College Year in Athens (CYA)
98% Rating
(12 Reviews)

College Year in Athens (CYA)

CYA Applications Open - Study Abroad in Greece!
We are now accepting applications for Spring 2018 Semester: January 22 - May 18, 2018.
Learn more or apply at our website!

CYA is a non-profit educational institution that offers semester, academic year, and summer study abroad programs in Greece. We offer an academically rigorous program of studies combined with the vibrant experience of day-to-day contact with the people, monuments, and landscape of Greece and the Mediterranean - a rapidly changing region with a uniquely varied past.

We place an emphasis on learning beyond the classroom, providing you with hands-on learning in the rich environment of Greece. Many classes are held on-site and many students participate in service learning, internships, and volunteering, adding a new dimension to learning and a global understanding of the subject.

CYA is dedicated to fostering personal discovery, growth, and cross-cultural sensitivity. Our ultimate goal is for you to return home academically inspired, intellectually stimulated, and with a passionate commitment to the furtherance of international and intercultural understanding.

Most Recent Program Reviews

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Matthew
Male
21 years old
Canada
University of Notre Dame

Time of My Life

10/10

I truly had the best experience in Greece that I could have wanted. I got to learn about Greece's history, politics, and philosophy, and from those who were experts in their fields. I had class at the Acropolis, the Palace of Knossos, Aristotle's Prison, and the Ancient Agora. Can many other college kids say that had that opportunity??

The best part about CYA is how encouraging the people are. Greek people are so incredibly friendly, and will do anything to make you feel like you are at home. CYA takes that to a whole new level. From the cleaning staff, to the professors, to the administrators, CYA makes you feel like you are part of a big family. The professors are passionate about what they teach, which makes you passionate about learning the material. It doesn't even feel like school work!

I got to travel all around Greece, and all around Europe. I got to see places that I never would have seen if I were traveling on my own. Greece is a beautiful country, and I am so glad that CYA gave me the opportunity to experience all of it. I am so beyond grateful to this program!

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Claire
Female
21 years old
United States
University of Pennsylvania

Fulfilled every cliché!

10/10

Whenever I asked anyone how their experience abroad was, I received the same phrases every time: "amazing!" "completely life changing!" "best four months of my life!" I boarded the plane to Athens, Greece, nervous and unsure about what to expect from CYA– but safe to say the experience fulfilled every single expectation I had. When I returned, I was the one using all those cliché phrases to describe my time abroad, and meaning every single one of them.

The best part of CYA is the people. I love that they draw from colleges all over the US, it allowed me to make some truly amazing friends and greatly helped the adjustment to a new country as we were all figuring it out together. The professors and staff were unparalleled as well. They truly cared greatly about the students and went out of their way to help us find activities and new things to experience. One of my professors invited our class over for a traditional Greek meal at his apartment. Not only were we able to see a different neighborhood of Athens with stunning sweeping views of the city, but it was wonderful to experience that one of a kind Greek hospitality firsthand through sharing a meal with friends. None of my professors at my home institution have ever opened their home up to us like this.

The academic aspect of the program is outstanding due to the integration of on site classes and field trips!! My archeology class often was held on top of the acropolis! The field trips to Crete, Delphi, and the Peloponnese were my favorite aspects of the program. You are never going to experience learning this way anywhere else!

I recommend this program to anyone. It's a stunningly beautiful country with a true sense of hospitality. I left Greece with a greater appreciation for life, newfound confidence and independence, and some life-long friendships. It's an experience that will stay with you forever.

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Lauren
Female
4 months old
Chapel Hill, NC
University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill

An Experience I'll Never Forget!

10/10

CYA was one of the best academic experiences I've had while at university! My program allowed me to travel throughout Greece (Santorini, Crete, and other places on the Mainland -- along with staying in Athens) and learn a great deal about the art history and archaeology of Ancient Greece. I was very focused on preparing for the trip and I was a bit stressed beforehand, but as soon as I checked in with my program at CYA, the stress melted away. The housing accommodations, while we were traveling and while in Athens, were always very comfortable, well air conditioned, and roomy. We spent quite a bit of time with our class and on field trips, but there was also plenty of time during the day to make our own plans outside of the program itself. For example, while we were on Santorini, we had a free day in which I and some other students in my class went to Oia for the day. The professors and staff were always helpful and willing to offer suggestions and advice. Our professor recommended restaurants to us and helped us navigate the public transportation system in Athens. Post-program, I felt that the experience I had with CYA in Greece had positively impacted my academic goals. I plan on pursuing my education further, after my undergrad, potentially studying ancient history further. I want to work and live abroad, for part of my life, and I feel like that goal is definitely more attainable now that I've had this experience with CYA. Overall, I would highly recommend this program to someone who wants to learn a lot while still experiencing Greece in its entirety! My biggest tip is not to worry, to be open-minded, and to always carry cash!

How can this program be improved?

The only thing I would change about this program would be the cafeteria. It was a nice space, but they only served lunch during weekdays, and it wasn't some of the better food I experienced in Greece. But there was no additional cost for meals and it was very close to my apartment and academic center!

