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When someone mentions the country "Greece," what comes to mind? Ancient ruins, celebrated mythology, warm Mediterranean breezes, white washed walls paired with azure blue rooftops overlooking an even bluer seaside? I assume it's not just me!
Also known as the Hellenic Republic, Greece is fast becoming a popular destination for international students, as students race to understand better the roots of Western civilization and see first-hand where many great ideas (including democracy and individualism!) came to be. The influence of ancient Greece cannot be overstated--many modern philosophies, moral structures, cultures, languages, and political ideologies all come from the great thinkers of Greece's yesteryear (er, century).
Picture yourself living in a place that has teetered with life for thousands and thousands of years. Picture yourself studying abroad in Greece!
Many different programs operate in this happenin' nation--but which program will provide you with that experience of a lifetime? Finding the answer to that question may take a bit of research, but we've laid out the basics for you.
Language: Despite Greece's proximity to European, Asian, and African cultures, Greece has maintained a distinct culture, including its language, which has been proudly spoken for thousands of years. We recommend taking advantage of the opportunity to better acquaint yourself with this deeply rooted language--if not with a program whose courses are taught entirely in Greek, but at the very least with a program who offers some language classes throughout the course duration.
Housing: Different programs will provide different types of housing for its participants. On the whole, you will find a general lack of student accommodation at Greek higher institutions--with that in mind, be sure to select a program whose accommodation is within close proximity to the school you will be studying at.
BCA's study abroad program in Athens includes accommodation in City Unity College's residence halls alongside many other international students--with this program, you could learn not only about Greek students, but students from around the world! If this living situation does not sound ideal to you, check out Arcadia University's program; Arcadia places program participants in 4-5 person shared apartments, with each student receiving a private room. Be warned though, Arcadia does not honor roommate requests (and does not house students together from the same home university.) Talk about branching out!
Some institutions do not offer any student accommodation or other residential facilities and, though National Students Hostels, which appear to be similar to Halls of Residence in other countries, do exist there is only a limited number of places available in them. Rooms and apartments can be rented at private buildings throughout Athens and Thessaloniki and the cost of renting a one-room apartment is approximately EU270 per month.
Activities and Sightseeing: Some programs will be designed to include a full schedule of excursions, events, and lectures for its participants. These extra activities are created with YOU in mind--aiming to enhance your overall understanding of Greece. Some programs include more excursions then others, and these inclusions can drastically affect the overall cost of a program. Choose a program whose excursions align with your inner tourist!
AIFS Abroad's program in Greece includes cultural dancing and cooking classes, in addition to full day trips to nearby sights such as Delphi, Corinth, and Arachova! Fun activities with Arcadia include a "murder mystery dinner," a proper football match, and a tour of Peloponnese. Taking it one step even further, BCA's program includes special lectures from local people of interest and tours of embassies and government agencies.
Greece's cities are home to some of the world's most wonderful architecture, and serve as the backdrop to some of the western world's oldest stories. Which will you largely explore for your semester abroad? Choose a city whose culture seems more exciting to you!
ATHENS: When studying abroad in Athens, you will easily see how the Greece managed to become one of the most developed and powerful nations in the ancient world. Greek's capital city and home to over 1/3 of the country's population, Athens is at times a sprawling modern city, and at others a picturesque window into centuries past. It is this constant tugging-and-pulling around every corner that make Athens such a fantastic and interesting place to study abroad. Home to the iconic Parthenon, Athens boasts more than its fair share of ancient ruins. This city has lead the country into mankind's imaginations, creating long lasting influences on the lives of the rest of the human race. Explore as Socrates did see for yourself just how breathtaking Athens can be.
THESSALONIKI: Founded in the year 315 B.C., Thessaloniki is the country's second largest city. Thessaloniki is located in the north of the peninsula, giving it a unique position as a central meeting point between "eastern" and "western" cultures and nations. As such, Thessaloniki has become one of the most multicultural cities in the world, best known for its towering number of significant cultural and political sights. Nearly one million people call Thessaloniki home, but it has somehow maintained a very "small town" feel. Thessaloniki is a great place to experience firsthand the welcoming hospitality of the Greek nationals as well as a good starting point to hop to Greece's neighboring countries (Italy, Turkey, and essentially all of eastern Europe, just to name a few).
Study abroad is certainly an investment--and even though the rewards will repay you in millions, those longstanding benefits aren't going to actually help you get there in this very moment! With that in mind, consider applying for one of the many scholarships available for studying abroad in Greece.
Do you think there is something missing in our guide to studying abroad in Greece? Contact us and let us know! We want to make sure our information is relevant and up to date.