If you are interested in learning Greek, there is no better place to learn the language than in Athens. The capital and largest city in Greece, as well as one of the oldest cities in the world, you can immerse yourself in not just the language, but the vibrant culture and celebrated history as well.
In Athens, the ancient history and contemporary culture live side by side. Athens is known for its ancient architecture seen in the Acropolis and Parthenon, archeological sites and museums, as well as its mediterranean cuisine, nightlife, and theaters. Filled with universities and language schools offering a variety of course types, there is a language-learning option for everyone.
Athens is the city in Greece with the most course options for learning the language. Due to its variety of language schools and universities, there are plenty of options for undergraduate students interested in learning Greek while studying abroad or people of all ages who are interested in learning Greek while living in Athens for time periods ranging from two weeks to multiple months.
- University courses: Most universities in Athens offer semester-long language courses, offered at a variety of language levels. This is a great opportunity to learn Greek while studying abroad in Greece or even as a post-graduate. Popular programs and schools for international students include The American College of Greece, Athens Centre, and the University of Athens.
- Language schools: There are plenty of language schools in Athens that offer different course lengths, language levels, and degrees of intensiveness. Some schools offer shorter-length, one- to two-week intensive language programs, while other offer longer courses that may span multiple months. Due to the range in course offerings at different schools, you will surely find a language course that fits the budget, language level, and frequency and class size you are looking for.
- Private lessons: Most language schools in Athens provide the option of taking individual lessons. This option is great for people who are looking for a more personalized language learning experience. You will work with an instructor one-on-one and move at your own desired pace, with more flexibility regarding what you study. These courses are typically more costly than the group classes at language schools.
Why Learn Greek in Athens
Athens is a popular location to learn Greek not only because it's plethora of universities and language schools, but also because it is the capital and cultural epicenter of Greece and the Greek language, the birthplace of modern thought and democracy, and home to Greek Mythology and ancient Greek architecture. Athens is an affordable city with a friendly and vibrant culture with high importance on coffee culture, food, and nightlife, making it a desirable destination to study Greek.
Most language schools require no specific qualifications. They typically accept students of a variety of ages (over 18 years of age), nationalities, and language levels. You may have to submit an application and receive acceptance just due to limited space at language schools. Universities may have stricter requirements. You may have to apply through a study abroad program and be a student at another university. You should be sure to read the necessary qualifications for the specific university you are interested in.
Planning Your Trip
When planning your trip to Athens, it's important to choose a school in a location that you are interested in, as most language schools are located within the city center but some universities are located further outside. You will also need to look into what type of accommodation is most appealing to you and within your budget. Some language schools offer homestay or student housing options, typically in apartments. Most universities, however, do not offer student housing and you may need to find an apartment on your own. It's not very difficult to find apartments that are affordable to rent and your school or program can always offer you advice.
Popular Locations to Learn Greek in Athens
Most of the language schools are located right in the city center of Athens, near the main museums, parks, markets, and squares of downtown Athens. These schools are all easy to get to from other parts of the city by public transportation and conveniently located near plenty of restaurants, cafes, and shops. The popular University of Athens is located right within the city, slightly outside of the city center, while other popular universities such as the American College of Greece are located further outside the city.
Choosing a Greek Learning Program in Athens
Choosing your Greek learning program will largely depend on how long you would like to spend in Greece. Taking courses at a university usually requires staying for at least a whole semester, so multiple months, but if you study in a language school, you can stay for as short a visit as two weeks. Another important factor is how much you are willing to spend on the program, as many university programs offer scholarships, but language schools do not. Additionally, if you are interested in private lessons, you will only find these at language schools, not at universities.
Cultural Immersion in Greece
Greeks tend to be extremely welcoming and friendly towards foreigners, with a culture that is very family-oriented and more laid-back than other Western countries. Greeks are passionate about their food, music, language, and contributions to literature, art, politics, and philosophy throughout history.
You will have the chance learn about all of this, as language schools and universities in Athens tend to place a high priority on cultural immersion and provide many opportunities for students to learn about Greece outside of the classroom. Many schools even offer excursions outside of Athens to get to know other areas in Greece. Most Greeks, especially from the younger generations, speak English fairly well, so you will be able to converse with others and make friends even if your Greek is not very advanced.
Costs & Funding
Greece is generally a very affordable country for foreigners coming from other Western countries and it's very possible to find language schools and even private tutors that fit your budget. Additionally, many universities and study abroad programs in Athens offer scholarships to help you afford your tuition. It can be very helpful to compare multiple schools and programs to find the one that best fits your budget.
Average Greek Language School Tuition in Athens
The tuition at language schools varies based on the length of the course you're taking and the institution you choose, but you can expect tuition to range from around €600-€750 for a two-week intensive course, up to €1300 for a month-long course, and up to €3700 for a 12-week course. While private tutors tend to be more expensive than group courses, it is possible to find private lessons for as little as €10 per hour.
Scholarships for Learning Greek in Athens
It is rare for language-specific schools to offer scholarships, but many Greek universities in Athens do. The State Scholarship Foundation (IKY) offers scholarships to foreigners studying modern Greek language and culture at public universities in Greece.
If you are learning Greek during a study abroad year or semester of college, there are many scholarships funded by the US government you can apply for, such as the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship or the David L. Boren Scholarship, as well as scholarships provided by Greek Universities themselves. Look into the specific university you are interested in to find out more about the scholarships they provide.
Cost of Living in Greece
The cost of living in Greece is quite affordable compared to most other Western European countries, mainly due to the recent economic difficulties throughout the country. It is typical to get a nice one-bedroom apartment within the city center for around €200-€500. Apartments are less expensive if you move slightly outside of the city center. Transportation, groceries, and other necessities are typically seen as affordable to foreigners coming from other Western nations.
Visas & Other Relevant Information
Visas are not required for stays in Greece 90 days or less. US and other non-EU citizens planning on staying for longer than 90 days to study at a language school or university will need to apply for a student visa. Universities will require proof of a student visa before beginning your classes, so be sure to apply and obtain the visa well in advance of your course start date. EU citizens will not need to apply for a visa at all.