Athena Study Abroad

Program Reviews

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Emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying broad with Athena Study Abroad was such a great decision! The program and administration from both Athena and the host school was so incredibly kind and sweet, they were always willing to help no mater what it was and wanted to make sure I felt comfortable and having a good time. The academics were also really great, the classes were very interesting and had a good variety, I learned a lot and my Spanish definitely improved. I was impressed with all the internship and volunteering opportunities, I interned with an indigenous family in Otavalo, were I lived with an indigenous family for 3 weeks learning about their customs, culture, traditions, language and food! I loved the city of Quito as well and all the country has to offer! I definitely recommend this program to anyone interested in South America, also anyone wanting a smaller family like provider who really care about you personally.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The strangest thing I ate in Ecuador was guinea pig, they are not pets there, they are raised as delicacy and are often expensive. It was definitely interesting not what I expected it to taste like but I'm glad I tried it.
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Abigale
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had such a blast when I was studying abroad with Athena. Their company is so down to earth and so easy to get in contact with. The field trips were really cool and included in Athena's price! I really felt like I learned a lot from my class and in general my time abroad. The campus was beautiful and I loved the area around it. It was in the perfect spot and I especially loved the town Putney which was just a 5-minute bus ride away. I felt really safe. There was so much to do in town and in the city. All the museums are free in London too so you have plenty of opportunities to have fun without spending a fortune. The food is British so there's not the most amount of flavor but with a little salt and pepper, it's just as good (plus fish and chips are quite good). London is so beautiful and I had such a wonderful time. I'm so glad I chose Athena!

What was your funniest moment?
My friend from home went with me on this program and she is partially blind so it can be hard for her to navigate sometimes. We had taken a day trip to Paris and were struggling to figure out the metro system because it's so different from the one in London. I found the platform we needed and the train was there and about to leave so I told her to run. I got on the train and I turn around and see that the first set of doors had already closed and she wasn't on the train. So I did the only thing I could think of and stuck my arm in the door to keep the train from leaving. Was it a good idea? Absolutely not. Could that have been very dangerous? Yes! Two men on the train saw my arm stuck and pried the door open but then the door shut again! So I am jabbering off in English to french men saying that I need the doors open for my blind friend. I must have sounded like a complete lunatic but I was so worried that we would get separated! Somehow, both sets of doors opened again and she was able to get on. In the moment it wasn't that funny, but now I think it's hysterical that my first thought was to stick my arm out. My second thought was "If my mom finds out I did this she'll kill me." Thankfully it all worked out though I do wish I could say that was the last time I got my arm stuck in a train door...
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Jordyn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I just came back from the most recent summer program and I absolutely had the best time of my life. I studied greek art and history, photography and painting while I was on Paros. I was so happy with how friendly and helpful all the staff were throughout the entire program. They made everything super clear so I never felt confused or nervous being across the world by myself. Paros began to feel like home very fast to me and by the end I had bittersweet feelings of leaving my home away from home. The balance between class time and free time was perfect and I always felt like I had time to explore and get to know the island better. You learn so much by going abroad and I wouldn't have picked a better place to relax, learn and grow as a person. HISA is great and I would recommend to anyone :)

What would you improve about this program?
One thing I would improve about the program is the accommodation that the students stayed at. Overall, it was a decent place but there were a collection of things that occurred and some interactions with the people who ran the hostel that made the living situation rocky at times. Wifi is not very good and air conditioners gave me a sore throat.
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Zofia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was a spring semester student at HISA, as a sophomore fine arts major, and it was the most productive and fulfilling semester I could have hoped for. We were all encouraged to craft our own expieriences, to be independent yet inclusive and adaptive.
Each professor was supportive and passionate about their subject, group trips around the islands gave us a beautiful perspective on Cyclades history and culture, our environment safe and beautiful. I was lucky enough to stay an extra month following the semester and got to help around with the summer programs as well, so I can vouch wholeheartedly for any HISA term :)
I would definitely recommend this to anyone, to both artists and folks who just need a break from regular school life.
already making plans to come for a second go!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Dont be afraid to explore the island(s) alone! It's an incredibly safe place and going on solo trips around classes gave me so much confidence and wider view of the island life.
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Kasey
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I studied abroad in Florence Italy in the fall of 2017 with Athena and it was such an incredible experience! They made sure that I transitioned nicely when I was there, and they were always there to help while I was prepping for the trip. My experience genuinely would not have been the same if it wasn't for Athena being there for me every step of the way. This has impacted my life in so many ways, and I have learned so much through my experience. My number 1 tip would be to use all of the resources that are presented to you.

Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Athena Abroad gave me all the tools I could have possibly needed in order to have a successful experience during my time abroad. My housing and education were both amazing and Athena consistently checked in to see if there was anything they could do to better my experience was I was in Florence. Athena's team could not have been more helpful or accommodating. Their team was always so quick to respond to my questions and my parents' questions. They gave us step by step instructions on how to navigate through the entire process. If I could go abroad again, I would go with Athena!

