• Graduation Year: 2019

Irene Nicholas

High School/Home Town: Bergen County Technical High School/Teterboro, NJ

Education: Completing a B.S., Rutgers University (Biological Sciences, with a minor in Modern Greek Studies)

Hometown/High School: Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

Year of RU Graduation: 2019



Current Position:  Undergraduate Student

Why did you decide to take courses in Modern Greek (language)?

Expanding one’s language repertoire is beneficial in all aspects of life. I knew that taking courses in Modern Greek and mastering the language would show me a new way of thinking and improve my focus, memory, planning and multitasking skills. Being of Greek heritage, these classes also provided me with additional exposure to my language, culture and roots.

-If you pursued the minor in Modern Greek Studies, why did you decide to do this?

As a science major, I was seeking to broaden my horizons beyond just technical-based work. I decided to minor in Modern Greek Studies in order to expand my knowledge base and gain a new perspective on the world and its cultures.

What did you like the most about your Greek classes? If you took the minor, what did you like most in the other approved courses for the minor that you took (e.g., history, political science, religion)?

The course content of my Greek classes opened my mind to pressing world issues and made me realize the importance of knowing a culture’s history and traditions. Mrs. Kourti-Gavalas is an exceptional professor with a warm and inclusive classroom environment. With each class being more intriguing than the last, pursuing a Modern Greek Studies Minor was a truly priceless experience that has helped me grow as an individual.

Considering your current position and successes, was there anything in the classes or experiences you had, in pursuing Modern Greek and/or Modern Greek Studies, that contributed to your perspectives and accomplishments?

Pursuing Modern Greek has greatly contributed to my perspectives and accomplishments, as it has provided me with a new process of thinking which comes from learning a new language. The learning methods taught in my classes have showed me new and different ways to approach situations and interpret new incoming knowledge.

Were you able to participate in any of the Modern Greek Studies Program’s approved locations overseas — i.e., the summer program in Thessaloniki, or the semester/AY programs at CYA in Athens and ACT in Thessaloniki? How did such experiences impact you?

I had the amazing opportunity to participate in the Modern Greek Studies summer program at ACT in Thessaloniki, Greece. My study abroad experience in Thessaloniki provided me with priceless experiences and really helped me grow as an individual. My Engaging with Greece in Transition class really opened my mind to pressing world issues and has helped me better understand human action and reaction. My History of Thessaloniki class made me realize the importance of knowing the history of your surroundings, as it helps you become a more aware and engaged individual. I have grown to appreciate my culture and my roots even more, and cannot wait to put the things I learned during my summer abroad to use and to become an even more contributing member to society and the world.

What advice would you give students thinking about studying Modern Greek, or taking the MGSP minor, but haven’t made up their minds?

Being exposed to a new language and culture provides benefits in all aspects of life, from aiding in academics to increased cultural awareness. If you are considering Modern Greek, I would definitely seize the opportunity to become a more aware and engaged global citizen!


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Program Director
Stephen W. Reinert