for exams…)

As mentioned in a previous update, most Greeks never complain about not getting support, since nobody expects to get anything. After a Greek financial crisis, they have seen it all, and nothing comes as a surprise anymore.
Simply, everybody is super happy, that Greece managed not to have big problems with corona, and are now able to return to a “close to normal life” again. After all, health is above everything else 🙂

As for Omilo, we decided that “we will survive”, and continue our 24th year of operation.

a. Fortunately, many students decided to continue learning Greek with private Skype lessons, which means four teachers could continue teaching online, and for the last 3 months, they  “married”  their computer screens.
We are really grateful we have so many devoted students, all working very hard to keep improving their Greek. And we are happy teachers could keep up, smiling, and teaching at the same time.  Ευχαριστούμε.

However, online private lessons are not enough to support the fixed expenses of what ” a private business/ school” needs to pay on a monthly basis, so we hope we can catch up with our group courses in the following months.

b. We have organized three times an “online cultural week”, where normally all our returning students got an invitation for. It was so nice to see our students online and stay in touch while teaching them about various aspects of Greek culture. The feedback was very positive, so we will most likely continue those events from the Autumn onwards…

c. The omilo-team worked hard to come up with an entire online weekly course, as we do in Greece: Greek lessons in the morning, and cultural activities in the afternoon. This scenario was ready by the end of May and was proposed to the 30 students who had registered for the Lefkada course…But unfortunately, only 1 out of 30 students, wanted to participate in an online course! Well, it seems nobody can beat the “Greek feeling”…everybody preferred to have lessons next to the sea, instead of on their computer screen. We understand.
In the meantime, we have learned a lot in the process of creating online group courses and will be ready for an unwelcome next crisis.

d. Dimitris is now busy with managing and organizing the new courses coming up in Syros,  as well as making the financial survival plans and talking to the accounting office every day!  For “the school as a business”, we will be happy if we can make it in 2020 to be “break-even”, meaning that we hope we will be able to pay off all our fixed expenses for running a business for the year 2020.
Of course, this is not the first time…when we started back in 1996, we (founders Maya and Dimitris) were working 3 years on a “break-even basis”, before we could make any income at all.
If you want to see some photos of how Omilo was operating its first courses from 1997, before the internet or google existed,  but with very nice memories…then click here.  

So history repeats itself, with this time a new “online chapter”.  And as our parents had wisely advised us, when you decide to become “self-employed”, you know you will need to be creative and prepared for the unknown. There will be good and bad years…which you need to be able to deal with. Fortunately, Dimitris is taking care of this, so we can sleep on both ears…

e. Maya continues answering (endless) emails every day, as well as dealing with all the cancellations, new registrations, social media posts, newsletters, updating the website, organizing the online events…
Also, Maya is creating as well as uploading more eBooks and courses, which also gave a small income to cover a part of the monthly expenses. We hope you are enjoying our eBooks and online courses. More info below.

Take a look at our new  PUBLICATIONS page on the website 🙂

Two things on that page  are completely new and created during the month of May:

Greece : Ultimate Listening Comprehension eBook
and
Advanced Workbooks Numbers 6 and 7. 

More materials are coming up for the beginner’s levels as well.
Terpsi and Konstantinos are working on it..Stay tuned!

 

A sunny Greek summer is ahead of us, on the island of Syros…

Good news! We are now allowed to travel within Greece again and will start the first 2020 course on the island of Syros from July 12th.
Due to the corona regulations, we had to decide to make smaller groups, so for the July courses we can only accept 15 students per group (instead of the normal number being between 25-30)

Classes will be smaller, tavern meals will be different, it will be strange not to hug and kiss….but we will manage!
There are still places available for the July courses, and the September 20th course.

If you have not been yet to a course at Omilo, then listen here to one of our students of last year, and her experience of Omilo. The video is taken in Azolimnos, at the course location.

Depending on the number of students,  Marina, Konstantinos, Eva and Dimitris will be teaching, and Maya will be running around to take care of the daily aspects …

However, this year, teacher Terpsi will be not with us in Syros…
Actually, for a very good reason…. we can happily announce Terpsi’s belly is growing every day and she is looking forward to being “a mother” from the beginning of September… 😉

 

If you want to travel with us to Syros, then enjoy the view of Hermoupolis, when you arrive or leave by boat from Mykonos, or Athens.

 

 

If you need more videos, songs, blog articles, photos, to keep you in a good mood, and dream of a holiday in Greece, then follow our social media channels. We do our best to keep your and our spirits up!

 

We wish you a great summer, from Greece with love 🙂.
Dimitris and Maya Andreadis and the Omilo team

 

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PS. We will not write further updates the following months since we will be too busy taking care of students.
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