As world watches economic crisis in Greece, UAH professor uses it for learning

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Turmoil continues in Greece as the country faces economic crisis, one economics professor at UAH has been closely following the developments and using it as a teaching tool for students all the way here in Huntsville.

On Tuesday, Greece failed to make a scheduled debt repayment of about $1.5 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund -- essentially defaulting on their loan.

"Because they haven't paid back their loan, their credibility is now shot," said UAH economics professor Brinda Mahalingam, Ph.D.

Mahalingam says she's using the situation to illustrate to her students a real life lesson.

"Basically balance your checkbook, make sure you have enough revenues for your expenditures," said Mahalingam.

Mahalingam says the economic instability could have an impact on American tourism to Greece, for one due to the lack of cash the country's ATMs are capping how much money a person can withdraw.  That's never a good thing for vacationers, not to mention there are also safety concerns.

"We know that when there's a recession and high unemployment, there's also a lot of crime. In terms of visiting Greece when there's so much instability, people might be scared," said Mahalingam.

Mahalingam says Greece is still considered safer than most developing nations and says this would be the perfect time for economics students to visit.

"It would be good experience to go there and see how the people are actually suffering," said Mahalingam.

A referendum will be held Sunday in Greece.  Citizens will vote whether to accept a bailout offer from the International Monetary Fund and European Union.