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College Year in Athens (CYA)

About

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.

Founded
1962
Headquarters

5 Plateia Stadiou
11635 Athens
Greece

Reviews

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Caitlyn
8/10

This was my first time traveling so I had some difficulties at first with this program. Because there are multiple colleges involved you don't travel there as a class. This meant that I had to fly to Greece and get from the airport to the academic building alone. This was a challenging and nerve-racking experience for me because I had never traveled before. However, I made it and once I was at the academic building it was smooth sailing from there. I had great roommates, ate a lot of good food, both in and outside of class, and really got to learn a lot. This best part about this program is that we lived in a local neighborhood which allowed interaction with locals and the opportunity to enjoy daily life as a local would. Class was very hands on and we learned a lot. As a class we did lots of different food tastings, but we also had the free time to explore and see what we wanted as well. Since the program has ended I've learned to appreciate olive oil more and even took to trying to grow some of my own food.

Response from College Year in Athens (CYA)

Thank you so much for your review Caitlyn! We agree, living in a local neighborhood gives you a very unique and special perspective! We also agree that the food is amazing :)

Yes, I recommend this program
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Danielle
10/10

I was very on the fence about studying abroad. I knew I wanted to travel at some point in college, but I wasn't sure if I chose the right time, the right location, or if I was prepared. I had never flown by myself, I had never traveled outside of North America, and I had worried parents who did not like the idea of a college aged woman traveling alone for the first time. To any parents reading this: please let your daughter travel! She will come back with so much joy and excitement and will be so grateful for the opportunity. To any girls reading this: take the risk! Going to Greece was the best decision I have ever made. Not only was my teacher fantastic, but I met some wonderful and adventurous people in my class. I felt completely comfortable maintaining an open conversation with my professor when I needed help. My favorite part of the class was the walking tours where the students researched which monuments we were looking at. This trip made me feel so confident in my ability to take care of myself and have fun in completely new and foreign surroundings. The most refreshing part was that my professor encouraged my class to explore. I have never heard an authority figure encourage trying new things and learning about a place for myself as much as I did in this class (usually these figures tell me: "be careful, don't try anything dangerous, stay close"). This was so beneficial to my education about Greece and my confidence in myself. If you are on the fence about going, you should go! Live your Mama Mia dream :)

How can this program be improved?
Travel to more surrounding islands with the class
Response from College Year in Athens (CYA)

Thank you so much for your review, and for sharing a little bit of your background Danielle! We agree, traveling can be a bit intimidating at first, but the adventure and memories you make are so worth it! Thank you again for sharing your perspective, and your pictures are amazing!

Yes, I recommend this program
Rosemary Wilson
Rosemary
10/10

My time abroad was everything I could have hoped for and more. I tried to go into my month in Greece without too many expectations, having developed them in prior situations and being let down when things went differently than I had expected. Greece, on the other hand, couldn't let anyone down - this I am sure of. Some of my favorite characteristics of Greece, found in both the city of Athens and in more rustic island settings, would include the merry personalities of people there, the delicious selection of food, the intriguing architecture, and the constantly ideal weather conditions. The first week and a half of my trip were spent in Athens where we had class for three hours a day and took many tours of culturally significant sites around the city such as the Acropolis museum. Our tutor, who had lived in Greece for at least 30 years at that point, explained many things about Greek culture in addition to background and historical information about the sites that we visited over the course of our time in Athens. Between going to class and writing for class, the girls I stayed with in our apartment made the most of our time in Greece by visiting nearby beaches on the weekends, going to a gym nearby our apartment in the mornings, and spending our nights out at tavernas drinking wine, getting to know each other, and observing the foreign environment around us. After Athens, we moved on to Nafplio, Greece, for a couple days, where we lived in a quaint hotel just below an ancient Portuguese castle towering over the city. Although Nafplio seemed to served as a sort of summer tourist destination for those living in Greece rather than a city normally inhabited by Greeks, it was a beautiful small town filled with gorgeous shops overflowing with enticing Greek jewelry and a mini version of the famous Syntagma Square in Athens surrounded by its fair share of comfy-looking tavernas with unbeatable prices for house wine. After Nafplio, we moved on to Poros for the final two weeks of the program. I certainly plan on returning to Poros some day, for it stole my heart and soul and was everything I could have ever hoped for when I first heard the words "Greek island". Just off the coast of the Greek Peloponnese sits Poros, a two-part island with one portion overcrowded with tourist shops and mini tavernas on the coast with spectacular views of the endless supply of fishing boats, visiting yachts and sailboats moving smoothly along the bright blue surface of the cheerful water between Poros and the Peloponnese. The other portion of Poros is more rural, scattered briefly with houses of more long-term residents and the occasional public beach with drink service and everything. All in all, my time in Greece felt similar to the best vacation I've ever had, except with a structure that kept me seeing things I had never seen before at a more organized and timely pace than if I had gone there alone with no true idea of where to start. I got to know locals and learned about their lives, dreams, and prospective futures, and had the opportunity to tell them about mine. I tasted food I had never had before, I went spearfishing, I spent endless hours in the sun enjoying a peaceful and reflective time in my life, and I met people that I fully intend on staying connected with. Prior to departing for my month in Greece, I was nervous that the experience would be too foreign to conquer and that I would leave still stunned by the exotic quality of it all, not knowing one lick of Greek and all. I was quite surprised by the end to find that I felt more or less acquainted with Greek culture by the end of just one month in that country. I would return in a heartbeat, just to spend more time there under the sun, learning from Greek people about their way of life and cultural traditions.

