CYA (College Year in Athens)

Program Reviews

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Amira
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Transformative!

My name is Amira and I was in the CYA program for the winter semester in 2023 and it was an unforgettable experience. Oftentimes individuals travel because they believe they may ‘find themselves’ and I believe that as a person you do not find yourself, you make yourself. Being part of the CYA program helped give me the tools to understand who I wanted to build and what would that person do in various circumstances. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on field studies in Delphi, the Peloponnese, and Thessaloniki/Northern Greece. I was given every chance possible to be culturally immersed and to learn more about Greece and Greeks alike. I found Greek culture to be relatable in terms of values for myself and because the culture is so hospitable and welcoming I was able to befriend locals without having to live with a host family. This program was largely made for anthropology and classics students however the program is evolving to include a wider range of topics and courses available to students. Greece has a rich social resistance history that I found fascinating to study as someone with a sociology background and I found that my peers had mixed studies between UX Design, Pre-med, economics, etc. If you are looking for an internship or to volunteer to add to your resume CYA is splendid at connecting students including myself to career-relevant internships and volunteer opportunities.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would travel to more islands. I traveled to about 4 islands and I think I would invest more effort into seeing as many islands as possible.
Pros
  • - Really personable professors
  • - Enjoyed the topics of each of my courses
  • - Staff and faculty are flexible and understanding
Cons
  • - classes vary greatly in workload/teaching method/style
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Hi Amira, thanks for sharing your experience with CYA! So happy to hear your time with us provided you with a chance to learn a new culture, travel, and find yourself. Hopefully you can visit us again soon!

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Nickolaus
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Once in a lifetime

CYA allowed me to experience all that Athens and Greece had to offer, while also giving me the chance to explore on my own and become immersed in the Greek culture. Staff was always incredibly helpful and kind, trying to make your experience the best it could be. The academics of the program were rigorous and taught by some of the most qualified and interesting professors I’ve ever had. Truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Definitely recommend taking advantage of all the opportunities the program provides including the optional trips and the activities they sponsor.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would try to travel around Europe more.
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Hi Nickolaus, thanks for sharing your experience with CYA! We are happy to hear you enjoyed your courses, found the staff to be supportive, and had the chance to explore Greece and its culture. We hope you can visit us again soon!

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Sophia
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience Abroad in Athens

I had an incredible time at CYA. Students live in apartments in the Pangrati area of Athens which is in walking distance to the parthenon and hosts weekly farmers markets. All of the field study's lead by amazing staff and professors gave me a chance to learn about the culture and history of all of Greece. In Athens I was able to take a sculpture class that mainly took place in museums, as well as other classes where I learned about Greek history and culture. Overall I made life long friends and great connections with the local Greek community, and can not wait to return for a visit.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Anyone who studies in Greece should try and experience the many different places and climates the country offers. The Cycladic islands are incredible, but travelers should also spend time in Athens and in the more mountainous regions of Greece. Crete is also an amazing place to visit for a week.
Pros
  • Great Food
  • Interesting Class offerings
  • Field Study
Cons
  • Not Super Disability Friendly
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Hi Sophia, thanks for sharing your experience with CYA! So happy to hear you had an incredible time exploring Greece and making Pangrati your home. We always welcome alumni back for a visit to CYA!

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George
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Program and a Wonderful Place to Study Abroad

I loved this Program and would recommend it to anybody who desires a study abroad experience that is unique and worthwhile. The Program provides a great opportunity to live in and study in one of the world’s oldest and most interesting cities. Academically, this rigorous Program provides interesting courses that center on Greece. I took four courses that piqued my interest and challenged some preconceptions about the topics from previous experiences. There is support when you ask for it. When it comes to writing and study skills or language skills, it provides great support systems in their administration and academic departments. The Program provides three field studies that are required and three that are optional (I would recommend joining one if you are able, and these do cost extra.) The Program’s staff plans the travel very well, and it is important to keep on time as they are often action-packed and interesting. I would highly recommend this Program.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Octopus. I have tried it before, but this was something that I ate almost weekly.
Pros
  • Interesting Academics
  • Program Run and Paid-for Travel
  • Intersting and Unique Location(s)
Cons
  • Too Much in Too Little Time
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Hi George, thanks for sharing your experience with CYA! So happy to hear you enjoyed your courses and the travel experiences CYA provides plus had the chance to try amazing food. We hope you can visit us again soon!

