CYA

CYA (College Year in Athens)

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.

COVID-19 FAQ

Curious about how Greece & CYA has handled the COVID-19 crisis so far, and how we’re preparing for upcoming semesters? Check out the COVID-19 FAQ on our website here:
Founded
1962
Headquarters

5 Plateia Stadiou
11635 Athens
Greece

Reviews

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Kelli
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I highly recommend this program! I studied abroad with CYA during Spring 2020-and yes, that means I was only abroad from January through the middle of March. But the time that I spent in Greece was a blast, and I'm thankful for every second. Athens is very unique, being a connector between Europe and Eastern countries, meaning that while you can also travel places that everyone studying abroad in Europe travels to- Paris, London, Venice, etc., you can also go really amazing places like Istanbul and Tel Aviv during your free time abroad. CYA is a really well done program, and my favorite part was the one (ideally of two, but cut due to coronavirus) week long trip we took with the entire program around the Peloponnese region of Greece. While CYA, like almost all study abroad programs, has a few optional trips on weekends scheduled that you can sign up and pay extra money for, they also schedule week long field trips around Greece, like this, whose costs are already configured into your tuition. They're lead by professors and, in complete honesty, are very educational, but they're also a blast, as you get to travel with your friends on the program and go places in Greece that would be difficult to access on your own without a car, like Olympia, Sparta, and Nafplio. From someone who has studied abroad on another program, these 2 week-long trips really set CYA apart from any other study abroad company that I know. Additionally, they handled the coronavirus situation very well. They kept us in Greece as long as they could, but were also accommodating of students who chose to leave earlier. The communication on their end was clear: We're a family, and we want you to stay in Athens just as much as you do, but your safety is first and even when you go home, you'll still be part of the family. Being in Greece, a place that has handled the situation incredibly well so far, I was able to stay abroad as long as was physically possible, and all of the professors were kind and understanding upon my return home. I've said it many times, and I'll say it again: CYA was the program to be abroad with during the crisis. Overall, my experience with CYA was wonderful, and I'd encourage anyone else thinking about studying abroad with them to go for it.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take advantage of every minute! and every museum!
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Kelli, thank you for your positive review of CYA. We too love our study tours for their academics but also because it is so fun exploring Greece through our students' eyes. Thank you for looking at the semester with a positive lens, whil eno one expected the semester to go the way it did, we hope you will come back and visit Athens soon. Remember to keep in touch, we'll always be your CYA family.

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Emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had such an amazing time that I was absolutely crushed to return home due to the COVID19 pandemic. It was clear that the CYA staff truly cared and I still receive daily emails from professors hoping that their students are well. The classes are very hands on and informative. The program also provides 2 weeks of travel throughout Greece with the program which provided me with valuable knowledge regarding Greek culture and history.

The apartments are singles and doubles located conveniently near CYA. I had a very spacious single with my own balcony! Any time there was an issue with the apartment CYA would respond that day.

Greek food is absolutely amazing and Athens also has restaurants with all types of food (and not just Greek food). The pricing is also extremely reasonable in Greece. If I went out for a gyro it would typically lost less than 3 euros.

For those who do not know Athens is a HILLY city and CYA has an urban location. This was my first time living in an urban area, but CYA facilitated a smooth transition and I always felt safe and comfortable.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do not expect to make best friends the first day, or even week. Studying abroad is a big, scary decision. Everyone else feels that same pressure too. Take the time to put yourself out there, be yourself, and don't be afraid to try new things!
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Genevieve
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I highly recommend this program! I learned so much both inside and outside the classroom. The location is perfect and my professors, particularly my archaeology ones, conducted classes on site. I learned so much about Greece through both mandatory and optional field trips that CYA provides, and they helped me locate unique extracurricular opportunities such as a marble-carving class! I lived with a host family which provided me with an immersive cultural experience and delicious home-cooked Greek food. The faculty and staff greatly care about the students and do everything to give us the most fun and educational experience possible. I made plenty of friendships that last even now that I'm back home, and I am grateful to have such an unforgettable experience!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Fully take advantage of everything CYA offers! The optional trips are worth signing up for, and all the extra emails from CYA about cultural opportunities are definitely worth taking a look at. The staff are very approachable so if you are looking for a specific thing to do in Greece, ask them and they will want to help you!
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Genevieve, thank you so much for your review of CYA! We are happy to hear that you took advantage of all of the extracurriculars CYA offers its students. We hope you visit Greece again in the future and remember to keep in touch.

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Liv
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

College Year in Athens provided me with the best study abroad experience possible! I made so many incredible friends, saw so many unbelievable places, and learned so many amazing things! I recommend this program to all students, and cannot talk it up enough!

