After a temporary suspension of classes since October, the Integration and Learning
Center for Refugees (ILC) is buzzing with excitement as students return to classes
since early February, ready to continue learning Greek. Despite the interruption,
students’ enthusiasm is high, with many already preparing for the Greek Language
Proficiency exams.
The interruption of classes did not deter the students, as they returned to ILC with
renewed determination and excitement to continue their journey in the language.
During the program and class suspension period, volunteers from YMCA
Thessaloniki played a crucial role in maintaining students’ interest and participation
by continuing Conversation Cafes without interruption, providing students with the
opportunity to practice their language skills, ensuring that the dynamics of learning
were not lost during the break, and keeping them connected to YMCA Thessaloniki.
Valentyna D., a refugee from Ukraine, said:”I feel grateful that classes have
resumed. It is a fantastic opportunity for every Ukrainian to improve their language
skills to integrate into the country where they live. The teachers and all the staff at
YMCA Thessaloniki have become our family. They are all so kind and excellent
professionals. Thank you all very much!”
Yuliia K., also a refugee from Ukraine, when informed of the resumption of classes,
said:”I was very happy with the news! Firstly, continuing my classes gives me hope
that by completing them, I will be able to fully integrate into society and find a job or
start my own business. Secondly, thanks to the new knowledge and skills, I no longer
feel helpless, as I already understand almost everything, I can ask and answer
questions, and I feel more like an equal member of society. For example, I recently
spoke Greek with a saleswoman in a store, who told me;You speak Greek very
well!; Thank you for the opportunity!”
The resumption of ILC represents much more than simply returning to classes. It
symbolizes resilience, community support, and the unwavering dedication of both
students and YMCA Thessaloniki volunteers. It is proof of the power of education to
overcome challenges and unite people, promoting a sense of belonging.

Since 2019, YMCA Thessaloniki (as part of the consortium with MDAT S.A. and the
School of Modern Greek Language of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) has been a
partner of International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the implementation of
HELIOS project, which as of 2022 is financed by the Ministry of Migration and