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.


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Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience abroad!

CYA is an amazing way to experience a new culture, society, and way of living. The program is extremely well designed, with numerous field trips allowing for a truly immersive, educational experience. The professors were helpful and all the other students were eager to be there. I recommend this to anyone hoping to study abroad, especially if you are unsure where to go! CYA not only shows students Greece, but offers the flexibility for you to schedule your own weekend travel around Europe which I greatly enjoyed.

  • Exposure to Greek life
  • Field trips
  • Professors
  • Housing accommodations
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Hi Avinash! Thanks for sharing your experience with CYA. So happy to hear you had wonderful professors and enjoyed the field trips during the program. Hopefully you can make your way back to Greece soon!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Once in a lifetime experience

I was unsure about studying abroad before coming to Greece. CYA gives you lots of information before coming to make the transition much easier. You then go on a trip to Delphi where you get to see lots of Greece and meet a lot of people before the stresses of classes start. The classes are very interesting and the other school trips throughout the semester are super fun. My living situation was great and my roomates became some of my best friends. Any questions you have throughout the year CYA is happy to answer and I found all the teachers and staff to be super nice.

  • Trips
  • Classes
  • People
  • N/A
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Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing Experience

I studied abroad with CYA this past summer, and I have no bad things to say about it. I took the Contemporary Art around the Greek Islands, a travel intensive course. The course material and travel itineraries were always very well prepared and scheduled. We were always given breakfast even when we were not at the main academic suite (usually when we were on one of the islands). We were given plenty of time to explore the cities on our own but still have opportunities to learn and practice course content.

My professor knew the material very well, was kind, and I could tell that she was a great representation of all CYA professors. They understood exactly how to motivate and support us.

The experience was immersive and I cannot wait to go back to Greece!

  • Travel
  • Food
  • Learning
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Yes, I recommend this program

Study Abroad with CYA!

Studying abroad with CYA in Athens was one of the best decisions of my life! I had a transformative experience and credit my positive abroad time to the students, staff, and administration at CYA. Even though you are immersed in an entirely new country, CYA makes the process seamless through pre-departure meetings and in-depth assistance during our first weeks in Athens. My classes were engaging and thorough with many professors acting as tour guides and mentors throughout our time in Pangrati. The living situation made it feel like a home away from home with kind, compatible roommates who remain close friends of mine. I even had the opportunity to intern and work in Athens in my area of study. CYA brings out the best parts of Athens by highlighting phenomenal dining, interesting cultural events, and even travel options in and outside of Greece. I am so grateful to have chosen CYA and would recommend it to anyone interested in exploring Greece on a deeper level.

  • Historic city
  • Delicious dining
  • Good classes
  • Bubble of American students
  • Hard to meet locals
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Hi Aleena! Thank you for sharing your experience with CYA. So happy you enjoyed your courses and found a home away from home. We hope you can make it back to Greece soon!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Best Summer Yet!!!

As a college athlete studying abroad for a semester is nearly impossible. CYA gave me the opportunity to study abroad for a month in the summer, and I will forever be grateful for this experience. You get to live like a local while studying abroad in Athens. You live in an apartment in Pangrati and are immersed in the culture. With the summer programs, you also get to island hop which makes your experience even better. You get to explore different parts of Greece each week. This made the experience one of a kind because every course explores different islands so it is fun to compare with everyone else and explain your own individual experiences with the program!

  • Safe area
  • Living situation is awesome
  • Island hopping included
  • CYA is closed on the weekends
  • You have to carry your laundry through Pangrati to do it
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Hi Ashley! Thanks for sharing your experience with CYA. Happy to hear it was an unforgettable experience and immerse yourself in the culture. We hope you can come back and visit us!


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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


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


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