I was academically stimulated the whole time, in an array of subjects that I found interesting. All of the staff and administration are so supportive and I'm still in touch with several people from the program! The entire experience was enriching and accommodating!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take advantage of every extracurricular you can - travel among the islands, take a cooking class, go to the farmers' market! Everything you do will be a brand new experience, and one you will never forget!
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Liv, thank you for your positive review of CYA. CYA prides itself on having unique and stimulating classes so we are happy to hear that you felt academically stimulated in your classes. Please remember to stay in touch and we hope you visit Athens and Greece again!

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Erin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CYA's "Anthropology of the City: Exploring Modern Athens" winter term class was one of my favorite classes I have ever taken. Classes rarely took place in the physical classroom - instead CYA took full advantage of its convenient location in the heart of the city and sent us out with our professor to explore it. We analyzed different spaces all over the city from neighborhood farmers markets and shopping malls, to street art in political neighborhoods and even Greek nightlife in one of Athens’ party districts. This class is the perfect blend of academics with fun and adventure, and taught me that there isn’t a single space in the city that can’t be the site of interesting anthropological research. This class would appeal to students with a wide variety of interests, including not only Anthropology but also Urban Studies, Sociology, Political Science, Architecture - or simply anyone interested in learning about what life in Athens is like. As someone who spent winter term and the following semester with CYA, this class was the perfect introduction to my time in Athens and the lessons I learned from it about Greek culture and what it meant to be an Athenian were invaluable to me. The Anthropology of the City class fits a lot of material and adventures into a short period of time, so even if you are not staying for the semester, I guarantee you will still get a lot out of this short but sweet study abroad experience with CYA.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
While taking the Anthropology of the City course, I found that I had a lot of free time. I would advise future students of this program to take advantage of your short time in Athens, as there is so much to see and experience. Conquer jet lag early, and don't spend much time in the apartments. Get out and explore while you can!

Programs

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6
CYA (College Year in Athens)
CYA - Study in Greece (Semester Program)
Greece
9.58 •50 reviews

CYA has offered study abroad programs in a wide range of academic...

CYA (College Year in Athens)
CYA - Study in Greece (Summer Program)
Greece
9.8 •20 reviews

Students interested in short-term, intensive study abroad are invited...

CYA (College Year in Athens)
CYA - Study in Greece (Academic Year Program)
Greece
9.83 •6 reviews

CYA has offered study abroad programs for over 50 years, originally...

CYA (College Year in Athens)
CYA - Study in Greece (Winter/ J-Term Program)
Greece
10 •1 review

CYA’s Winter intersession program offers classes in Anthropology or...

CYA (College Year in Athens)
CYA Virtual Internships
Greece
New Program

CYA has been overseeing internships and volunteerism for students for...

CYA (College Year in Athens)
CYA - Gap Year Program in Greece
Greece
New Program

CYA’s Fall 2020 Gap Program, Learning from the Ancients: a Hands-on...

Alumni Interviews

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

Hayley Segall

Hayley is a student at Oberlin College (class of 2020) majoring in religion and double minoring in politics and rhetoric & composition. She is passionate about her career path in interfaith/intercultural communication and perceives traveling as one of the best and most privileged ways to educate herself and make tangible connections with people of various cultures and backgrounds.

Why did you choose this program?

When I was choosing where to apply, my study abroad advisor told me how familial and communal life is in Greece. He described how Greek people often participate in extremely direct and honest conversation and welcome you into their home with open arms. When I heard this, I was reminded of my own family and it gave me immense comfort to know that I could experience a completely different culture and geography while also maintaining the values I hold near to my heart.

Every hope that I had about Greek culture was affirmed through my experience with CYA. By choosing this program, I was able to live in a local neighborhood detached from the artificiality of tourism. I was able to make real connections with locals and challenge myself to see daily life from a very different political and cultural perspective. Yet, no matter how great the differences were, I always found that my program and neighborhood facilitated and cherished a warm and welcoming attitude that made me feel as though I had a true home in Athens.

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

At the beginning of the semester, CYA provided a comprehensive list of contacts for extracurriculars ranging from sports to volunteer opportunities to craft-based activities. Through this list, I was able to connect with the Orange House Project, which is a non-profit in Athens that serves the refugee population. Volunteering with the Orange House Project was an incredibly important aspect of my study abroad experience.

CYA also took us on three program-led trips in Greece: Delphi, the Peloponnese and Thessaloniki. These trips were completely organized by the administration, but we were almost always responsible for our own food. CYA did offer to help with other personal travel itineraries, but I think most of my friends and I did that planning on our own.

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

One piece of advice that I would give to someone going abroad, in general, and specifically in Greece, is that learning the basics of the native language is essential for a fully immersive study abroad. I had absolutely no experience with Greek and took a basic level of Greek language and culture class at CYA.

