CYA

CYA (College Year in Athens)

Why choose CYA (College Year in Athens)?

CYA (College Year in Athens) is a non-profit educational institution that has been acting as a cultural and educational bridge between the U.S. and Greece for nearly 60 years. Our study abroad program helps students to develop new perspectives on the world, their own countries and themselves.

CYA offers outstanding academic programs (semester, year, winter and summer) and Virtual Internships programs all of which embrace the vibrant experience of day-to-day contact with the people, the monuments and the landscape of Greece. All the programs place an emphasis on learning beyond the classroom, offering hands-on learning experience in the rich and diverse environment of the country. Our extensive curriculum is complemented by on-site classes adding a new dimension to learning as well as a global understanding of the subjects taught.
Our CYA expert faculty and passionate staff are dedicated to offer students the best learning and life changing experience.

Diversity & Inclusion

BIPOC Support

Our page on diversity in contemporary Greek society gives a little more background on the local context regarding race and ethnicity. We would also be happy to put you in touch with a CYA alum of a similar background, so you have the chance to chat with another student about how the experience was for them.

LGBTQIA+ Support

Our page on diversity in contemporary Greek society gives a little more background on LGBTQIA+ issues in Greece. We would also be happy to put you in touch with an LGBTQIA+ CYA alum, so you have the chance to chat with another student about how the experience was for them.

Accessibility Support

CYA will work with both you and your home institution if you have disabilities or are alter-abled, and need accommodations as part of your study abroad with us. It is important to be in communication so that we can plan together, and ensure that your experience is a success. We would also be happy to put you in touch with a CYA alum, so you have the chance to chat with another student about how the experience was for them.

Reviews

Default avatar
Lilly
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Ideal abroad experience!

CYA provided me with the best abroad experience I could have asked for. Throughout this program, I felt supported academically, emotionally, and culturally every step of the way. Any question I had about life in Greece, whether it be where to find the best souvlaki or what I should do if I need to see a doctor, were answered. As someone who had never lived in a city before, let alone one where I don't know the language or even the alphabet, I was very nervous about spending my time abroad in Athens. However, once I became familiar with College Year in Athens, I immediately felt more at ease. I'll never forget our first orientation meeting when the president of the program told us that if we need any help, they have it covered, and if we need someone to argue for us in Greek, they have that covered too. The respect that this program has for their students is unbeatable. The lengths that the administration goes to in order to assure that you have a safe, comfortable, educational, and fun time abroad is demonstrated every day. By studying through a smaller program made for American students, I was able to meet people my age going through a similar once in a lifetime opportunity, while also taking classes in English. CYA fosters a close-knit community that cultivates connections that will last far beyond the months you'll spend in Athens.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future travelers on this program is to utilize every opportunity College Year in Athens offers. Though I don't have a background in classics, one of my favorite parts of CYA was our field study trips. Through these trips we were able to not only travel all across Greece, but see, first-hand, its ancient past and history. These trips also provide students with the opportunity to connect with one another and get to know each other outside the classroom. Alongside these trips, CYA offers many student affairs activities, which I was incredibly grateful for during my time there. Through activities like craft nights, Wednesday yoga, and tours of the best thrift shops in Athens, I was able to see more of the city and my classmates in a fun, relaxed, environment.
Pros
  • School provided trips
  • Acommodations close to school
  • Classes taught in English
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Hi Lilly, thanks for sharing your experience with CYA! We are so happy to hear that you enjoyed your time in Greece and felt supported throughout the whole program. We hope you can come back and visit us soon!

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Anna
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Country, Amazing Program

I had such a blast and met the greatest people thanks to this program. We were heavily supported by the program' administrators and thoroughly fell in love in Greece. The classes were interesting and very relevant to the atmosphere and history of Greece and Athens but weren't overwhelming. The program trips also made the information we were learning that more approachable. Athens itself is one of the most amazing cities I've ever been to. It was lively and fun, even in the winter because the weather was so warm. Highly highly recommend

Default avatar
Camryn
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

CYA: The Program that Truly Cares!

I truly cannot put into words how amazing my experience abroad was with College Year in Athens. First off, the city of Athens and the country of Greece are truly so welcoming and home to the most beautiful culture. I came to Athens for the weather and history, which are truly as amazing as anticipated, but what surprised me even more was the kindness of the Greek people. Greece is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, both people and landscape wise, and I already miss it so dearly. I promise if you study abroad here you will fall in love with the city and country!