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Jamie
Female
21 years old
United States
Emory University

A year I didn't want to end

10/10

It would be an incredible feat if I could sit here and express all the gratitude and love I have for this country, its people, and the program that immersed me in all of it. My life changed because of my year in Greece, and College Year in Athens made that absolutely possible, with the best of their ability. It would have been so easy to let myself be sheltered in my little Pagkrati apartment, but CYA knows how to reach out to even the most shy of students. There was never any shortage of activities outside of schoolwork to immerse students in the culture: I went on hikes with a Greek hiking group most Sundays, and traveled to parts of Greece that most other students never see. I went sailing for three days around the Saronic islands, and I even got to sail to Mykonos. I tried Greek dancing (keyword, tried, but definitely enjoyed) and volunteered in the Agora archives and handled original 1930’s excavation notebooks! Then for the summer (because I couldn’t stand to leave after spring term ended), I became an au pair to a wonderful Greek family.
I packed years of experience into my single year in Greece, and all of that was done with guidance from CYA. They truly respect their students as adults, and that’s why the classes are also as engaging and diverse as they are. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had class on the Acropolis, but I know I’ve been inside the Parthenon twice because of those classes. With the care of one professor, I presented my first academic paper and performed in a comedy by Aristophanes. CYA even provides trips to Crete, Delphi, the Peloponnese, and Thessaloniki led by the wonderful professors who bring not only the ancient and modern history of the places, but also the personal familiarity and humor you can’t find with a typical tour guide.
Of course, since being back in the States, I miss the real Greek gyros and the strong coffee. I miss the friendliness of the shop owners who took personal interests in your life and helped you learn Greek along the way. I miss the weekly farmer’s markets that packed every fruit and vegetable you can imagine. I miss wandering the streets of Athens and using the Acropolis as a personal compass. And not even the last, certainly not the least, I miss the crystal waters of the Aegean. Hopefully, it won’t be too long until I’m back there again, and I encourage everyone to experience this same amazing, unforgettable adventure.

How can this program be improved?

I would have loved some sort of conversation partner program, perhaps with Greek university students!

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Felipe
Male
35 years old
Canada
Acadia University

Greece went beyond my expectations

9/10

When I arrived in Athens, my expectation was that throughout the program there would be time to enjoy the program and also to enjoy the beach. In Athens, the beach is just half an hour away from Pagkrati by tram. It’s a quick ride that takes to the waterfront where there are many restaurants like Eden where authentic Greek food is available for a reasonable price and the service is excellent. If you are one of those who don’t like quick trips and packing every day to move from one city to the other, staying in Athens is not a waste of time.

I chose to live on a homestay because my initial goal was to make local friends. My host parents were fantastic. They were there for me to help me with homework, to go shopping, and to spend some quality time on the weekends. Regardless of their agenda, my host mother was always trying to tell me what was on theaters, where to go during the weekends and she also introduced me to friends of hers including one girl my age that was a student at CYA in the past. I felt safe with them and the amenities that came with a host family impressed me. I learned how to use the transportation in Athens and became the go to person to give directions to other students on how to get to many places in town. I discovered that the new public library in Athens offers more things to do on the weekends then I could fit on my schedule. I took sailing lessons there. It sounds strange to take sailing lessons at a library, I know… It’s a unique place and they host concerts among many other things.

I decided to spend a year in Athens because my traveling experiences are longer than what is common. I didn’t get bored… My friends took me to the Acropolis, I went with my friends to the top of the city for souvlaki, another friend and I had breakfast the Acropolis Museum’s café and even though Cape Sounion – where the temple of Poseidon is located – is a bit far for an afternoon trip I went there a few times; during the summer, I spent the day at the beach using the infrastructure of a local hotel where we had a bar, restrooms and chairs to tan. Athens has so many movie theaters… Watching Café Society by Woody Allen in an open-air theater called Cine Paris was quite remarkable. We were on a large group and took almost a whole row.
At first my academics looked boring. I had to choose one course to fill in my schedule and it looked like it was going be a hassle to sit there and study a way of life. I came to class skeptical to anything I could learn. It turned out to be my favorite course. Coming to Athens to study the past is a common thing; learning about contemporary culture like graffiti that is such a strong icon in Athens, burial rituals and even musical movements changed my understanding of Athens. We didn’t practice any burial ritual but we went to a cemetery to see an ossuary (part of Greek culture for millennia); I looked at graffiti with my classmates where it is more vibrant in town. It was truly a good way to engage with a city knowing some details about Greek culture that before many other students it would go unnoticed. Athens is wonderful. If you are thinking about a city to spend a semester, or a year like I did, it will surprise you. I don’t want to spoil the surprise and tell you about the trips around the country. What I can tell you is that Greece is way more than the little islands with white houses. Thanks to my anthropology professor and to the wonderful staff that organizes the trips across the country, now I know that.

How can this program be improved?

If I could have more Greek students to hang out with...

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