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Athena Study Abroad


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.


169 Main St.
Greenville, PA 16125
United States


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My time on Paros was one of the best times of my life. There was never a dull moment in the trip and it was full of adventures. Because of the small program size I was able to bond with my classmates and get to know all of them on a more personal level. I made some lifelong friends on the trip and that’s something that makes me very happy. The professors are very chill and want you to do well. They are open to suggestions and are very understanding. They are willing to work with you to make sure you get the most out of the program. Throughout the program you have 24 hour access to the studios and classrooms. This was very helpful when there were late night and early morning work sessions. Greek people are very curious about art and would often stop and watch us as we painted or drew.

The walk to school is right along the water. This gives you a front row seat to the ferries coming and leaving the port. You can watch shops start to open up around Easter and as the summer season comes closer. The island has no shortage of things to do. There are plenty of beaches to walk to and cafes to chill in. The night life on the island is very relaxed and bars are open until late in the night. The local shop owners quickly recognize you as a regular and are incredibly friendly and start conversations. It wasn’t long before my favorite coffee shop knew my order as soon as I walked in the door.

Over a month into the three month program my phone fell off the ferry into the Aegean Sea. Because of this I was able to immerse myself more in the culture and program than I would’ve if I was still connected at the hip with my phone. Instead of taking pictures of everything I saw, I focused on the beauty of what was in front of me. Every time I was waiting for food or coffee I would look out at the sea instead of playing a game of solitaire on my phone or texting. It provided a refreshing detox for me.

I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to spend a semester on Paros. My confidence grew and I realized that I am capable of more than I thought. This trip was very inspiring for me and it showed in my artwork and writing. Paros really became a second home to me and I can’t wait to plan my next trip back.

Yes, I recommend this program
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The academic program here was exceptional, I received plenty of help and attention from my teachers, in each of my classes. In studio classes I got personalized guidance and meaningful answers, and classrooms topics were easy to get into and understand.
The program leads an excursion to other towns and islands almost every weekend, which is a great way to experience the Cycladic Island life, and a great way to get to know fellow students. We went to museums, explored archaeology sites, and took long hikes through both the countryside and old town streets. All of it was worthwhile.
Personally, I spent a lot of time relaxing on the beaches within walking distance of the apartments, or drinking too many iced cappuccinos in cafes. Between getting coffees there's plenty of options for food (gyros are affordable and delicious). I would definitely recommend the vegetable market (so many different veggies, all easily within anyone's budget). There's plenty of options for eating out, too, at a full price range.
All of these cafes and restaurants are obviously run by greeks, and most speak English much better than I speak Greek, but making an effort goes a long with with getting to know the locals.
The teachers here will work with you on a personal level, and will do all that they can to help you succeed in your own way. The local Greek life is something I hope to return to. The Cyclades have an vast and tangible history, and the sea and mountains are just as beautiful. Paroikia is a wonderful place to grow as an artist and a person, but for me the greatest part is the chance to experience three months in an exciting new place with people from all over the U.S. and beyond. The program is a great academic step to take, but my greatest take-away was the time I spend making friends.

How can this program be improved?
It would be nice to have a longer program!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Studying abroad presented a huge challenge because I am such a homebody. I wanted to see the world but I was hesitant to leave my family and familiarity. Since I chose an independent program, I didn't have any friends to accompany me in my travels. I was so nervous to be alone. I did not expect to meet people I didn't want to leave. I have friends from studying abroad that live all across the states. I've already visited them three times since leaving Italy! I miss Florence SO much. I'd give anything to be back in the streets that smell of panini and fresh bread. Studying abroad has made this homebody itch with the travel bug. I've kept an entire journal of useful tips! For those of you about to study abroad - get out every single day to do something new. That could just be trying a new café, but experience every little detail your country has to offer.

How can this program be improved?
Athena was so helpful throughout my study abroad experience - start to finish. I think something that could be improved is having more of an opportunity to connect with people that also studied abroad in your country. It would give people someone to talk to about all of their amazing stories (family gets sick of it after awhile).
Yes, I recommend this program
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In the summer of 2017, I had the privilege of traveling to Tuscania, Italy for a month with Athena Study Abroad. I studied Wine and Culture where my professor Claudio Sarti, a wine sommelier, taught how various wines are made, differences between certain grapes, wine regionalism, and how to properly taste wine. I was even able to bring my new wine skills back to my home where I taught my immediate and extended family about Italian wine and tasting techniques. In addition, I was able to learn so much about the importance of getting to know another culture as well as stepping outside of your comfort zone. This is an important experience for all able students to undergo; because you learn how to communicate in alternative means if you do not speak the native language, build lifelong friendships, learn about the interconnectedness of the globe, learn about the history of a new culture through tourism, and experience a new culture through education. Not only are you fully emerged into Italian culture, but studying abroad provides for learning about the methods and teachings of international universities. Tuscania is such a unique program because it is located in a small town tucked in the Italian countryside. This experience is like no other because you form bonds with locals you may see every day at the town center. Furthermore, the staff at Lorenzo de' Medici are phenomenal. Every Friday the staff took us on an adventure around the region. We toured a winery, visited a park full of stone carvings, went to a cherry festival, and walked around an old town. The experience I had was incredible because I truly was immersed in Italian culture where most townspeople did not know English, therefore I was forced to communicate with a lot of hand gestures. Unlike studying in Rome or Florence where most people speak English, I was fully integrated into Italian culture. Because Tuscania is an hour from Rome and three hours from Florence, I had the opportunity to travel to both cities for fun weekend trips with the friends I made through the program. I now have a broader understanding of the interconnectedness of the world and how important it is to get to know a different culture especially because the world is becoming so much smaller through social media.

How can this program be improved?
This program can be improved in the options for weekend travel that are provided for the school. Some of the friends I met went through another study abroad program and they paid extra to visit Florence. I also visited Florence but had to do all the travel research on my own. I did learn valuable planning skills, but it would be nice to have a package upgrade for some weekend adventures.
Yes, I recommend this program
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While I did enjoy the semester in Aberdeen overall, there were some unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances that made it a bit difficult. Some were not any fault of the program, but the university and their professors, though there were a few issues from the program. I arrived late unfortunately, and was promised orientation materials that I never received, for example. Once the program had found out about my issues, however, they did work to help solve them best they could, and kept in contact with me, so I very much appreciate it. I loved the location of the dorm next to the park, even if it's a bit of a walk from campus, however it was a bit of a party area, so noise was a big factor. I also loved the proximity of the ocean to campus, the dozens of unique society opportunities open to me, and the museums/events around the city, not to mention the quick access to amazing castle ruins, and sports areas.

How can this program be improved?
Working closer with the university involving classes and professors
Response from Athena Study Abroad

Hi Jessie,

We're glad to hear that you had a positive time with us in Aberdeen despite the technical difficulties surrounding the university's multiple attempts to get you the orientation information after your late arrival and the miscommunications between you and your professors. We are happy that we could be of great support to you during your semester abroad and, as always, if you need anything at all going forward please do not hesitate to reach out to us!

The Athena Team

Yes, I recommend this program


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