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Caroline
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

CYA-Best Study Abroad Program!

I could not have imagined having as wonderful an experience as I did at CYA. I would recommend this program to anyone as there is something for absolutely everyone.

Overall: For a broad overview, this program is packed with fun, amazing, engaging, and mind blowing experiences every single day. I look back and can't believe that I had this opportunity and was lucky enough to choose this program.

The country/city: Athens and Greece overall exceeded my already high expectations. The history is unbelievably rich, the food amazing, the locals friendly, the country is safe, and the opportunities to explore endless (beach, mountains, museums, restaurants, etc.)

CYA itself: CYA's professors are astounding and make sure that you're engaged while also allowing you time to live your life and not be too stressed over academics. I learned a ton with many field trips and interesting subject material and was never stressed. Additionally, the administration is there for you to help with any issues and check in on you while also allowing complete independence. They encourage being social as well and the social scene at CYA is unmatched. I made more friends at CYA's midsized (around 140 students) program than at my home school with many more students. This is because the culture of CYA is to live life to the fullest and fully engage with your surroundings, which you can't help but do.

Highlights: My favorite parts of the program were the week long program-wide field study trips. Basically, the whole program takes two weeks off of school together to travel to different parts of Greece and explore while being guided by the program. You get tons of free time while also being taken to amazing sites that would be difficult to travel to on your own. There are optional field studies too which I took part in. My mandatory field studies were Northern Greece and Peloponnese and the optional ones were Italy, Rhodes, and Crete. Additionally, traveling on your own is super easy with many cheap flights and ferries close by in Athens. Greece's location is unique so if you want to explore well-known or less-traveled places in Europe, it offers you both!

Finally, I felt more safe in Athens than in any city back home in the U.S. It is a lovely city, and CYA ensures that you appreciate it to its full potential. I cannot wait to return to Greece someday, but I will always look back with fondness on CYA and the my wonderful experience in Greece!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
While traveling abroad is super easy, I would recommend staying in Athens for some of the weekends. I wish I had given myself more time to explore the city because it truly has endless amazing restaurants, museums, coffee shops, and historical sites to visit.
Pros
  • Opportunities to explore
  • Food
  • Program support/opportunities
Cons
  • Too many places to explore not enough time
  • Exhausting (so much travel and fun things to do)
  • Too touristy during top tourist season
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Hi Caroline, thanks for sharing your experience with CYA! So happy to hear you had an amazing time learning while exploring Greece and Europe both with CYA and on your own. We hope you can visit us again soon!

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Nora
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing amazing

I knew I always wanted to study abroad and honestly College year in Athens could not have made it better. First of all size of people there felt perfect. It wasn't too small where you knew everyone but it wasn't so big where no one knew anyone. The teachers and staff in general were so helpful and really were there for you. I have never had better relationships with my professors before in my college experience. The trips that they took you on were so fun and even when we had to listen to talks, they were really interesting and made it fun. The housing and cleaning was amazing. The area you live in is not super touristy so you feel like you're in another country, and submerged in the culture! The friends I met there are some of the best people I have ever met in my life. I look back on the experience I've had and honestly see it as unforgettable.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't be afraid to go there without any people you knew before! Making new friends that I've never met before impacted my experience so much!
Pros
  • Neighborhood is so perfect
  • Fun trips
  • Amazing staff
Cons
  • Lots of hills
  • Can't think of another one
  • Cigarette smell
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Hi Nora, thanks for sharing your experience with CYA! So happy you found us to be a good fit and had great relationships with your professors. Hopefully you can visit us again soon!

