Our group had the opportunity to meet with Dr. John Nomikos at the Webster University-Athens campus. He prepared us for what we were about to experience at the International Organization for Migration (IMO). “As the world’s largest international organization for migration, the IOM in Greece always acts with safety and dignity among its partners in the international community in order to better assist the growing operational challenges of migration management, as well as helping to advance the understanding of migrational issues and encourage social and economic development through migration,” stated Dr. Nomikos.
During our time abroad, we felt so accommodated and welcomed by the people we met while in Greece. Surprisingly, however, we felt differently at the IOM, not from the citizens or workers, but from the refugees waiting in line. It was sad to see these people in such need of help and not being able to do anything to ease their suffering at that moment. The looks we received while walking around were, at times, unnerving, and caused us to reflect on how immigrants or refugees in the United States may feel when others look down upon at them and potentially judge their situations unfairly.
This experience made us more aware of people in these dire situations, a very different perspective from our own. After learning about and experiencing first-hand the issue of migration in Greece, we compared it to our understanding of the migrational issues currently unfolding within the United States. As a group, we shared our beliefs about the problem and developed potential solutions for how migration could best be handled by each country.
About Ryan Dowling, Hannah Osburn, and Leah Biggerstaff
This Kent State College of Nursing study abroad experience began in Athens, Greece, where students visited refugee sites and learned about the impact of oppression and social injustice issues on a global level. Students then traveled to Ghana, Africa, where they worked with Willows International Foundation who advocate for women’s reproductive rights and provide healthcare services to those who are least able to utilize healthcare information and services. Students also visited various health care agencies to understand the impact of culture on health care. Both current undergraduate and graduate students were able to apply for this study abroad experience.