Alumni Spotlight: Jayla Stevenson


Jayla is a Junior studying Philosophy. She studies for a semester at CYA in the fall.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose College Year in Athens because of the opportunities it provided. I was able to travel to many other places that I would not have otherwise been able to.

College Year in Athens organizes academic week long trips to nearby islands. These were educational and also filled with fun. Traveling to other locations in Europe was also more accessible given CYA's Monday-Thursday class schedule.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The program assisted with housing, transportation to and from the airport, and various needs such as washing and drying. They also assisted in finding locations that students love, and offered many places to visit and also party. I organized getting around in Athens on my own, mostly with Uber or a taxi.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I'd tell you to not have any expectations.

When you go into something expecting close to nothing, you'll be surprised at the amazing things you will experience. Also, do not be scared! It can be scary but do not let those feelings take over your experiences.

Natives are extremely nice and helpful. If you are ever struggling, don't be afraid to ask a stranger for help.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The average week consists of classes Monday through Thursday. Students are free to travel on the weekends. Classes range from the morning till the evening. Every Friday was a farmer's market right up the street from CYA's academic building, and this was an amazing time to get food and go thrifting. Weeks were chill!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was not being accepted by natives, or experiencing racism. This was overcome instantly. My Greek mom and friendly cafes were so welcoming. They accepted and made me feel at home. I also feared safety but the neighborhood was safe. Overall, my fears were quickly overcome, and Athens was an amazing city.

What was your favorite spot in Athens?

My favorite spot was Poco Poco! Everyone should stop in and try a waffle with ice cream!! AHHHHHHMAZING. Also, eat a gyro!!! Visit the farmer's market, and hit up the beach!!! Explore, explore, explore.

They tell you Exarcheia is not safe but it is one of the coolest places ever with 'holes in the wall', young people, and lots of fun! Mostly, young people are seen as 'revolutionary' but do no harm at all. Explore by day and hang out safely at night if you go.