'Geia mas!' in Greek means "Cheers!"
This is how you are most likely to be welcomed to Greece by the local people, with a shot of ouzo, one of the main traditional drinks.
Little needs to be said about Greece. Its name is synonymous to history, culture, tourism and hospitality. Greece is not only situated at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, but also encompasses various cultures, civilizations and magnificent scenery. Greece is also regarded as the birthplace of Western civilization, democracy, western philosophy, literature, drama and the Olympic Games.
Although Greece is mostly known for its ancient culture, modern Greece is an exciting and vibrant developed country that gazes with confidence into the future, comprising one of the most popular tourist destinations worldwide. It welcomes more than 14 million tourists annually, who enjoy everything the country has to offer: from the breathtaking landscapes to the vast wealth of tradition, festivities, folklore and nightlife.
HelMSIC – Hellenic Medical Students’ International Committee is an independent, non governmental, non profit organization run by medical students in Greece. It was founded in 1958 and as of today, it has 7 Local Committees, one in every medical faculty of Greece.
HelMSIC has been an active NMO in IFMSA since 1958 and has more than 120 active members. Through its participation in these international organizations, HelMSIC is the voice of Greek Medical Students abroad and the main channel of communication, cooperation and training in an international level.
Our activities and projects are centered around six thematics, representing the IFMSA Standing Committees, SCORA, SCOPH, SCOPE, SCORE, SCORP and SCOME. Our Local and National Officers mainly organize projects under these thematics. Our projects aim to train medical students on topics that are not fully included in our curriculum, to develop their skills, to raise awareness about health issues, and to promote the International cooperation between medical students.
HelMSIC works on a national level with Medecines Sans Frontiers (MSF), Medecines du Monde (MDM), Therapy Centre for Dependent Individuals (KETHEA), ESN, AIESEC and other NGOs and Governmental Organizations mainly on project based collaboration.
Participating in HelMSIC gives each medical student the unique chance to invest their free time in a creative and meaningful way to benefit the society, their colleagues, and themselves. Our active members develop their communication and organizing skills, their leadership abilities and become familiar with project management, and come in touch with medical students worldwide.
Be conscious, challenged, active, Be HelMSIC!
Greeks are among the world’s healthiest people and have one of the highest life expectancies in the EU. Greece has one of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world, which is largely attributed to their diet, which includes lots of garlic, olive oil and red wine. However, the country has a high rate of smoking-related health problems and the proportion of smokers is one of the highest in the EU.
Greece’s health care system was ranked by the World Health Organization as one of the best in the world. Greece's health care was ranked 14th in overall performance of 191 countries surveyed (above other countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom) and 11th in quality of service in a 2000 report by the WHO. In addition, the health care cost is the lowest among the European Union countries. The Greek Health Care System is a mixed system, with various social insurance funds coexisting with the National Health System. Health care in Greece is provided through national health insurance, although private health care is also an option. Public health services are provided by the National Healthcare Service, or ESY.The hospitals in the more metropolitan areas are of excellent standards. Pharmacies and medications are of good quality with highly trained pharmacist. Medicines are also highly subsidized since only 25% of the actual cost of the prescriptions is charged. Emergency care is provided free of charge in public hospitals to anyone, regardless of nationality. There are also smaller outpatient clinic in rural areas attached to bigger public hospitals. These facilities provide faster emergency treatment than in bigger public hospitals. Health care services are also provided to EU and non-EU citizens on the basis of multilateral or bilateral agreements.
From Hippocrates and Galen to Georgios Papanikolaou, practicing and teaching medicine can be traced all throughout Greek history.Currently operating 7 Medical Schools in all major parts of the country, medical training has evolved greatly the past few decades and is still evolving according to modern standards. Having signed the Bologna Process in 1999, the medical curricula have adjusted to the European integration efforts while also taking important steps towards the establishment of the European Higher Education Area. Despite the financial setbacks and limited funding, Greek medical schools have kept their high level of education and expertise, in particular excellent clinical teaching environment and constantly encouraging student initiative. Quality assurance is being introduced to all academic sectors and the student movement is assuming a vocal role in all reforms. The greatest achievement of Greek medical education, however, is the level of medical graduates it produces who excel all over the world.
Travel within the country is relaxed, safe and reasonably priced.
The road network is extensive allowing one to visit many different corners of the country. Rail travel is particularly affordable and offers a comfortable journey. Flights both on the mainland as well as to islands are frequent. Ferries, the trademark of Greek summer, make regular trips. Even the smallest Greek island can be reached by ship. Besides, there is also a regular service between the islands.