How can this program be improved?
The syllabus could be made a bit more clear and organized. Tour times and excursions could be more set in stone and communication could be slightly improved. Lunch times could be made to be a bit more flexible so that people exploring the city throughout the day wouldn’t have to stop what they are doing midday to return to the cafeteria area. Other than that, A+ experience with so much to offer.
Response from College Year in Athens (CYA)

Thank you so much for your review Rosemary! It sounds like your time with CYA this summer had a hugely positive impact on you, and we love to hear about how much you enjoyed your time! Also, your pictures look amazing!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Alexandra
8/10

As a Greek American, it was such a fascinating experiencing learning about my culture alongside people who knew simultaneously knew nothing about it. The fact that someone who knows so much about Greece can still learn new things through CYA speaks to the quality of the class. I took MS325 The Anthropology of Food in Greece with Dr. Aimee Placas and both the class and the professor were amazing. Specifically, Aimee was so passionate about what she taught and really encouraged her students to have an open-minded attitude throughout their study abroad experience. The program itself was unique in that all the classes are focused on Greek culture or history, allowing student to learn hands-on (ex. one day my class learned about coffee consumption in Greece and then went to a local coffee shop to get the experience for ourselves). I would highly recommend CYA for anyone looking to explore a new culture through an academic lens.

Response from College Year in Athens (CYA)

Thank you so much for your review Alexandra! Also, thank you for sharing your experience through your particular perspective as a Greek American! We love hearing how much you enjoyed the Anthropology of Food in Greece course, and we agree that our professors are truly dedicated to their fields! We hope that you'll keep in touch!

Yes, I recommend this program
Black and white photo of me at the Acropolis
Julissa
10/10

The professors were deeply engaging and were not afraid to go off in-class schedule if it meant spending a little longer discussing certain themes or ideas. Also, because I was taking a travel writing course, they really encouraged getting to know our surroundings on more intimate levels. This meant, talking to locals, exploring parts of the town alone or regularly writing personal journals documenting our time there. CYA constantly reminded us that because we were in places outside of our native homes, we were bound to develop in ways unexpected to us, and the persons we started out as, would change during the middle and by then end of the program, Which was okay! It was all part of the process, and you have to trust it.

Some useful tips: it is possible to travel on a budget! You absolutely do not need to spend loads of money to find a worthwhile experience (every experience you have is worthwhile and necessary). I only carried with me 500 euros for a month and didn't spend any more than that. With that, I was able to buy souvenirs for family back home, plan a trip to a neighboring island and go horseback riding, eat gelato almost everyday, and pay for 2-3 meals a day including other indulgences, as well as my own laundry. Don't try to be extravagant, just learn to simmer in where you are.

Additionally, be realistic with your travels. I was lucky enough at CYA to visit three beautiful areas in Greece, Athens, Nafplio, and Poros. On my own time with friends, I travelled to one other island, Aegina, but while others went to the famous Santorini or Mykonos, I did not. And that is totally fine. I didn't visit every island or major city in Greece in my 4 week stay because if I had, I wouldn't have given them each their due. Explore the places you can, and don't sideline the places in your backyard.

How can this program be improved?
Of course, I am tempted to say more time, because I still wish I was in Greece but there is not much that needs improving. The workload is a bit challenging but I didn't come to Greece just for vacation, I wanted to learn. And professors were really accommodating and were okay with us prioritizing the experience of Greece more so than readings as long as we could still keep up with the pace of the class and contribute to discussions.
Yes, I recommend this program

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