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Tyler
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

When selecting a program for me to help with guidance, mentoring, and expertise, I could not have chosen upon a better fit than Athena. Not only are their values directly in line with mine, but the interpersonal relationships and constant support they offer their students can not be topped. What made Athena special, in my opinion, was how personable they made every single step of the trip - from starting my application (checking in on me, seeing if there were any components they could help me with), to getting me excited for the trip, checking in on me during the trip, and even following up with me after the trip. I truly felt like I had a group of constant supporters that had my best intentions in mind - only seeking to see me thrive and get the maximum possible exposure out of my experience.
If you're looking for a program where you're more than just a number, you know you have a constant support team, and a general wonderful community to work with, Athena is the program to go with.

What would you improve about this program?
The only point of improvement that I could foresee would be expansion of programs!
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Teagan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My time on Paros was one of the best times of my life. There was never a dull moment in the trip and it was full of adventures. Because of the small program size I was able to bond with my classmates and get to know all of them on a more personal level. I made some lifelong friends on the trip and that’s something that makes me very happy. The professors are very chill and want you to do well. They are open to suggestions and are very understanding. They are willing to work with you to make sure you get the most out of the program. Throughout the program you have 24 hour access to the studios and classrooms. This was very helpful when there were late night and early morning work sessions. Greek people are very curious about art and would often stop and watch us as we painted or drew.

The walk to school is right along the water. This gives you a front row seat to the ferries coming and leaving the port. You can watch shops start to open up around Easter and as the summer season comes closer. The island has no shortage of things to do. There are plenty of beaches to walk to and cafes to chill in. The night life on the island is very relaxed and bars are open until late in the night. The local shop owners quickly recognize you as a regular and are incredibly friendly and start conversations. It wasn’t long before my favorite coffee shop knew my order as soon as I walked in the door.

Over a month into the three month program my phone fell off the ferry into the Aegean Sea. Because of this I was able to immerse myself more in the culture and program than I would’ve if I was still connected at the hip with my phone. Instead of taking pictures of everything I saw, I focused on the beauty of what was in front of me. Every time I was waiting for food or coffee I would look out at the sea instead of playing a game of solitaire on my phone or texting. It provided a refreshing detox for me.

I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to spend a semester on Paros. My confidence grew and I realized that I am capable of more than I thought. This trip was very inspiring for me and it showed in my artwork and writing. Paros really became a second home to me and I can’t wait to plan my next trip back.

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Patrick
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The academic program here was exceptional, I received plenty of help and attention from my teachers, in each of my classes. In studio classes I got personalized guidance and meaningful answers, and classrooms topics were easy to get into and understand.
The program leads an excursion to other towns and islands almost every weekend, which is a great way to experience the Cycladic Island life, and a great way to get to know fellow students. We went to museums, explored archaeology sites, and took long hikes through both the countryside and old town streets. All of it was worthwhile.
Personally, I spent a lot of time relaxing on the beaches within walking distance of the apartments, or drinking too many iced cappuccinos in cafes. Between getting coffees there's plenty of options for food (gyros are affordable and delicious). I would definitely recommend the vegetable market (so many different veggies, all easily within anyone's budget). There's plenty of options for eating out, too, at a full price range.
All of these cafes and restaurants are obviously run by greeks, and most speak English much better than I speak Greek, but making an effort goes a long with with getting to know the locals.
The teachers here will work with you on a personal level, and will do all that they can to help you succeed in your own way. The local Greek life is something I hope to return to. The Cyclades have an vast and tangible history, and the sea and mountains are just as beautiful. Paroikia is a wonderful place to grow as an artist and a person, but for me the greatest part is the chance to experience three months in an exciting new place with people from all over the U.S. and beyond. The program is a great academic step to take, but my greatest take-away was the time I spend making friends.

What would you improve about this program?
It would be nice to have a longer program!
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Rachel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying abroad presented a huge challenge because I am such a homebody. I wanted to see the world but I was hesitant to leave my family and familiarity. Since I chose an independent program, I didn't have any friends to accompany me in my travels. I was so nervous to be alone. I did not expect to meet people I didn't want to leave. I have friends from studying abroad that live all across the states. I've already visited them three times since leaving Italy! I miss Florence SO much. I'd give anything to be back in the streets that smell of panini and fresh bread. Studying abroad has made this homebody itch with the travel bug. I've kept an entire journal of useful tips! For those of you about to study abroad - get out every single day to do something new. That could just be trying a new café, but experience every little detail your country has to offer.

What would you improve about this program?
Athena was so helpful throughout my study abroad experience - start to finish. I think something that could be improved is having more of an opportunity to connect with people that also studied abroad in your country. It would give people someone to talk to about all of their amazing stories (family gets sick of it after awhile).
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