Athena Study Abroad

This organization has been expired and its programs are no longer offered.


Athena Study Abroad was designed by knowledgeable and caring professionals with one goal in mind: to bring authentic study abroad experiences to life that involve real cultural immersion aspects. Athena strives to provide programs that embrace personalized experiences at small overseas schools, bringing each student into close contact with the local culture and people so that a well rounded, diverse experience is well within reach.


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Yes, I recommend this program

Happiest I’ve ever been!

I just completed the fall semester program, and it was everything i imagined it would be and more! The island of Paros is beautiful. We had hot beach days up until we left in December, and only about 8 days of rain the entire time! Both the school and student apartments are right on the water. I took Painting, Interrelated Media, Creative Writing, Greek, and Cycladic Arts and Culture. The classes were wonderful and gave us so much creative freedom. Every teacher I had took a personal interest in my growth over the semester, and I made lifelong friendships with the other students. I had a lot of free time to spend in the other towns and islands, which i really appreciated. For the midterm break, I decided to go to Switzerland, and it was incredible. I would definitely recommend taking advantage of the break! I have a newfound love for Greece and HISA. I never thought i could be so happy. Absolutely loved it.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Definitely take the Greek class! It was so fun to talk to the locals and they really appreciated it the effort!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best decision ever!

Studying broad with Athena Study Abroad was such a great decision! The program and administration from both Athena and the host school was so incredibly kind and sweet, they were always willing to help no mater what it was and wanted to make sure I felt comfortable and having a good time. The academics were also really great, the classes were very interesting and had a good variety, I learned a lot and my Spanish definitely improved. I was impressed with all the internship and volunteering opportunities, I interned with an indigenous family in Otavalo, were I lived with an indigenous family for 3 weeks learning about their customs, culture, traditions, language and food! I loved the city of Quito as well and all the country has to offer! I definitely recommend this program to anyone interested in South America, also anyone wanting a smaller family like provider who really care about you personally.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The strangest thing I ate in Ecuador was guinea pig, they are not pets there, they are raised as delicacy and are often expensive. It was definitely interesting not what I expected it to taste like but I'm glad I tried it.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Athena Study Abroad is amazing!

I had such a blast when I was studying abroad with Athena. Their company is so down to earth and so easy to get in contact with. The field trips were really cool and included in Athena's price! I really felt like I learned a lot from my class and in general my time abroad. The campus was beautiful and I loved the area around it. It was in the perfect spot and I especially loved the town Putney which was just a 5-minute bus ride away. I felt really safe. There was so much to do in town and in the city. All the museums are free in London too so you have plenty of opportunities to have fun without spending a fortune. The food is British so there's not the most amount of flavor but with a little salt and pepper, it's just as good (plus fish and chips are quite good). London is so beautiful and I had such a wonderful time. I'm so glad I chose Athena!

What was your funniest moment?
My friend from home went with me on this program and she is partially blind so it can be hard for her to navigate sometimes. We had taken a day trip to Paris and were struggling to figure out the metro system because it's so different from the one in London. I found the platform we needed and the train was there and about to leave so I told her to run. I got on the train and I turn around and see that the first set of doors had already closed and she wasn't on the train. So I did the only thing I could think of and stuck my arm in the door to keep the train from leaving. Was it a good idea? Absolutely not. Could that have been very dangerous? Yes! Two men on the train saw my arm stuck and pried the door open but then the door shut again! So I am jabbering off in English to french men saying that I need the doors open for my blind friend. I must have sounded like a complete lunatic but I was so worried that we would get separated! Somehow, both sets of doors opened again and she was able to get on. In the moment it wasn't that funny, but now I think it's hysterical that my first thought was to stick my arm out. My second thought was "If my mom finds out I did this she'll kill me." Thankfully it all worked out though I do wish I could say that was the last time I got my arm stuck in a train door...
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best Summer Ever

I just came back from the most recent summer program and I absolutely had the best time of my life. I studied greek art and history, photography and painting while I was on Paros. I was so happy with how friendly and helpful all the staff were throughout the entire program. They made everything super clear so I never felt confused or nervous being across the world by myself. Paros began to feel like home very fast to me and by the end I had bittersweet feelings of leaving my home away from home. The balance between class time and free time was perfect and I always felt like I had time to explore and get to know the island better. You learn so much by going abroad and I wouldn't have picked a better place to relax, learn and grow as a person. HISA is great and I would recommend to anyone :)

What would you improve about this program?
One thing I would improve about the program is the accommodation that the students stayed at. Overall, it was a decent place but there were a collection of things that occurred and some interactions with the people who ran the hostel that made the living situation rocky at times. Wifi is not very good and air conditioners gave me a sore throat.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Couldn't be more content

I was a spring semester student at HISA, as a sophomore fine arts major, and it was the most productive and fulfilling semester I could have hoped for. We were all encouraged to craft our own expieriences, to be independent yet inclusive and adaptive.
Each professor was supportive and passionate about their subject, group trips around the islands gave us a beautiful perspective on Cyclades history and culture, our environment safe and beautiful. I was lucky enough to stay an extra month following the semester and got to help around with the summer programs as well, so I can vouch wholeheartedly for any HISA term :)
I would definitely recommend this to anyone, to both artists and folks who just need a break from regular school life.
already making plans to come for a second go!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Dont be afraid to explore the island(s) alone! It's an incredibly safe place and going on solo trips around classes gave me so much confidence and wider view of the island life.


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose Athena Study Abroad because the representatives from Athena that came to my school for the study abroad fair genuinely interested in getting to know me in order to better understand the best program for me. Furthermore, Athena Study Abroad had the most affordable programs I could find.

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

Athena Study Abroad had an amazing website with well-organized criteria. All of the travel, health forms, course-related material, and financial information was all included in a centralized application. My Athena advisor was incredibly timely in their responses to my questions and so easy to communicate with.

On the other hand, I was responsible for connecting with my home institution and gathering the needed forms for traveling abroad. I needed to get permission from my school to first go abroad then that the class I took was accepted as an elective through Lynchburg College. Lastly, I had to reach out to the study abroad center at my home university to look for scholarships.

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

I advise students to have an open mind to new experiences. Rather than saying that new things are weird or strange, I advise students to say interesting and different. Having an open mind allows students to get the best out of their study abroad experience. I also advise students to get to know the locals of an area rather than just the other students in their program. I got to know the locals in Tuscania, Italy and we began to recognize one another and reconnect every few days at a cafe.

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

The average day begins with class in the morning and early afternoon with nights off. I would usually have the morning to explore the town. Then in the afternoon, I would attend class for three hours a day, four days a week. On Fridays, we took an adventure to a local town and had the opportunity to see parks, basilicas, visit restaurants, and wine tastings. On top of the Friday outings, we took a field trip once a week for my wine and Culture of Italy course. With our meal vouchers, we began to cook lunch with local foods from the market and eat at a restaurant with our meal voucher for dinner!

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 going into my study abroad experience was fear of the unknown situations I would face in all aspects (new school, new town, new friends, going alone, etc.). I was able to overcome this fear by being patient and knowing that being nervous means you care. I was open and real with my new classmates/friends. Furthermore, the people from the school in Italy and my classmates were so kind and friendly that it made the transition easy.

What was your unforgettable experience in the program?

I had a funniest experience due to a language barrier was when I was at a cafe trying to order gelato and the worker did not speak any English. I was trying to point to the gelato flavor that I wanted and ended up saying the complete opposite flavor so I ended up with some strangely flavored gelato.

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