The University of Patras has started receiving international students as part of the Socrates Erasmus exchange programmes since 1986. The steady increase in international mobility gave rise to the development of mechanisms ensuring the quality of academic teaching and created the need for strengthening the University’s openness. According to a research carried out by the Department of International Relations, the Greek civilization and landscape constitute a very strong motive (up to 50%) for the Erasmus students who visit Patras. This confirms the view, already established in the current literature, that exchange students like to be exposed to the culture of their host country.
At the same time, Patras and the wider region of West Greece hosts many international (permanent or not) residents (more than 6.000 for the age group between 25-55, according to the Decentralized Administration of Peloponnese, Western Greece and Ionian islands). A large portion of this population wants to learn Greek and/or certify their knowledge of Greek.
The founding of the Greek Language and Culture Lab was therefore a strategic decision of the University of Patras, in order to respond to the need for the systematic teaching of Greek as a second/foreign language, now addressed to a wide (academic and non-academic) audience, and the promotion of its openness based on the Greek culture and civilization.