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Natalie
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Study Abroad Program that Offered a Well-Rounded Experience

I really enjoyed my experience with CYA. The program is very organized and I felt very supported by staff throughout every step of my experience, from first submitting my application until the day I left Athens. I also really enjoyed the planned excursions and felt that I really got a deep and well-rounded view of Greece, getting to see places and enjoy experiencing that I would not have had access to if I took myself to Greece. I also appreciated that the course offerings were varied, meaning that there were courses for everyone, including me, a STEM major. Classes were taught by experienced and overqualified professors and were an appropriate workload that allowed me to learn a lot while still having time to enjoy living in Athens. The location of the program is great, allowing me to live in a less touristy area of the city while still being a 15-20 minute walk from amazing sites like the Acropolis and cute neighborhoods like Plaka. Overall, I felt that CYA was very organized and are very good at what they do. From amazing extracurricular offerings, like the marble carving class I took, to great optional trips, like my trip to hike Mt Olympus, CYA offers a lot of amazing experiences that help you create the perfect and most well-rounded semester abroad experience for you.

Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Hi Natalie, thanks for sharing your experience with CYA! So happy to hear you felt supported and had the chance to see so much of Greece. Hopefully you can visit us again soon!

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Willa
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

CYA Spring 2023: Academically and Culturally Immersive

CYA emphasizes the integration of academic and cultural learning—many of my courses were held at the site of ancient ruins, cultural centers, and museums. This immersive environment lends itself to language acquisition and cultural understanding; it was truly a highlight of the program. CYA professors and staff were positive and engaging throughout the entire semester, as were the other students. Additionally, the field study component of CYA enabled me to gain exposure to the broader Greece region and appreciate the country’s diversity of natural beauty.

Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Hi Willa, thanks for sharing your experience with CYA! So happy to hear you were able to develop your language skills and had the chance to see so much of Greece. Hopefully you can visit us again soon!

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Demetrios
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

The opportunity of a lifetime

This semester in Athens offered to me through CYA was the opportunity of a lifetime. Everyone at CYA from the faculty, admin, and support staff to the students are all so wonderful and happy to have you around. They are always willing to share a smile and help you with anything you need. The academics could have an appropriate challenge at times, but this was never overwhelming. Faculty understand you are abroad and want you to experience beautiful Greece. Athens is lively and fun, full of things to do if you know where to look. Students live in Pangrati, which is a 15 minute walk from the center in Syntagma and a 7 minute walk from a metro station to get all around Athens. Overall, this was an experience that I would give anything to do all over again.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Look for places and things where Greek college students are. They know all the cheapest places for food with the best quality and all the best spots to experience Greece as a college student. Copying their experience will enrich your own, so make some Greek kid friends and see what they're up to!
Pros
  • Super inexpensive concerts (€15-20)
  • Gorgeous weather (coldest it got in the fall semester was around 45°F)
  • Amazing food (Greek cuisine is excellent and you can't go wrong with any of it)
Cons
  • You'll be sad when you leave
  • I wish I had stayed longer
  • You can be pickpocketed on metro and public transport if you're not careful
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Hi Demetrios, thank you for sharing your experience with CYA! We are so happy to hear that it was the experience of a lifetime and you were able to make Athens your home. Hopefully you can visit us again soon!

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Jordan
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Wouldn't change a thing

I'm so happy I studied abroad with CYA. I had no idea what to expect when I chose Greece, I had just wanted to go somewhere completely out of my comfort zone in a beautiful country. CYA took such good care of us that no matter what expectations I had, they would be met. The classes were small and extremely engaging with frequent class trips. There were also three mandatory field studies that were led by professors who were excited to teach us about the ancient sites we were visiting. I made amazing friends who I traveled around Europe with and was always able to find something to do at night. Everything was affordable so we were able to go out to eat multiple times a week and enjoy authentic Greek food. I learned so much about myself and what I'm capable of as well as expanded on what my academic interests are.

Pros
  • 3 day weekends giving you time for traveling
  • Perfect for classics students
  • Most places are open past midnight and wine is served at every meal
Cons
  • Finals were very stressful, don't expect an easy pass
  • Athens isn't a pretty city like Rome or London, but it's charming in its own way (and the beautiful ruins make up for it)
Response from CYA (College Year in Athens)

Hi Jordan, thanks for sharing your experience with CYA! So happy to hear that you enjoyed getting out of your comfort zone and were able to see so much of Greece through classes and travel. Hopefully you can visit us again soon!