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18
October
2011

Today's Olympics Country Profile: Greece

As London prepares for the 2012 Olympics, Team looks at some of the cities that previously hosted the Olympics. Today, we’re off to Athens who hosted the Olympic Games in 2004. The return of The Games to Athens was highly significant, since Greece was the birthplace of the ancient games more than 2,000 years ago; and Athens was the home of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.

Would you like to work, live or move to Greece? Or maybe just find out about life general in Greece? Here is some information on a country that is a combination of both Western and Eastern cultures.
Climate
Climate varies between the southern and northern parts of the country. The winters are wet, but mild except in the north, where they can be very cold, and the summers are hot and dry. In July and August strong winds, meltemia, disrupt travel and other activities. Although a few rivers flow all year, most streams are dry from June to September.
 
Learning the language
Those who plan to spend an extended period in Greece will find a familiarity with the Greek alphabet helpful and knowledge of the language an invaluable asset for living in Greece. For example, road signs in rural Greece are often only in the Greek alphabet. Although Greeks do not expect foreigners to speak Greek, an attempt at a few basic greetings is appreciated. It is advisable to learn to read the Greek alphabet so that you can read signs.
 
Many Greek business people are multilingual, and speak English and French. However, Greek is used for business and official purposes; the services of an interpreter may be necessary.
 
Understanding the people
Modern Greeks are a warm and welcoming people who enjoy animated discussions on any topic at any time of day. They take a relaxed approach to life, placing a high value on family and family honour, personal relationships, and enjoyment of life.
 
Greetings, titles and names
In a business setting, shake hands with all participants at the meeting a ritual in Greece as elsewhere in Europe.
Business cards should be printed in English and Greek. In business, titles such as Mr., Mrs., Doctor, and Professor are used with surnames. Allow your Greek colleague to use the familiar form of address first. Older people are always addressed formally and shown great respect.
 
The expatriate community
With many English-speakers in Athens and Thessaloniki, making social contacts is usually easy. There are numerous international organisations that bring together people with common special interests or for service and socialising. Often socialising and event coordination is done via organisation websites.
 
In Athens, expatriates tend to live among Greek nationals. However, executives with families tend to prefer living in the northern suburbs, because these areas have newer housing that is of a high standard, and they are in close proximity to the international schools.
 
International schools
There are a number of international schools in Athens and Thessaloniki, as well as nursery schools. The American Women's Organization of Greece can provide a list of nursery schools in various neighbourhoods in Athens. There are also French, German, Italian, and German schools in Athens; contact the individual embassies for more information.

Education is highly regarded in Greece, and some expatriate families may consider a Greek school for their children.
 
Athens
Athens, as the capital, is by far the largest city inGreece. Nearly half the country's population lives in the metropolitan area, includingPiraeus, the leading port, which is a major city in its own right. AncientAthens, dominated by the legendary Acropolis and Lycabettus Hill, remains the heart of this modern metropolis.
 
Health
Medicine in Greece is socialised under the Greek National Health Service, so health care is readily available and without charge to Greek citizens at public hospitals.
 
Private clinics are available for a fee, where they usually offer better levels of care. Larger cities have the best-equipped and the best-staffed hospitals; smaller city hospitals are adequate for emergency services; and smaller towns and villages have medical clinics that can provide first aid and help until you can reach a more comprehensive facility.
 
Citizens of EU countries are eligible to receive free medical care in public hospitals.
 
Athens has many general hospitals and specialized facilities, such as maternity and pediatric hospitals. Private hospitals are expensive, although efficient, and well equipped.
 
Holidays and festivals
Greece follows the Gregorian calendar, but moveable holidays are determined by the Eastern Orthodox calendar. The Greek day for Easter usually differs from that of the Gregorian calendar.
 
Floating holidays include Clean Monday at the start of Lent, which can begin near late February or early March; Good Friday, Easter, and sometimes the following business days; and Holy Ghost in May or June.
 
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