One can take a trip by combining various means of transport or indulge in the safety of organized travel.
The top destinations in Greece are, not coincidentally, where you find the country’s most important archaeological sites. These ruins from antiquity, many of them UNESCO World Heritage Sites, dot the mountainous Greek mainland and several of the country's 6,000 islands, of which 227 are inhabited. Natural scenery and cuisine are also among Greece’s top tourism offerings.
Greek archaeological sites hold the key to thousands of years of history. The Acropolis of Athens is a complex set of ruins that includes several temples to the god Athena including the Parthenon, the Theater of Dionysos, the Temple of Zeus and Hadrian's Library. The Acropolis Museum, built over exposed dig sites, at time of publication, is open Tuesday through Sunday, with extended hours on Fridays and is closed on major holidays.
A few Doric columns are all that remain standing in the Temple of Apollo at the Delphi Archaeological Site . Other ruins include Tholos, a circular sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, a theatre and a stadium. The Museum of Delphi displays ancient Greek art and statuary including the famed bronze of the Charioteer of Delphi.
Along its almost thousand miles of shore, Greece has numerous beaches with crystal clear waters. The Foundation for Environmental Education (fee-international.org) annually awards "blue flag" designations to environmentally safe beaches in Europe; in 2011, the most recent reporting year, 387 Greek beaches were honored.
Greece's "organized beaches," which are designated with a blue flag, offer services including umbrellas, chairs, food vendors or full-service restaurants and lifeguarded swim areas. On Thessaloniki, blue flag beaches include Agia Triada, Perea and Nei Epivates. Beach resorts at Chalkidiki, on the southeastern tip of the mainland, offer wind-surfing and scuba diving. Thirty-three beaches on the Corfu are blue-flagged; with subtropical weather, the island's rainy season runs from September to March.
The islands are the main characteristic of Greece’s morphology and an integral part of the country’s culture and tradition. Greek sovereign land includes 6,000 islands and islets scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, of which only 227 islands are inhabited. This is a truly unique phenomenon for the European continent. The Greek Archipelago takes up 7,500 km of the country’s total 16,000 km coastline, offering a highly diversified landscape: beaches stretching over many kilometers, sheltered bays and coves, sandy beaches with sand-dunes, pebble beaches, coastal caves with steep rocks and dark colored sand typical of volcanic soil and coastal wetlands.
Greece is a country of great interests and diverse cultures, influenced by its location, at the junction between the East and the West and by the many occupations of the Greek people throughout history.
In general, the Greeks are particularly proud of their culture and speak of their country with an intense passion, feeling that the culture in Greece is a definition of their national and ethnic belonging. Traditions, religion, music, language, food and wines are the major composites of the culture in Greece and constitute the base for those who wish to visit and understand today's country.
Language constitutes one of the most important elements of the Greek culture. Modern Greek language is a descendant of the Ancient Greek language and is affiliated to the part of the Greek or Hellenic branch of Indo-European. The first written Greek was found on baked mud tablets, in the remains of the Knossos Palace of Crete island. Linear A and Linear B are the two most ancient types of written language in Greece.
Greece is a country with a very rich history from Bronze age, to classical period, Roman period, Ottoman period and more. It also famous worldwide for many famous people and their actions throughout centuries. This section proposes information about the history of Greece but provides also information about the significance of the flags, a list with most famous archaeological sites, historical monuments and Unesco Sites in Greece.
Traditions in Greece and Greek Islands either have a religious character or come from paganism. Furthermore, most of the traditions and festivals still followed and celebrated today are religious. That is why so many panygiria are organized in the country, which are actually religious celebrations of saints followed by traditional music and dance in the square of the village. These panigiria are a strong element of the Greek culture and take place all year round, especially in summer.
Religion plays an important role in the understanding of daily culture. The 98% of the Greeks are Christians Orthodox. The rest of the population are Muslims, Roman Catholics and Jewish. Greece and Russia are the only countries to have such a big proportion of Christians Orthodox. The Orthodox Church forms the third largest branch of Christianity, after the Roman Catholics and the Protestants.
The Greek music is of unbelievable diversity due to the creative Greek assimilation of different influences of the Eastern and Western culture of Asia and Europe. Music in Greece has a long history dating from the ancient times, during which poetry, dancing and music were inseparable and played an important part in the ancient Greek everyday life and culture.
Food and wineThe Greek cuisine is famous for its good quality products and the amazing taste of its food and wines. Some dishes are the same everywhere in Greece, whereas some others are local culinary specialties. The same dishes can be cooked differently or with different ingredients depending on the region. Food is an important part of the Greek culture.