While I have always had trouble and anxiety surrounding language-learning, I loved my professor at CYA and felt so comfortable practicing my Greek in her classroom and in my neighborhood. Almost everyone in Athens can communicate with you in English, but whenever I at least attempted to use my Greek, I found that people were far more receptive to me. Learning and practicing Greek helped me make connections with locals because people were so excited to understand why I was learning the language and almost always offered to help me with my homework (whether I asked or not).

Learning the language is both a sign of respect and an extremely helpful tool in battling a sense of isolation in a new culture.

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

An average week is different for everyone. I did have some regularity to my schedule, but often enjoyed not knowing how my days would end up.

In the mornings, I would always go to the local gym about a half-mile up the street, shower and then go to class. I would have program-provided lunch between classes and then head to one of my three favorite neighborhood coffee shop. Coffee culture in Greece is huge (I went to a coffee shop on average once to twice a day). I would then spend my evenings with friends by going to dinner, going out in other parts of Athens, or exploring the tourist/local parts of the city.

I would have classes from Monday-Thursday and would spend most weekends either traveling around Greece or taking a few side trips to other countries.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

One of my biggest fears about going abroad was that I would feel completely isolated from my environment and that I would shut down and miss out on important experiences.

I overcame this fear by both challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone while also cutting myself slack by taking time to myself when I needed it. Small moments of bravery led to some of the most impactful experiences: trying out Greek with someone I don't know, intentionally getting lost in a new neighborhood, volunteering with a local organization. Yet, it was also so important for me to recognize that it is ok to need alone time and that designated alone time can actually help lessen a sense of isolation.

I learned so much by simply observing my surroundings at coffee shops alone and going for daily runs around the historical sites and natural landscapes.

What happens when things go wrong? How do you best prepare for the inevitable sicknesses, travel issues and personal troubles that arise when abroad?

In short, remember to take a breath and find a contact where you are to mediate the situation. As long as you are in no immediate danger, you truly are ok. Take everything as an experience in and of itself.

When I was in Crete, a massive storm hit the island and my friends and I found ourselves stuck on the island for two days longer than intended. It was initially extremely stressful to figure out how to handle delayed and canceled flights in a foreign language and unfamiliar place. Yet, after we took a deep breath, my friends and I found that Aegean Airlines was more than willing to pay for our hotels, food, and transportation.

When my friend became sick in Athens, another friend and I took her to the hospital. We were all overwhelmed by the unfamiliarity of the procedures in Greek hospitals, but called our program and had them translate for us. It's ok to ask questions and to ask for help!

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Alexia Lingaas

Job Title
Institutional Relations Manager
Alexia is Greek-American who split her time growing up between New York and Thessaloniki. She has fond memories of spending summers in Greece traveling to the beautiful islands.

Alexia studied International Affairs at Northeastern University and completed 4 different study abroad programs. She later pursued her MA in Higher Education Administration and began her career in the field of international education.

She has a passion for creating meaningful learning experiences for students around the world.

What is your favorite travel memory?

It is very hard to choose just one! Spending every summer in Greece growing up really gives me many memories to choose from.

If I had to pick one, it would be from a trip to Greece 3 years ago that I organized for myself and 20 of my friends from home. We spent the first couple of days in Athens and then traveled to Mykonos, Ios, and Santorini. It was everyone's first time in Greece and I had a blast showing them all the beautiful things that this country has to offer!

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have been with CYA for almost 4 years. When I first started at CYA, I was 2 years into the field of higher education and still learning many things. CYA has enabled me to advance professionally through various conferences, trips, and connections.

I have also learned a tremendous amount from my colleagues in Athens. I have not only grown professionally from CYA but personally as well.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

We have created an amazing ambassador program at CYA and the wonderful stories we get to hear each semester really are inspiring. The best story I have heard is from a former CYA semester student who changed her major after studying abroad at CYA and decided to pursue a track in higher education so that she could enable students to study abroad and offer them this life-changing opportunity!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would definitely choose CYA's fall semester program. The program begins in September when the weather in Greece is still optimal for travel to the islands. CYA's semester programs also include 3 study-travel trips that take students around Greece and this is a wonderful opportunity to explore outside of Athens.

A semester also gives you the time to really get to know a country, it's people, the food and to make life-long friendships with some amazing people.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

CYA has a great story, starting as a Classics Program 50+ years ago with ONLY a handful of students and transforming into a provider that offers courses in social sciences/humanities, business, psychology and many more.

I am so proud of the way that CYA continues to grow each day. Here at CYA we really value the type of experience that the student will have and we strive to make it an unforgettable one!

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

There are many attributes that define what a successful company looks like.

In Higher Education, it is imperative that institutions and organizations are able to meet the need for a constantly changing student body and environment. Institutions must be able to adapt and be flexible in order to serve the needs of the next generation of students.

Listening to your market and your clients is key to success.

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