Polymenakou, Eva



I am very glad that Richard has invited me to become part of this research community. We met back in 2015 at an Intercultural Communication seminar in Sheffield when I was a first year doctoral student giving my first academic presentation ever! His friendly, encouraging manner, which he seems to have instilled in this community too, has been very inspiring for me ever since. Here are a few words about me:

Born and raised in Greece with a passion to meet different people and explore the whole world, I have also lived, studied and worked in Catalunya/Spain, in the UK and in Czech Republic. I hold a BA degree in English Language and Philology from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (2005), a Master’s degree in Cross-Cultural Communication and Education from Newcastle University (2007) and a PhD degree in Intercultural Communication and Education from the University of Bath (2019).

Before pursuing a PhD I had worked as an English language educator in Spain and in Greece and I had created ELT/EFL materials for adults and for children. My knowledge of Greek, English, Spanish, French and Catalan and the intercultural encounters with all the people involved in my lifelong learning journey had made me feel one of the richest people in the world!  However, reflecting on the international/intercultural experiences I had gained by living outside of my country of origin, which had begun with my participation in the Erasmus exchange programme when I was an undergraduate student, I realised that not every student had the opportunity to travel and/or live abroad. That was the starting point of my PhD, through which I sought to better understand possibilities for local experiential intercultural learning in Greek Higher Education. My doctoral study focused on student teachers’ experiential, community-based intercultural learning through intercultural encounters with perceived cultural ‘others’ from the local community in Greece, including people of migrant and refugee backgrounds, in Greece.  I termed these encounters ‘Pedagogical Intercultural Community Encounters’ (PICEs).

My research interests are underpinned by my passion for social Justice and include (critical) intercultural education, experiential intercultural learning, community-based learning, teacher education, foreign language education and immigrant and refugee integration among others. My research work involves different roles and contributions to projects on Intercultural Communication and Education, Refugee integration into the local community, and Speech Acquisition and Perception.

Since 2019 I have been an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of West Attica in Greece, teaching English language modules to Engineering students. I have also taught a module on the postgraduate programme ‘Intercultural Education: Immigration and Refugeeisation’ of the Mediterranean College. In the UK the teaching positions I held at the University of Bath included being a Teaching Fellow on the MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, where I taught on various modules and supervised MA dissertations, and at the Academic Skills Centre, where I taught language and seminar skills to undergraduate and postgraduate students. I also taught qualitative research methods, mainly in my role as Graduate Teaching Assistant.

I hope to have the chance to meet many of you virtually or in person and to exchange wonderful ideas about how we can make this world a better place for all.