Athens has everything a study abroad student could ask for! The city has such an abundant history, populated by countless amazing museums and so many ruins you will lose count! The food is so delicious and extremely affordable. The nightlife is amazing and the Greeks certainly know how to have a good time! The city is so walkable, has amazing green spaces, and feels extremely safe. I went on runs alone during the evening occasionally and never felt unsafe because even on weekdays, people will be out well into the night at a taverna with their loved ones.

However, what made CYA stand out to me from other study abroad programs is the level of care that CYA staff have for the students in their program. Most US students who study abroad are students at a local university, which has its pros, but CYA being a program made FOR study abroad students provided a level of assistance and support that made this experience as amazing as possible. Moving across the world, especially as someone who hasn't traveled much outside the US, was extremely scary. CYA's staff made me feel safe and cared for right away, providing assistance at all times, even when I was sick during my spring break trip. Through mandatory field study trips across Greece and weekly optional activities hosted to expose students to Greek and Athenian culture, CYA makes clear its passion for making students as immersed in Greek culture as possible. These field study trips and activities were some of my best experiences from abroad and I truly cannot imagine being in any other study abroad program.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Making more of a personal effort to meet locals in the city and practice my Greek more!
Pros
  • The people! I met some of my favorite people in this program. Greek people are also so kind!
  • Athens. It is such a beautiful city and it instantly made me feel welcomed.
  • Affordability. As a student on a budget, it was great to live in such an affordable city!!
Cons
  • Since it is a program for only US students, you don't have as many opportunities to meet locals as students studying at local universities do. However, if you want to meet Greek people they are always out in the city and so easy to talk to!
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Hi Camryn, thanks for sharing your experience with CYA! We are so happy to hear that our program gave you a new perspective and that you felt supported by staff. Keeping working on your Greek language skills so you can put them to use when you visit us again!

Default avatar
Chloe
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Fun!

CYA was such a wonderful experience! The staff was really supportive and made my time in Greece really comfortable. The classes were super interesting, the location within Athens was perfect (right in the middle of the city, close to the airport and the port), and the food was delicious (both the dining hall food and the restaurants around our campus)! I wish that there would have been more opportunities within the program to connect with students from Greece, but other than that, I think the program was super awesome.

Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Hi Chloe, thanks for sharing your experience with CYA! It is so great to hear you felt prepared and supported before your arrival and enjoyed your courses and field study. We hope you can visit again soon!

Default avatar
Max
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Highly Recommended!

CYA had a couple orientations at the beginning of the semester to get students adjusted which covered a variety of topics and were very helpful. The field study trips were a lot of fun and carefully planned out and at the first one there were activities for students to get to know each other better. I think one of my favorite parts of CYA were the professors. They were so intelligent on the topics they were teaching and made learning very engaging. Highly recommend taking any course with Professor Ritsa, she is excellent!!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would definitely spend more time exploring some of the smaller sections of Athens and the area around Athens, such as beaches and parks
Pros
  • Free Lunch
  • Professor-led trips
Cons
  • Housing Issues
  • Greek Immersion
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Hi Max, thanks for sharing you experience with CYA! It is so great to hear you enjoyed your professors and found the field study trips to be impactful. We hope you can visit us again soon!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Ashley Ferreira

Ashley is passionate about traveling the world and visiting far-off places where the possibilities of exploring, learning new things, and going on adventures are endless.
Ashley Ferreira

Interview

Why did you choose this program?

I have always been fascinated by anything Greek: history, culture, mythology, architecture, government, cuisine. Basically everything that makes Greece what it is, I find interesting, and when looking for a study abroad program, I couldn't find a more fitting place than Athens, the cultural center of democracy and philosophy in the ancient world. Athens was an amazing location for studying abroad and learning about the rich history and legacy of Greece. CYA's Academic Center was in the heart of it all, providing great access to both the historical and modern areas of the city.

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

CYA provided a pre-departure orientation and information session via Zoom which helped prepare us for traveling and living abroad. The presentation informed us of what we should do upon arriving in Athens, and of what to expect from the program and our classes, and, most importantly, from living in Greece. We also heard from several alumni who offered advice and tips for how to adjust to living in a different country and how to make the most of our time abroad. We were also assigned an adviser who worked with us to ensure we completed all the necessary pre-departure steps, such as obtaining a valid passport, for a smooth travel experience.

