Honors Students & Vulnerable Populations

MU Honors Students head to Greece to work with Refugees
By Sam Ennis

While doing research with colleagues in Greece, University of Missouri professor Stephen Whitney learned about an organization called The HOME Project. Today, Professor Whitney plans to bring a group of Mizzou students to return with him to Athens in order to become a vital part of The HOME Project’s efforts.

The HOME Project aids unaccompanied migrant children in Athens by welcoming them into the homes of members living in the city. This direct impact on the program is an important aspect of the trip for Whitney.

“Sometimes these issues seem so far away,” said Whitney. “You just see the pictures and go ‘that’s sad,’ but you move on because it’s not next door.” 

Around 10 Mizzou honors students will be able to accompany Professor Whitney to Athens, where the majority of students will teach migrant children English through The HOME Project. With that knowledge in hand, migrants will be able to enter the European workforce. 

“[I]t’s an economic boon to know English… it gives them a viable option,” said Whitney. “If refugees know English, they can get a job anywhere in Europe, in the tourist industry.”

While the purpose of the study abroad is certainly to help migrant children, students that head to Athens will undoubtedly experience significant personal growth. 

But it’s not all work and no play, students who attend the program will also get to experience the exciting city of Athens, which is home to ancient wonders like the Parthenon, and beautiful Mediterranean beaches. 

“[W]e’ll have a couple weekends where we can go to different areas,” said Whitney. “Of course we’ll have these cultural experiences, but the real work of it will be helping these individuals who need it.”

Students who are selected to go on the trip will also take part in a one credit hour class for the last eight weeks of the 2022 Spring semester that teaches students how to work with vulnerable populations. The class will provide the vital training needed for students before going on such an important trip. 

“How you work with… individuals who have been through trauma broadly speaking, is an area you could have a lot of training in,” said Whitney. “So, it is just sort of a brush stroke to try to prepare the students for the different issues that they may encounter with their work in that population”

Honors students interested in applying for the program can find more information on the Mizzou Study Abroad website here.

Deadline to apply for the Vulnerable Populations course is March 8! The second required 8-week session begins on March 14!