LCTL Student Spotlight: Meet Athena

Athena Swiader is a first year student at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Psychology, with minors in Modern Greek and Anthropology. Below, Athena shares how her prior knowledge of Modern Greek has been augmented by her studies here at Pitt!

Why did you choose Pitt?

I chose Pitt because of the countless opportunities it had for students when it came to languages and research.

Are you a member of any organizations on campus?

Currently, I am a part of the Hellenic Student Association (HSA), Eye to Eye, and Pitt Tonight.

Did you have any previous second-language exposure before coming to Pitt?

I did, my mother is originally from Greece and came to the States for her masters. At home, we primarily speak Greek along with my father who also learned Greek alongside me when I was younger.

How did you become interested in studying Modern Greek?

I wanted to get better at understanding the rules of the language since I never learned them. In addition to that, I am interested in applying the language to whatever job I do one day. Also, Pitt's reputation for less commonly taught languages is very good so I knew I would be taught by someone who loved the language and wanted to teach it.

How does studying this language fit into your future plans?

In the future, I plan on going into clinical work. More specifically, I would like to be able to go back to Greece and work there as a family and marriage counselor. However, in order to do that, I need to understand the language very well which is why I am studying Modern Greek.

What has been your best experience using this language?

Being able to connect to my family and find new friends around me who also speak Greek has been such fun. Especially within the class learning together and making mistakes really bonds you.

What is the greatest challenge with learning this language? 

Greek has a lot of Es and certain ways you have to put sentences together. Remembering how to do that and checking yourself has been challenging yet enjoyable.

What has knowing/studying this language allowed you to do that you would not have been able to do otherwise?

It has allowed me to take my Greek to a level that it wouldn't have reached without the help of my teacher Areti Papanastoasiou.