From Leipzig to Athens: A social worker’s Journal – Part 6

march against climate change 1

The sixth week is already over, hard to believe. Time passed by very quickly and I wonder what it would be like to stay here a little longer. I feel very comfortable here and love the facets of the city. I have also locked many people into my heart.Nevertheless, since last week I have the feeling that I am very much looking forward to coming back to my home. Not at least because of the visit of my friends, but also because of the slowly coming Christmas feeling, which I connect with my home, my family and friends. This feeling gives me the chance to really enjoy my last weeks in Athens. Above all, it means spending time with the people I will definitely miss when I fly back.

Christmas, the feast of love. You can see it not only in the lyrics, but also in the couples and families who couldn’t look happier. Almost everything is a bit too kitschy for my taste, but still the atmosphere enchanted me a bit.

But that’s not all – the streets in Athens are slowly filling up with flashing lights, oversized Santa Claus figures and glittering Christmas ornaments. I have noticed that it depends on my mood whether I find these places beautiful or cruel. At the Inter Alia Christmas party for example, I was in a very good mood, so I enjoyed decorating the Christmas tree and the whole cosy atmosphere with my team.

There was also plenty of musical accompaniment this week. For example, we were at a concert of various bands, singers and rappers against police violence. What a contrast to this Christmas feeling: We sat at night at 20 degrees on the meadow and drank beer. It reminded me a lot of summer festivals in Germany.

With the paradoxical feeling of getting spring in the Christmas season in my mind, I took part in the global climate strike with a colleague from Inter Alia. It was an exciting experience because this demonstration was very different from the previous ones. The participants were mainly young students, dressed in colorful clothes and equipped with creative pictures and words on cardboard signs. The mood during the march was loud but positive, I liked that very much. It’s also good to see young people coming together, motivated and self-organized, to teach others and especially adults instead of get taught at school. For a demonstration taking place in a capital city there were not many people. This has shown me that issues such as environmental protection, global warming and climate change are not yet very relevant in Greece. This is a great pity, because I experienced the students as very well informed and active. And also because Greece, due to its location, is one of the most vulnerable countries in Europe relating to the rising sea level and faces a bleak future in the coming decades…

Are there really too many other, tangible problems here, so that there is no more space for other themes? Is it due to limited reporting by the Greek media?Are there just not enough initiators and multipliers yet who would call for assembly and discussion? Is the topic even addressed by politics and the various parties? I have come to the conclusion that a combination of many factors is responsible for the situation.

Why am I so surprised by the small number of demonstrators? Because in Germany the topic is currently one of the most present topics in the media. The previous global climate strike in September in Leipzig was one of the biggest demonstration I have ever been to. And the one I was talking about above, the international climate strike on November 29th, 10.000 demonstrators had been on the streets in Leipzig. Furthermore, in Leipzig the Green Party was the most elected party. Once again I have to realise in which “bubble” I live in Leipzig and that this “bubble” is not representative for other European countries and cities.


Hi! My Name is Elisabeth Schreier but everyone calls me Elli. I am 25 years old and I have successfully completed my Bachelor of Arts: Social Work in September 2019 in Leipzig. In Leipzig I have gained different experiences as a work student like working for and with a youth living unit for minor, female refugees and working in a close-to-family, integrative, stationary living unit for children and adolescents. Besides social work, my heart beats for animals. For this reason-in addition to the fact that I have two dogs- I absolved an internship at the institute of animal-assisted therapy and pedagogics in Denmark last year. Before going to Athens, I was volunteering in a shelter with over 350 stray dogs in Crete. After this more physical labour, I am excited to absolve a two-months internship at Inter Alia as part of an Erasmus graduate fellowship. The focus is on gaining and experiencing international and new impressions, working methods and diverse perspectives.

While in Athens, I implemented a workshop on female perspectives on the city.For more information on my project contact me