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

Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, and remember that you're only there for a couple of weeks or months, so make the best of it and enjoy it while it lasts. Also, don't be afraid to try new things and push outside your comfort zone, especially when it comes to food. You'll never know if that dish will be your new favorite if you don't try.

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

An average day usually begins with a breakfast run to a nearby café where the most delicious sweet and savory pastries, like bougatsa or spanakopita, are available for reasonable prices. Then, we'll head over to the Academic Center if we're meeting in a classroom for lecture. If we're out exploring that day, or out on a field study or study tour, we'll meet at a specified location near the Center and then walk over to whichever museum or archaeological site we're visiting for class. After class, which usually lasts between two and three hours, the rest of the day is ours, and we can explore the city, hike up to the Acropolis, go shopping in the Plaka, and basically do whatever we want. We'll finish the day by eating together at a local restaurant or taverna that serves traditional Greek cuisine.

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 was adjusting to a completely new environment and living on my own in a foreign country. Prior to studying abroad, I had never traveled overseas and had never been to a different country outside of Canada, so I was nervous about what to expect and how to handle the culture shock I might experience. By meeting and talking with my peers, who soon became my friends, and by relying on CYA's support system, I was able to overcome this fear, and I soon found myself enjoying every moment. Now, I realize that culture shock is completely normal and that as classmates and friends, we were all experiencing the same things together and could mutually help each other adjust.

Write and answer your own question.

Greek food, in my opinion, really is some of the best in the world. Aside from the souvlaki and the baklava, the moussaka was delicious, and I usually never eat eggplant. The soutzoukakia was also very good, and I'll definitely miss not being able to eat delicious pastries for breakfast every morning. Still, even if you think you might not like something, try it. You won't regret it!

Staff Interviews

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

Claire Jeantheau

Job Title
Social Media Coordinator
Claire graduated from Dickinson College, majoring in classics and education and studying abroad with College Year in Athens in Fall 2019. After working with the CYA MediaLab while abroad, she interned with CYA, then began her current role, in Spring 2021.
Claire Jeantheau

Interview

What is your favorite travel memory?

The field study week I spent on Crete with CYA is a trip I won’t forget. I visited different archaeological and historical sites in the mornings, swam in the afternoons, and enjoyed long taverna meals and rambles with friends in the evening. In between, our bus took us through some of the most stunning seaside and mountain landscapes I’ve ever seen. It was a world away from what my home college’s classroom would’ve been like that fall!

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

My experience with CYA has taught me a lot about the international education field--specifically what the major trends are and the variety of programs available abroad for current students. Learning about these things has made me better able to share about opportunities with CYA--like virtual/in-person volunteering and internships--that fit with what students are looking for.

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

CYA had a student in Fall 2020 whose time in Greece was so meaningful that he decided to stay for nearly a year--next enrolling for the Spring 2021 semester, and then a summer course! This isn’t the first story I’ve heard about students extending their time with CYA, and I think it shows how compelling the ways of life and opportunities to learn in Greece can be.

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

I would love to take a summer course with CYA. I studied in Athens in the fall and mostly traveled on the mainland, so these courses--which often take place across multiple islands--would offer an experience with a whole new season and side of Greece. It would also be fun to branch out from my classics background and try a new course area, like food anthropology or travel writing.

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

I think CYA stands out from other study abroad programs because of its focus on immersion in life in Greece. Students can and do visit other countries across Europe while abroad with CYA because of the close travel distance. However, CYA encourages students to explore all regions of Greece through optional trips, and connects them to neighborhood life in Athens and cultural traditions. I’m proud of the recent work CYA has been doing in expanding social media and researching inclusion practices so that more students are aware of, and have access to, those opportunities.

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

Coming from my position and after working remotely for several months, I think communication is key. Last-minute ideas and problems always come up--most recently, during the coronavirus pandemic--that require people to communicate effectively. In addition to my team doing regular check-ins, I think CYA does a great job of following up with students and alumni who interact with us on social platforms.

Professional Associations

The Forum on Education Abroad Logo
Gap Year Association Logo
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